Jm Airis
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Jm Airis

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Rock

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Often cited for the raw-edge timbre of his numerous rock’n’roll producer credits or as the drummer of the Dead Sparrows, J.M. Airis’ collection of solo recordings unearth a journeyman songwriter every bit as much an artist as an engineer. Originally from northern Wisconsin, the sound of Airis’ solo recordings has remained rooted in a “four-track forever” ethos, both in composition and production. The release of Indian Summer, recorded in his Brooklyn studio, marks Airis’ first official solo release. Indian Summer proves the songwriter’s expressed intention of crafting songs that work equally well when stripped to their guitar and drums as when heard in the their full form. Despite the languid pace, there is still plenty of rock’n’roll bleeding through the burlap. Appearing in his band are Ben Wolcott and Ryan Spoto from Des Roar. - MTV Canada


JM Airis has made his way through the New York City music scene as the drummer for the rock outfit Dead Sparrows, but this spring he stepped away from the band to release his first solo effort. Recorded by Airis in his home recording studio, Indian Summer shows off the Wisconsin native's songwriting chops as well as his production skills. This track glides with a folky moodiness as Airis sings over languid, crunchy guitar. - NPR Music News


“Oh baby, watch my fears hold for a million years. I know what you’re thinking, but its not love that’s making your heart sick.” –‘Divider,’ JM Airis

JM Airis, drummer from the New York rock group Dead Sparrows, has taken a bold leap that only few musicians can manage: creating a solo album that sounds drastically different from, yet equally powerful as his other projects. Filled with heavy emotions and heart felt lyrics, the sounds of Indian Summer are rooted in a “four-track forever” ethos, both in composition and production filled with raw sounds. From a young age Airis dedicated himself to experimenting with available recording gear, and it is visible at his studio in Brooklyn today; he continues to use an analog approach in a digital age.

Aside from his skills as a musician, Airis is very much a part of the Working Class. Through email, he answered some of our questions.

WC: Tell me how the JM Airis project was born. Was this your first “solo” record or do you consider this to be a “solo” record?

JA: It was born out of my analog studio in Brooklyn that I also live in, so it was born in September when I started putting these songs together. But at the time they were just ideas to be built up. Having all of the instruments and mics around to make a record, it came together pretty quick, but once Numbers Man was done, like a “real” song, I pretty much based the rest of the record off of it. This is my first solo record, and yes it is a solo record. I put out a collection of songs two years ago but this is the first I’ve actually pressed.

WC: Who are the players involved in making this record or did you do the majority yourself?

JA: I’m really the only player but there are a few friends on it here and there. Evie plays keyboards on two songs, Ryan Oh-No plays drums on one song and Mike Huggins plays drums on two songs.

WC: What was your inspiration for making this record?

JA: I just really love “the record” as an art form. I really wanted to make one of my own, and I want to continue to make them.

WC: You recorded this record all yourself, correct? What was that like?

JA: Yes, it was pretty fun just getting it all out of my system. I never felt like “Now I am going to record this or do this.” Many of the guitars and drums and things were made up on playback and with the singing I was just like ‘Fuck it. I’m really going to stand behind what I’m saying and see how it comes out.’

I will say that from working with computers, I got sick of looking at a computer all day and then going home and trying to make music on a computer; so I bought up all of this old antiquated recording gear and really got into sounds again. I was allowing myself to not “see” the music and just make something that was really listenable. I think that really helped me make a full-sounding record without ever becoming too caught up in the process.

WC: Most people in New York and the music world know you as ‘Jon Airis- Drummer of the rock and roll outfit Dead Sparrows.’ This record clearly shows a completely different side of you and your abilities as a songwriter, musician, etc. How would you like people to perceive you?

JA: I don’t think of myself as being a drummer over someone who’s just generally involved in music. I would like people to listen to the record for what it is…

WC: Did any members of Dead Sparrows contribute on this record? Why or why not?

JA: Graham Finn mixed the record because he knows more about that than I do, like sonic placement and proper mixing. He did a great job. The other Sparrows were not included but for no reason in particular, they just weren’t around because I record at really odd hours.

WC: I recently played your record for someone who knows you from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He said he could hear sounds pulling from both Eau Claire and New York. Would you agree with his observations?

JA: I am sure this is true, I’ve essentially been involved in music from Eau Claire until now in New York so I’m sure it comes out a bit.

WC: Do you feel where a record is recorded has an influence on the way they turn out? Like, if a record is recorded in New York, it sounds like New York? Do you think this is the case for your record?

JA: This record definitely sounds New York to me because this city wrote this for me. On my first “New York” songs it was all, “This is what I see, this is what I think,” and it was all pretty contrived. But with these songs it’s very much from a place that could only have come from living in New York City, without consciously addressing it. These songs absolutely would not be the same if I were anywhere else. I don’t know why that is but I can hear it in the songs as well as the recording. Also the community of musicians I’m involved with in this city right now definitely played a part.

WC: If you could work with anyone, who would it be and why?

JA: A record label? Hahahaha I don’t know…

WC: What are your plans for JM Airis? Tour, shows, a second record?

JA: The record release and then I’d like to play as often as possible. I really do want to tour and hopefully that comes about. Right now there are some select cities where I have a lot of friends that I have tentatively scheduled in April: Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis. - Workingclass Magazine


JM AIRIS ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM RELEASE, INDIAN SUMMER, ON MARCH 11, 2011 VIA TOTALLY GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT

SXSW APPEARANCE AND ADDITIONAL TOUR DATES TO FOLLOW

Indian Summer is a collection of solo recordings written and performed by Jon Airis. The record unearths a journeyman songwriter every bit as much an artist as an engineer.

Originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Airis’s recordings have remained rooted in a “four track forever” ethos, both in composition and sound as he’s migrated East for the past decade. Dedicating himself to experimenting with available recording gear, he continued focusing on mastering analog tape machines when others had gone digital, giving his catalogue a distinct ancestral flavor unwaveringly devoted to his own sculpted sense of Americana. Upon his arrival in New York City, Airis began building a recording studio in an industrial era textile factory in Brooklyn. Indian Summer tastefully explores song layers in the variety of the warehouse’s sound rooms, lending an unusual honesty to his work and highlighting location as more player than muse. From the outset the record is overtly a man alone in his music, surrounded by millions in one of the largest modern cities.

Indian Summer, recorded in his Brooklyn studio, marks Airis’s first official release, pressed by Totally Gross National Product out of Minneapolis, MN. This March sees Jm Airis leading a band on a string of Midwest tour dates including an album release show in Minneapolis and a SXSW showcase.

The album is set for release on March 11, 2011 via TGNP (Totally Gross National Product), a label founded in 2002 by Ryan Olson, current producer and member of GAYNGS and Marijuana Deathsquads, and long-time friend/fellow musician Drew Christopherson.

- MVRemix


Discography

Indian Summer - LP

Numbers Man - Single

Photos

Bio

Indian Summer is the name of JM Airis' debut solo album and when asked to explain what its title means, he googles it.

The ensuing entry explains it as "a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions, after there has been a killing frost," which reminds him to relay how the album was created during NYC's last Indian Summer.

It is strange though that Airis, an accomplished musician and most recently, drummer for downtown mainstays The Dead Sparrows, would turn to a computer to explain a project he was dedicated to completing without the aid of one. Recorded entirely in analog technology, it would seem Indian Summer was a project as challenging to create as it is exciting to listen to.

"I get sick of looking at computers all the time," Airis says. "When you don’t see these 'wave' forms [of modern recording programs], you don’t know if you’re maxing out... You can only HEAR if it sounds good." Determined to prove the reliablity of his ear, as well as his mettle, Airis wrote, recorded and produced an album of his experiences
growing with and growing into one of the most coveted cities in the world.

Originally from from Eau Claire, Wisconson, Airis immigrated to Brooklyn just 7 years ago. Almost immediately, he sought out vintage recording equipment, filling his home studio with technology all but abandoned in the age of laptop recording programs. Indian Summer is a multiple instrument, multi-layered, exporation of one man emptying himself into an four-track recorder.

"This is just all my ideas." Airis says. "I had to edit myself... I
mean I had songs that didn’t work, but I was really just making it to make it."

Upon its completion, he blasted the album out to a handful of friends, two of whom happened to be Ryan Olson and Drew Christopherson of Totally Gross National Product. About TGNP's involvement, Christopherson says, "Indian Summer is a wonderfully recorded collection of songs by an artist we've been a fan of for years. It's that simple."

As for Airis' hopes for the music's impact on the general public, he again turns to the most unlikely of collaborators, a computer, to measure the project's success. "If I can get rid of this 'disambiguation' tag on Wikipedia and just have the first result read, 'Indian Summer, parentheses-album title,' then I’ll know I’m there."