EXCLUSIVE ARTIST INTERVIEW: JERIMIAH BLACK | PERFORMING NOVEMBER 20TH AT BAR NINE

Jerimiah Black started out playing piano and creating film scores for horror films while creating experimental acoustic music, and even briefly worked with Defjam records. Just recently, his music has become popular and I have been featured on the radio show KKRS

In anticipation of his live show with on November 20th at 9:00PM, Jerimiah was nice enough to email us from his home-base to discuss their musical influences, live show experience, and what inspires them on a day-to-day basis

BAR NINE: What type of band are you?
JERIMIAH BLACK: Indie fusion

BN: Tell us the brief history of your band
JB: I started out playing piano, and creating film scores for horror films while creating experimental acoustic music. I briefly worked with Defjam records until I broke contract with them due to misuse and mistreatment of my art. I now still write film score tracks, as well as the acoustic glam/indie fusion music I perform now. Just recently, my music has become popular and I have been featured on the radio show KKRS and will be performing live on-air for S. Street Media and a few other stations.

BN: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JB: Musically, my influences are a varied eclectic mix of artists: Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Incubus, Dave Matthews, Billy Joel, Prince Otis Redding Sondheim, Amy Winehouse, Rage Against the Machine, Wutang...
Non-musical influences: Maya Angelou, Malcom X, Barack Obama, the 5 clans of Somalia, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickenson, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia)

BN: What are your dreams and goals?
JB: To inspire people to fight adversity. To open peoples minds to ideologies they are foreign to. To connect us all as human beings and to break the barriers that hold our collective intellect back from positive progression.

BN: Who writes the songs, what are they about?
JB: I write all of my songs; every instrumental part and all lyrics. My newest album is about both addressing social inequalities and justice issues and intimate self reflections. To put it simply: seeing yourself in the people around you, no matter what your conceived differences may be. 

BN: How do you promote your band and shows?
JB: Social media (of course) but I also go out and play the trains, and I'll even sometimes go out and take walks with my guitar and just play. People really seem to dig my sound and my energy, so I've always had great outcomes of doing this.

BN: Describe your show, visual and musically
JB: Intimate. Genuine. Raw. Unfiltered. 

BN: What do you think about downloading music online?
JB: It's the new age way to spread your art. I support that. 

BN: What's your outlook on the record industry today?
JB: This is a heavy question for me, since I've seen first hand what major labels will do to make a buck. It's absurd. They are vultures in love with their own agendas, and to cowardly to support artists who don't fit their agendas or norms. Most of the greatest artists have broken from their labels or started out not belonging to one and still gaining popularity. Independent production companies and studios are where it's at. 

BN: What's your claim to fame?
JB: I was in Hawaii. I was playing guitar when a few friends of mine told me how much I could make my voice sound like Jason Mraz. Then, they convinced a bunch of people in the area that I was actually Jason Mraz and I had a huge crowd of people come see me perform. Which we all thought was hilarious, but I had to quickly tell everyone that I was not actually Jason: everyone stayed. I think because they were impressed with me as an artist? But I played a few originals. I was told after the impromptu show that my music was much better than Jason's. No offense to you though, Jason. We all still love you.

BN: Tell us a story about a day in your life.
JB: Does the above count? Well, one year I took my guitar to the furry convention in Pittsburgh. I did improv where I walked around and basically made fun of anyone and everyone. I ended up creating a parade of people who followed me through the streets of pittsburgh dressed up as animals or just along for the good time singing about all these people we were seeing. These are the odd but satisfying occurances of my life.

BN: What inspires you to do what you do?
JB: Seeing people connect and relate to the music. Even when they don't understand the words. Music is a powerful language. There is not much else out that is as universally understood. Art transcends the construct of organized language. 

BN: What advice would you give to fellow bands?
JB: Always be true to who you are and never give up. Cliche but it's so much harder said than done. Oh, and drink lots of water. 

BN: What are some of your pet peeves?
JB: Really abrasive people. right wing politics. people that bite and eat their fingernails on the subway trains. other people who don't donate to the volunteers who ask for donations on the trains while supplying food for the homeless. I'm writing a song about it. Out of 55 people on the train this morning, only 4 of us gave money to the volunteers. It's makes me sick. 

BN: How does music affect you and the world around you?
JB: Music gives me a way to connect to people I may never have had the chance to connect with in such an intimate, genuine, raw way. 

BN: What's new in the recording of your music?
JB: My newest album coming out has such a strong theme of unity, breaking barriers, and opening up the minds eye. I'm so excited about it. 

BN: What are the biggest obstacles for bands?
JB: It depends on the band? Sometimes it's creating unique music that doesn't sound exactly the same as other stuff. Sometimes it's getting gigs (particularly paid gigs) sometimes it's just simply finding the time to stay together and move forward. But then again, I'm a one-man band so....

I have been in bands before though. 

BN: What's the best and worst thing about playing clubs?
JB: Best thing: energetic crowds. Worst thing: energetic drunken crowds. 

Stephanie Schmid