Featured Musician: Alex Jones | Druse

1. Tell me a little about yourself: what got you into music, where you take inspiration from, etc. I know that it’s incredibly cliche to say something like “music has always been a part of my life,” but I honestly can’t remember a time in which I wasn’t actively invested in music. My mom and dad always had music playing around the house when I was growing up, and they both listened to vastly different stuff so I was able to get unique musical perspectives from pretty early on. My mom was really into straight-up pop music and Broadway showtunes, while my dad always listened to bands like the Talking Heads, Can, Kraftwerk, The Sex Pistols, The B-52s, and some more “left-field” bands. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in the chair he used to listen to records in and reading along to the lyrics to “Armed Forces,” “Nevermind the Bollocks,” the first Clash LP, “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Remain in Light.” Growing up in an environment like that really helped me foster an appreciation for all types of music. It’s harder to say where exactly I get my inspiration from. It honestly all depends on what’s moving me at any given moment. It can be anything from social issues, political discourse, personal dilemmas or just feeling motivated by certain artists that that make me want to sit down and write as well as I can.

2. Druse’s – Target Weight demo was released to great success almost immediately. How did that affect you? The response that we’ve received for “Target Weight” is absolutely wonderful. Putting the demo together, recording it and releasing it is an experience I’ll never forget, not just for how fulfilling and genuinely fun it was to go through, but for all the unexpected setbacks we faced throughout the entire process. Since we released it I’ve had numerous people approach me or write to me just to tell me what my lyrics and our music mean to them, which fills me with so much gratitude and warmth. It’s been an exceptionally crazy experience, and I’m thankful for everyone that continues to make it a reality.

3. Can you tell us a little about the new Druse record you are working on? We recorded a new EP, “The Way That We Ache,” in June with our friend John Markson at the Gallery Recording Studio in Brooklyn. It’s five new songs, one of which we recorded an early version of with Chris Vandeviver at the Brass Palace right here in Rochester. I’d definitely say it’s more ambitious than “Target Weight”; the songs are longer and there’s a lot more little moving parts operating throughout the record. When we recorded “Target Weight” the plan was essentially “get in, get these songs out of us, and get out.” With “The Way That We Ache” we really spent a lot more time letting the songs kind of gestate and breathe, shifting aspects of them around, writing and rewriting in the studio, working with John, layering, taking more risks, etc. For me, personally, I feel a lot stronger vocally on this record than on “Target Weight,” where I truly had no idea what I was doing. John was absolutely vital to the process too, helping us come to conclusions about certain parts and songs that were right under our noses the whole time we were writing.

4. You recently were published on ( How do you feel about that and your future as a journalist? I reached out to an editor from Noisey that I really admire, Kim Kelly, about writing a piece on the Upstate New York punk and metal scenes. I feel as if we’re a really vibrant pocket of art and expression and we don’t always get the recognition we deserve. Thankfully, Kim took a chance on me and I was able to write about a bunch of bands from around here that I really love in a major publication, which is nuts. It’s definitely my biggest accomplishment as a journalist to date, but I really have no idea what the future holds from here on out. It’s a pretty terrifying industry out there that’s drastically changing in structure with every passing day, so from here on out my goal is just to hold on and keep doing what satisfies my restlessness. I just want to make people give a shit about what so much of capital-J Journalism and professional writing has started to turn its nose up at, which is quality editorial writing, creative individual voices, non-exploitative region-focused stories and genuinely independent artists.