Singer-Songwriter and Rocker JIMMY GNECCO Discusses His Latest Music with the Alt-Rock Group OURS and Much More!
Posted On 02 Apr 2019
Jimmy Gnecco (singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, solo artist, and front-man for alt-rock group OURS, known for his multi-octave vocal range and dynamic singing style) just wrapped his tour in support of OURS sixth studio album, titled New Age Heroine II. He wrote, recorded, and produced himself. Click here for a full list of tour dates.
Gnecco is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from New Jersey, front-man for the rock band OURS, as well as a solo artist, who is known for his multi-octave vocal range and singing style, often described as “dramatic and emotional.”
Under the moniker of OURS, he signed to Dreamworks in 1997 and OURS‘ first record, titled Distorted Lullabies, was released in 2001 and produced by Steve Lillywhite and Gnecco. The follow-up record Precious was produced by Ethan Johns and was released in 2002. For the third record Gnecco would sign with Rick Rubin‘s label American Records. Gnecco teamed up with the production genius in Rubin for 2008’s release Mercy (Columbia/American). In 2010, Gnecco released his highly anticipated self-produced first solo acoustic record, titled The Heart on indie label Bright Antenna, and followed it in 2011 with the release of The Heart: X Edition, in which Gnecco built upon the intimacy of his solo album with a lush full band version of the record.
OURS followed up Mercy with the Devil EP and a re-inspired and resurgent self-produced release Ballet the Boxer I in 2013. The latter record built upon the moody, soulful and epic sound captured on Mercy, but with a greater sense of urgency that transcends the music’s emotional pitch. In the spring of 2014, Gnecco supported Lana Del Rey on tour before spending a few years in the studio; writing, recording, and producing the second and third chapters of a three-record series. Chapter 2, titled New Age Heroine, was just released on November 18, 2018 and it brings Gnecco back to the core of what he and his band OURS have been all about ─ music that reaches deep into one’s heart, touches the soul, and lifts the spirit. In 2019, OURS will release Chapter 3, titled Spectacular Sight,
Gnecco has likened OURS to Nine Inch Nails in the sense that he works with other musicians and presents OURS‘ music in a band format, but he’s been the band’s creative voice from the beginning. Gnecco has also cited Nine Inch Nails as a musical influence, as well as Radiohead, U2 and vocalists like Frank Sinatra and k.d. lang.
Gnecco’s dynamic voice, songwriting style, and live performance have received worldwide acclaim from critics and fans, helping him build a cult-like following. OURS has toured with The Cult, A-Ha, The Wallflowers, Marilyn Manson, Blue October, Circa Survive, and Filter, among others.
In 2004, Gnecco collaborated with Brian May of Queen to record a duet, titled “Someone to Die For,“ for the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack.
OURS’ discography: Distorted Lullabies (2001), Precious (2002), Mercy (2008), Devil EP (2013), Ballet The Boxer I (2013), Transformers Roll Out (2016), and New Age Heroine II (2018)
Gnecco’s solo discography: The Heart (2010), Bring You Home 7” inch vinyl (2010), and The Heart (X) Edition (2011).
For more info on Jimmy, visit JimmyGnecco.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify.
Learn more about Jimmy Gnecco in the following All Access interview:
Now that 2019 has started, what musical goals do you have for yourself and your music this new year? Did you make any new year’s resolutions?
Goals for this year include releasing the next Ours record Spectacular Sight, putting together the concert experience that I always wanted to, and finishing and releasing records that I am making with a few different artists. My resolution would be to not settle for anything less than great. In life and in my career.
Growing up, how important has music been in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Some of my first memories in life are actually of music. It has always been important to me. As it is with anyone who feels the same, music has always been there to comfort me and take me to wherever it was that I wanted to be. I’ve always had such a love and appreciation for it. I have continued to be a music fan first and foremost, even after all of these years of making it myself. I have done my best to keep my ego out of the way, and appreciate others’ contributions along the way. In the end, it’s somebody else’s music that pulls me through even what I am doing. I never forget that. It’s crucial to being great in my opinion. I can have my approach and how I would do it, but I have done all I can to not let that get in the way of loving others’ music. Bitter is an ugly place, so I remain a fan.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what could you see yourself doing?
I haven’t thought about that in a very long time, because I have been so consumed with trying to make decent music, but lately I have begun thinking about what else I would be interested in doing. I don’t have that answer yet, but I have begun to think about it. I’ve been thinking about how much of my life I have given to creating and making music, and it’s all a gamble. There’s no diploma that I get after four years that says “you’ve done it”. Usually just a lot of debt, lost years, and the potential for the world to tell me how much I suck. However, there is also the chance of really moving people and giving them what I have been given from others’ music, and that’s what I gamble on, and it’s been a worthwhile gamble for the last 30 years. As I see people spend four years in school following a curriculum, and then being handed a piece of paper that qualifies them in some field, it makes me wonder what would happen if I actually did that. Four years is usually just pre-production for me! I mean no disrespect for any students who work their asses off and accomplish what they do, but it’s just different for me, so it makes me wonder.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Well, as far as the actual music goes, no real surprises there. All been about learning everyday, but not many surprises. The challenges are immense. It wouldn’t seem like it, because from the outside it seems like the dream job, and yes, it’s a huge blessing to be able to do what I love, but it is certainly no bed of roses as Freddie said. The challenges of making it great in the first place should be overwhelming and they are, and then all of the self-doubt that can creep in if one isn’t grounded can be really tough. For me, I am focused on making it great, so I can never really sit back and gloat about anything. I wake up feeling like I am starting all over again every single day. This can be both good and bad. Clean slate, but starting from scratch and feeling like I haven’t done anything well. What I did yesterday doesn’t matter to me in the sense of resting on it. I need to beat what I did yesterday. Sometimes even destroy it. I often wish that I was more easily impressed by even a small portion of what I have done, but I can’t say I am. Maybe one day though.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live now?
I grew up dreaming off being somewhere else, but then at around 13, I realized that I lived four miles from the greatest city on earth (in my opinion). The love affair that I would have with NYC hasn’t faded much. The city has changed for sure, but my love for it has not. This dreaming about being in other places though has also brought me a love and appreciation for so many places in the world. So I came to love many spots. I absolutely love Los Angeles and many parts of California. I think I always did actually. Growing up a bmx racer, I had this fantasy about California, and it has lived up to that for me. Still does. I love The United Kingdom, and many parts of Europe, and Canada that I’ve spent time in. I have never loved the cold weather though, so I am always threatening to leave it! I love Hawaii, but I’m not sure if I could live on a smaller island like that or not.
Let’s talk about your newest album with OURS called “New Age Heroine II.” How did the process of putting this together compare to your previous collections?
In the back of my head, I knew that I would be working on a collection of three records, but I also didn’t want to box myself in while recording, so I kept the process very open. My philosophy was music without borders. Just let it come out, and see what it wants to be. However I did have a thread in mind. I had just put out a very intense solo record where the songs were pretty emotionally heavy. I knew that I didn’t want to weigh people down with more like that, but I also didn’t want to stop the flow of what was happening. I set my sights on creating an uplifting stadium rock record. However many songs were coming to life in the process that didn’t fit this criteria. They were turning out to be some of the best songs that I have ever written and recorded in my opinion, and so I could not put it of any longer. I would put together this sequence of songs that would tell the middle part of this three record story. Though possibly the best work that I had done up to this point, I didn’t want to make a big deal of the record. I wanted to just release it and let it find its way into people’s hearts. That’s really my plan with ‘New Age Heroine’. Let it exist and grow with people. No major push or hype. Allow it to remain a personal experience for people without commercials telling them it should be. In the past, I had most of the songs pretty much ready to go before I stepped into the studio. Being that I was in the studio around the clock this time, I kept writing and writing. I still am.
What are some stand-out singles on this album? How did they come together and what was the inspiration for them?
I feel that Pain Aside, New Age Heroine, Miles Away and Fly would be standout singles, where something like My Love, may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. It’s difficult for me to rate what would be more effective as a “single”, but those would be my hunches. Love was the inspiration behind all of them. Falling in love, and losing love at the same time.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
My favorite way for me to connect with fans is by playing live. In all reality this is what we do. We are supposed to make music and perform it, not be publicists. I enjoy sharing rare things about the music with people, but we shouldn’t ever be made to feel like it is our responsibility to be on social media everyday. That’s backwards and a trap, and I resent any business person who sees it otherwise. That’s their job, not ours, and until I find a company that actually understands that, I will continue to put my music out myself.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Let me start at the beginning and try to go in order…The classical music pioneers…Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, African and Indian rhythms, Sinatra, Elvis, Beatles, Bowie, Floyd, Motown, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, the 70’s in general…Queen, Zeppelin, Disco including The Bee Gees, Donna Summer, ABBA, Olivia Newton John, the great yet often mocked 80’s, New Wave…The Cure is at the top of that list, RUN DMC, Punk music, 80’s dance music, some of the great 80’s hair bands, Prince, Michael Jackson, U2, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Lenny Kravitz, Jellyfish, Suede, Sarah McLaughlin, KD Lang, Spacehog, Radiohead, Morrissey, Bjork, Rufus Wainright, Justin Timberlake…I can go all day. I’d love to work with Nile Rogers, Pharrell Williams, Flood, Daniel Lanois, Fiona Apple, Olivia Newton John, U2. That’s a long list as well.
Where can fans see you perform next? How is your current “Someone To Die For” Tour going?
The tour was great. Such an honor to be able to play with Royston Langdon. He is an incredible talent. Next tour is for Spectacular Sight. Big concert experience.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
Hmm, maybe like a Star Wars movie, or maybe Willy Wonka!
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you take with you and why?
My 68 Gibson B-25. My true love.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
At this point I would say something like Game of Thrones. It’s a shame that Vinyl isn’t still on because that would have been great. I could see Devil being used in a Bond type movie. We also have a combination of what feels like desert and space music coming out, so things like that. High energy, but sometimes really moody at the same time. Something like The Crow would have been perfect.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I just hope that it makes them feel good. That’s all.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
Spectacular Sight is coming!