5J Barrow’s latest EP is a raucous explanation of the namesake’s escapades. It’s a barn-style sing-along, speckled with banjo twinklings and heavy guitars. For the New York City-based band, this is their usual brand of art, supplying the listener with enough stamina to make them get up and dance. Made up of Eryn Murman, Jason Hite, Drew Jones, and Gerard Canonico, 5J Barrow allowed us to pick their brains:
“It was quite a natural transition. We have an immense love in story-telling and taking ourselves and the audience on a ride dynamically, narratively and emotionally. The big shift (and almost surprise) for us was realizing that we felt a need to be ourselves while doing it. We discovered our own voice vs. putting on a character or being the vessel to someone else’s writing or message. It all originated from reflection on the big and small hurdles of life and coping with those ideas through word and song.”
2) Where did you draw inspiration for the latest EP?
“Inspiration for the songs within our EP come from the many different journeys we’ve experienced or witnessed in life so far. The journey into opening yourself to genuine love (“On the Edge of My Seat”), the joy of falling in love (“Seagreen Dress”), the learning that no matter what and who you have by your side, that this journey in life is ultimately within you and you alone – how freeing that is to start anew whenever you choose (“A New Begin”), the journey many of us have fallen into or witnessed in the perils of chasing, seeking or forcing love instead of allowing it to happen naturally (“Sarah Brown”) and the journey of coping with death and re-envisioning it to be something beautiful and present – choosing to live life courageously vs fearfully (“Lullaby”).”
3) How do you think living in NYC impacts your music?
“Living in NYC for the first 6 years of the band’s existence definitely gave us conviction, strength and a hard working mentality to stay afloat amongst all the other bands around us. It also made us yearn for nature which found its place in many of our tunes. Most importantly it led us to writing together and finding our band mates. Now that Jason and I no longer live there (just a little over two months now) and have been on the road consistently, it’ll be fascinating to see how travel and all of these new places and people in our life begin to sculpt and shift our perspective and voice.”
4) What was your writing process like for the EP?
“Every song on the EP developed a different way. Some tunes we wrote together and then took to our bassist (Drew Jones) and drummer (Gerard Canonico) to develop their parts off of. Some tunes were inspired from lyrics, others the music was created first followed by lyrics.”
5) I’ve found that the music world can be a rather small one. Do you have any funny stories of chance or coincidence in regards to that?
“Oh yes, we most definitely agree! The story that comes to mind immediately was our first chance meeting with our producer of “The Journey Vol. 1, 2, & 3,” David Mayfield. We met him at a folk festival a couple years back in which we were playing and he was headlining. We both had immediate mutual respect of each other’s work and he mentioned he was a producer and would love to work with us in the future. He then mentioned that he’s based out of Ohio and would want us to come out that way to record if we were open to it. Well, we most certainly were because I was born and raised there so it was a perfect location for us to escape our busy lives in the city and really focus on recording for 5 days. Flash forward to a couple months after recording with him, he was in the process of mixing the record and we (the full band) had a Skype meeting with him. He nonchalantly mentioned that he had shared two of our tracks with Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers who David has played with and recorded with and also who happens to be one of our biggest music heroes. We just about peed in our pants! If you had told us six years ago (when we were starting the band) that one of our idols would listen to our music we would have never believed it. So cool and such a small world.”