An Interview With ENATION’S Front-Man And Nashville Actor JONATHAN JACKSON About The Band’s Newest EP, Inspirations, Juggling It All And More!
Posted On 23 May 2016
Jonathan Jackson + Enation returned to the studio with Grammy nominated producer Greg Archilla (Matchbox 20, Collective Soul) to record Blame-shifter, their new EP the self –released on their own label, Hilasterion Records (distributed through Sony RED) on May 13, 2016.
Jonathan, on break from filming his hit TV show, recorded five new songs for the band’s EP plus a cover of “Unchained Melody” recorded live at The Grand Ole Opry. The new songs will also be a part of their next full length album which will be announced later this year.
The past two years have been a whirlwind for the band. They partnered with Loud & Proud Records to release Radio Cinematic, which Billboard Magazine called “…contemporary, anthemic rock — Jackson proudly wears the influence of U2, Peter Gabriel and Coldplay on his sleeve as influences — is certainly something different…” and Rolling Stone said is “Filled with electric guitars, chest-beating vocals and swirling synths…”
For this release, the band decided to be fully independent again so they can be more interactive with their fans. They created a PledgeMusic pre-order campaign to allow their fans to be a part of the making of Blame-shifter. Their fans will be the first to get the new EP as well as have access to exclusive experiences and items, which will only be available until April 5, including a variety of autographed merchandise options, a making of Blame-shifter documentary film, VIP meet & greet opportunities and even an executive producer credit on the album among other great selections that are still available.
“We’re so excited about our brand new music and the opportunity to hit the road and share it with our fans,” says the band. “We made a record that has its roots in the kind of alt rock and live energy we grew up with. Partnering with our fans through Pledgemusic has been invigorating and we can’t wait to play the new music on tour this summer!”
Jonathan Jackson is a five-time Daytime EMMY® Award-winning actor for his role in General Hospital. He is also known for his roles in many other projects, including Deep End of the Ocean, Tuck Everlasting, Insomnia and currently stars as “Avery Barkley” in the primetime drama Nashville. Following Jonathan’s solo dates with his TV show, Jonathan Jackson + Enation will take their new songs on the road this spring and summer.
Jonathan Jackson + Enation is Jonathan Jackson (vocals, guitar), Richard Lee Jackson (drums) and Daniel Sweatt (bass).
Learn more about Jonathan and this newest collection of music in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So, how’s 2016 been treating you and the band so far? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you all?
JJ: A lot of this this year has been in the studio off and on. We recorded our EP Blame-shifter with Greg Archilla, who is a fantastic producer. I just got done filming Season 4 of Nashville and went on tour with show. My tour with Enation is about to kick-off, so I’m excited about that. We had a great tour last year during the summer, so we’re looking forward to getting back on the road and playing some new songs.
Next month, you will release your EP, “Blame-Shifter.” How do you think the band’s sound has changed and grown over the years? What do you think has stayed the same?
JJ: Blame-shifter is in a lot of ways the most alternative record we’ve made. We really wanted to capture the visceral energy of our live performances, which is something Greg Archilla was really focused on with us. What’s stayed the same is the intent of the music. We’ve grown as a three piece, and as musicians, and this record highlights that dynamic as a three piece more.
What was it like putting together “Blame-Shifter” on your own label, Hilasterion Records? Why did you decide to do this?
JJ: We’ve been independent a long time. On our previous record Radio Cinematic we worked with Loud & Proud Records, which was a great experience. But being independent just felt more natural for us, and the direction of the music felt like that as well.
What was the inspiration for these songs? Do you think eventually, they will made into a full-length album?
JJ: Well, musically it was from all the touring we did last year. The high energy rock influenced that direction. Lyrically, I think some of it came from reading about somebody named Saint Silouan the Athonite. We looked at this EP as half of a record, and we plan to go back into the studio and complete the back half so it can be a full length.
Why did you decide to include a cover of “Unchained Melody” recorded live at the Grand Ole Opry on the EP? What is the significance of that song to you?
JJ: The roots music we’ve been exposed to in Nashville, being surrounded by artists like Elvis, Cash, and Dylan, and working with people like T Bone Burnett, Buddy Miller, and Colin Lindin, has definitely influenced us as a band. It also brought me back to my childhood, where my Dad listened to a lot of gospel and blues. “Unchained Melody” was a song that got a huge reaction from fans online and they asked us how they could download it. So we were grateful to be able to put it on the EP for a few reasons.
How have you been able to balance your acting work on Nashville with being in this group? How do you think being on that show has influenced you as a musician? Or has it not at all? Do you have other acting plans in the future?
JJ: Balancing Nashville with Enation is a lot of work, but I love doing both.
When it comes to acting and being a musician, what do you think is your biggest passion? What do you enjoy doing the most?
JJ: As an artist, I enjoying telling stories in different ways, so both are great for different reasons.
How have your solo tour dates been going? Are you looking forward to playing with the band this summer?
JJ: The Nashville Tour has been great. I’ve really enjoyed being able to spend time with the cast. On set, we’re working together, but we don’t always have a lot of time to hang out together. So it’s been nice to have more time to connect. I love touring with Enation, so I’m excited to be on the road with them.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you love to still do a collaboration with in the future?
JJ: There are a lot of artists who inspire me. U2 has been a big influence. I also love R.E.M., Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Echo And The Bunnymen, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison. I would love to collaborate with U2, Michael Stipe, Eddie Vedder, or Leonard Cohen, to name a few.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
JJ: That’s too big of a question to fully answer. I think people will take different things away, depending on what they’re going through in their lives. Some people go to music for comfort, some for healing, others to be inspired. CS Lewis said “We read to know we are not alone.” That applies to music as well.