Photo Credit: Tyler William Parker
This Friday, November 15th, you’ll probably be able to catch Jonathan Rosen of Cones walking around Times Square with a hot dog in hand as he and his brother and bandmate, Michael, will be in town playing at Trans-Pecos. It’ll be the first time the east coast hears songs from their new EP, Pictures of Pictures. Before those near and around NYC grab a ticket to the show, first get to know more about this band of brothers that are quite opposite in many ways but somehow come together to make it work for the sake of great music.
Kendra: With Jonathan not wanting anything to do with music at first, did you ever think you’d wind up making a record with him Michael?
Jonathan Rosen: I wouldn’t necessarily say I didn’t want anything to do with music. I was always musical, putting words and poems to melodies ever since I was a little kid. But generally, I guess I was just more interested in visual art. Music was always Michael’s terrain.
I think when you’re growing up with a sibling, you sometimes stubbornly seek out independence from them by trying to forge your own unique interests and rejecting theirs. We did have a band called The Froggies when I was five and he was seven. The Froggies didn’t have any songs though. Ultimately uniting with Michael to make this record was very natural. We’d been playing music in bands throughout our twenties, so this was kind of a long time coming.
Kendra: Jonathan, you started getting into music after you lost a friend and started penning poetry. Did any of those poems make their way onto Pictures of Pictures?
Jonathan Rosen: That loss happened when I was 15. My songs weren’t very good then, so none of them made it onto this record. However, we did record a song that I wrote about her a few years ago. It got cut from Pictures of Pictures, but I still believe in it and want to get it out there someday. We’ll probably re-record it.
Kendra: With one of you in a punk band and another in an indie band, how did you manage to come together and settle on a sound that worked for both of you? Was there some trial and error with style and aesthetic at first?
Jonathan Rosen: There was a lot of trial and error when we began this project. Lots of arguments, bursts of joy, and late nights. I’m not a classically trained musician, and perhaps out of necessity I always embraced a loose and sometimes sloppy style of playing. Which is one of the reasons I felt so comfortable playing punk music. On the contrary, Michael is very technical and nuanced. He’s very patient with me when I labor over guitar or bass takes. And I’m patient with him in other ways. It works out pretty well.
Kendra: Now you have your sound and the record is out for all to hear. Being an LA-based group, if you had to compare the overall sound of Pictures of Pictures to one of the most photographed places in Los Angeles, which would it be?
Jonathan Rosen: The Hollywood Sign.
Kendra: Let’s talk about this video. Why did you feel the need to step away from animation for this one?
Jonathan Rosen: Our friend Sidney came to us with the idea of shooting us in a studio. I had recently finished the animated video for our first single “Moonstone” and was exhausted by it. I just wanted to have fun and perform on camera. The timing was right and we got to work with our good friends. Also, people usually just want to see your face. Sometimes you gotta give the people what they want.
Kendra: What’s on the books for the rest of the year? More shows out east or will you be heading back west?
Jonathan Rosen: We’ll probably start recording some new stuff soon. I’ve recently only been writing sad folk songs so we’ll have to find a way to spice them up. We’ll most likely be touring in the spring and going to SXSW and all that stuff. Also, we’re about to release an app that my brother programmed and I designed. It’s an immersive 3D experience of Pictures of Pictures. Stay tuned!