out perform // outlast // out work
I chose to interview our guest today for a very simple reason: because listening to his music made me happy. Jon Fuller’s music is simple, beautiful. It’s clean. A collection of eleven cute love songs and life observations are the building blocks of his EP, Skipping Away from Dissonance. Some songs relied mostly on Fuller’s voice with only piano accompaniment, while others such as Time Machine were energetic hybrids of a full instrumental array. His lyrics are often the simple, honest expressions of emotion. In his song Little Green Monster, Fuller sings:
I’ve got a right to cry over you,
And I’ve got a reason to worry about what you do
And every time that I stumble, I take a deep breath, count to ten.
Music aside, there is another reason that Jon Fuller is appearing on your screen today. In his submission, Jon took the time to give his thoughts on a few of our past guests. As you will see in our interview, Fuller gave his support for some of his fellow musicians. There are some who think that the music industry is a competition. Maybe it can be, to some degree, but it is also a collective, a family. I personally don’t think that musicians should tear each other down in order to succeed, but instead that they should support and learn from one another. That’s what Out of the Woodwork is all about: supporting and learning from one another. I felt that Fuller’s positive attitude really shone through in the following interview.
I’m a singer-songwriter in New York (for now), a lapsed vegetarian, a one-time Midwesterner with an inexplicable Canadian accent, and (I hope) a good friend.
As far as album title genesis stories, I’m pretty happy with this one. I was taking a music theory class in college, and the professor was explaining one of the rules we have to follow and said something along the lines of “And we never skip away from dissonance.” In context, it’s the best way to describe what we were learning, but I just thought there was something super poetic about it; the idea of avoiding or skirting around something unpleasant by skipping away from it is a vision that always stuck with me.
Every time I write a song it’s a different experience. Sometimes a pretty-well-formed song will emerge in a half hour, sometimes the lyrics won’t be finished for years, sometimes the words come first, sometimes the other way around. I actually wrote an entry recently detailing the writing of a new song on my website — that particular song started while I was walking and singing a line into my Voice Memos app, so it truly depends on the song itself. As far as inspiration, at least lyrically, these days I’ve been looking outward more than in; on the record I’m working on now, there are songs about depression, capitalism, and end-of-life medical decisions (as well as the requisite love song or three).
Originally, I tried to keep those two realms somewhat separate; I very much underestimated the muckraking capabilities of adolescents, though. One day, in an end-of-year sing-along session (one of those “Let’s keep these kids entertained for a half hour more” situations borne out of desperation and burnout), one of my seventh graders said “Mr. Fuller, play Rather Be a Fish!” and I knew it was all over. Since then, it’s pretty well out in the open and it’s actually been great; I’ve been able to start coaching fledgling songwriters at the school as well, which has been excellent.
I love the tone of Tony’s voice; it’s the kind of voice that you could listen to tell stories for hours, and it’s fantastic that he’s unironically uplifting. You don’t see much of that these days. Bella River just sounds so effortlessly cool. I love the way Natalie gives attention to every syllable she sings; it doesn’t sound like the words are throwaways at all, and when she hits the higher notes in the chorus it just sounds sublime.
I adore the Don Bluth cartoons from the late ’80s/early ’90s — All Dogs Go to Heaven, FernGully, The Secret of Nimh, and, of course, Anastasia. The first “adult” concert I went to was an Alanis Morissette show at the ripe old age of thirteen (the only live show I’d seen before then was Hanson, and I loved every minute of it). If I could live anywhere in the world, it would probably be the Hudson Valley. There’s just something about the air there that’s a little bit magical.
I actually released a bare-bones music video for Little Green Monster in December (selfie-style, holding an iPhone and gallivanting around my apartment). It was a lot of fun, and I’m looking to do a more produced video along with the second album.
Proud to make your day just a little better. I’m Chancy Johnson, here to bring them~
Out of the Woodwork.