Photo Credit: Rafael Cardenas
Joel Jerome was lucky enough to come from a home where music was inevitable. We started our chat talking about his parental units’ influence but then dug into not only the uncertainty of the past couple of years as a musician and the acceptance of the inevitable but also the beauty of the 70s, as well as his brand new album. ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ is out May 13th, but everything we talked about and then some is ready to consume below.
Kendra: Where did your interest and love of music come from?
Joel Jerome: My mother and father were incredibly good-looking and the only musical people in their very large families, so there’s possibly something genetic there. In my later years, I realized that music is a creative outlet, like many others I’ve had throughout my life, and it has so many facets I’m interested in. From the song crafting and performing to the producing and recording side of things, it works my brain in pleasing ways.
I could’ve easily seen myself as an architect or interior designer if they had presented themselves at the proper time in my life, but music made the strongest impact. Music is the medium that’s consistently made me feel the most.
Kendra: Being that you’re an artist as well as someone who can work behind the scenes in your Psychedelic Thriftstore recording studio, do you find that those production skills help keep you grounded as an artist and in your creativity overall?
Joel Jerome: Operating my own studio and being the producer and engineer for my own music definitely made me realize what’s possible and what’s not possible and all the technical knowledge that goes into making a creative vision a reality. Both sides are hard, but they both inform each other and have been helpful in informing how I work with other artists when I’m helping develop their musical projects. That being said, I never let the lack of technical ability or access to certain recording equipment stop me from at least trying to see where an idea leads me.
Kendra: If you had to compare ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ to a signature LA dish, what would it be and why?
Joel Jerome: I’d say it’s akin to taco stands or taco trucks around the city. It’s simple, understated but delicious food made by hard-working folks not only trying to make a living but also nourish and comfort the people with handmade treats.
Kendra: I just never know what an artist is going to deliver when I press play, and I have to say I was delighted with “Falling Star.” Sonically, it gave me those ‘70s vibes I love, and you present yourself as a solid singer-songwriter. Is that an era you find yourself dipping into for inspiration more often than not, or is it all just coincidental?
Joel Jerome: The 70s don’t get enough hype as I think they deserve. It was such a fertile artist-friendly decade where a lot of music’s future was developed and experimented with. That decade created everything; Glam, Outlaw Country, Hip Hop, Punk Rock, Electronic, you name it.
The particular 70’s vibe I was inspired by for “Falling Star” was equal parts Latin pop love songs by artists like Roberto Carlos lyrically, and The Beach Boys ‘Sunflower’ album, in particular the song “All I Wanna Do,” musically. You can definitely hear that song’s influence on “Falling Star.”
Kendra: Also got to check out “We Made It Home,” and it felt very much like a song about the acceptance of death. Did I get that right? If so, is that something that sparked from the dismal past couple of years we’ve had?
Joel Jerome: The song was written in December 2019 a couple of months before the lockdown and was a result of the sorts of thoughts I get at the end of every year. Eventually, the lyrics meant way more because of all the “what if’s”I’m sure all of us were contemplating during the height of the lockdown.
It certainly intensified self-reflection and introspection. Thinking not only of the very real possibility of actually dying or being hospitalized but the state of your life and where you are. The complete shutdown for the unforeseeable future of the livelihood of musicians, like myself, was jarring. We were already barely staying afloat, and when the world shut down I realized how musicians and music workers have no safety nets and are in a constant battle to survive. You start to wonder, what am I doing, am I happy, am I fulfilled, how will I feel on the day I die?
Kendra: Time for a side note…since April showers bring May flowers, I’d love to know what song makes you bloom with happiness and why?
Joel Jerome: Oh man, so many songs have given me feelings throughout the years, but there is one song I remember being OBSESSED with growing up. Whenever it came on the radio in my mom’s 1968 Ford Maverick I would stop everything I was doing and listen intently to the song. It made me SO happy when it’d be on the radio, every time, I’d reach for the volume and turn it the hell UP. I was also probably never sadder than when we would get in the car and the song was just ending, I felt like the universe was getting me back for doing something wrong. That song is “Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer from the ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ soundtrack! ‘Knight Rider’ theme song close second!
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Super Flower Blood Moon’ out on May 13th, what else can you let us in on? Are you touring this year, already working on new music?
Joel Jerome: Always working on music, mostly alternate versions of the album with a live band, and such. One of the perks of having a home studio! But one of my main focuses is to tour/play shows in Mexico and other Latin American countries. I desperately wanna head to the motherland and play for my people, travel with my good buddy, and play every alternative venue we can get to and hopefully some beaches along the way!