Recording Connection student Jones Nelson
We love hearing all about it anytime our students are able to take what they’re learning and apply their newfound skills and knowledge to further their own careers in music. Take, for example, Recording Connection student Jones Nelson, who currently apprentices with mentor Sean Giovanni of The Record Shop in Nashville, TN. Thanks in part to his studio training and the connections he’s made as a student, Jones is now releasing a full-length hard rock album, titled The Pain that Makes You, under his band moniker Million Whispers!
In the interview below, Jones talks about the concept behind the album, his songwriting process, and the role his mentor and the Recording Connection have played in helping him bring this project to completion. Congratulations, Jones!
releases full-length album!
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RRFC: So tell us the backstory of your new album. How did it come about? Jones Nelson: So I started working on the record—it would have been January this year… I already had written like a southern rock blues record, but then just had been wanting to put out like a harder rock album for years and years. So I just kind of made the decision to table the Southern rock deal and to really just kind of pour my energy into working on a harder rock record…Originally, I had planned on having it all done by the summer, for summer release, but I kept learning so much through the school or just through my own training, and then kept acquiring new gear and new gadgets, and this, that, and the other. So I ended up having to go back and redo and re-record and tweak a bunch of songs that were already in there, just making them better and better. RRFC: What made you want to switch to hard rock from southern rock? Jones: Hard rock just really kind of resonates with me. I grew up on country music, you know. I grew up listening to Johnny Cash, and Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, George Strait. I grew up listening to all that kind of stuff and was never allowed to listen to rock and roll. That was like always kind of forbidden. And I remember the first time I ever heard Black Sabbath’s “Ironman” for the first time, my pupils dilated, just like my eyes were open to other styles of music. And from that point on, I started diving into Led Zeppelin, and Iron Butterfly, you know, Cream…I started kind of on the classic rock side and then started working my way up. And so that’s really kind of how I got into the harder rock project. RRFC: Is there an underlying theme to the album? Jones: The album is called The Pain that Makes You. The album really kind of takes you through kind of a journey of, you know, really being able to identify struggles that people face day in and day out where they’re caught inside a place that they don’t want to be. You know, I’ve been working in this industry for the last 10 years and, you know, I’ve been wanting to get into music and do this full-time since as long as I can remember. And “The Pain That Makes You,” the album, is really kind of talking about, you know, identifying the struggle of wanting to be able to do that, as well as being able to try to position myself and get myself ready to be able to move up a step. RRFC: Sounds like it harkens back to these conceptual albums which people just don’t seem to be making much of anymore. And I think we’re realizing that we miss that and that, you know, it’s an enjoyable process to sit down and listen to an album. Jones: I’ve never been much a singles guy. You know, working in radio, I used to only ever hear the singles, and it would drive me nuts because, you know, you hear one song taken out of context, and it kind of takes away from the story. And so the album really kind of tells a story if you open your ears and your mind to hear it…That’s what I want to do with the album is to be able to, you know, have the listener be able to sit down and listen to it and go on a journey. RRFC: As far as the actual writing process, how does it happen for you? Is it like a melody that comes into your head when you’re just doing your own thing, or are you somehow improvising, playing your guitar—where does it start for you? Jones: I mean, it’s kind of different every time….Most of the time, I sit down with my guitar and just start noodling and then kind of see what comes out. But there have been times where it’s like I literally wake up and I’ve got the verse. I was dreaming about the lyrics and it came up, and that’s how the song started…I try to be pretty open. I try not to have too much of a locked-in process, you know, because I probably prefer a situation where it allows for spontaneity and allows me to kind of approach songs from different angles. RRFC: You mentioned making changes to the project as a result of your schooling. What role has the Recording Connection or your mentor played in the process of making the album? Jones: Sean [Giovanni] has been great…A lot of his stuff gets into kind of more beats and so forth—I mean, he’s obviously an engineer and producer even. But that’s really kind of forced me outside the box a little bit, to really kind of revamp and to look at the way that I do things differently. So it’s been really cool getting to be a part of that. I also want to thank Becki Sessions, too. She’s the new regional director [for Recording Connection] down here in Nashville, and she’s just been awesome. She’s provided me with some really cool opportunities to meet some really neat engineers and producers. Actually, she invited me out to the Vintage King Recording Expo a few weeks ago or so, and I actually got to meet Chris Lord-Alge, which is pretty cool. And what was interesting was the next day, because I had met him and I had him on my mind, I went and mixed the last two tracks for the record, and mixed it differently because I had met him…So he actually kind of had a direct correlation and impact on the last couple of cuts on the record just because of that, and Becki was a big part of that. And as far as the Connection goes, I mean, I think that it’s a really good opportunity for a lot of different people. It gives folks that really want to do this the chance to see how it’s done in the real world as opposed to being locked to a desk and seeing everything in a sterile environment. So I think that’s been really cool. Check out Jones Nelson’s new album on: iTunes | Amazon | Google Play
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