This summer will bring us the debut LP of New Jersey’s own Rob Jennings. Indie pop with a rock shell, Jennings comes across like a stroll through a park in the early dawn. Anchored by the latest single “Shamed,” The World Was On My Side drops soon enough but first get to know more about the songwriter from the east coast and his way with words, sanity and agendas.
Kendra: With some 25 songs and EPs to your name, do you ever experience writer’s block, or is that something that you never deal with?
Rob Jennings: I only really have 1 or 2 EP’s. The number 25 comes from a couple years ago when I got really into home recording, so I would write and record a song every week. The 25 songs on my Bandcamp are all of the best ones. I get writer’s block all of the time. It’s really hard to sit down and consciously try to write a good song. Most of the time they come when I’m least expecting it.
Kendra: Your latest single, “Shamed” got me thinking about things that we’re all shameless about. What’s yours?
Rob: Oh man. I’m not sure I’m shameless about anything. I guess if I ever am, it’s when I’m with family or people I’m comfortable with. I’m a pretty sensitive person, so if I embarrass myself publicly it haunts me for a little bit.
Kendra: As an artist, what changes did you notice about yourself when you entered the studio to record The World Was On My Side versus when you went in for The Boulevard Gone?
Rob: I was more prepared for The Boulevard Gone than I was with the new album even though I like this one more. I guess the biggest change was that I really thought about the lyrics and the arrangements more instead of rushing to get it done. I wanted to make sure I could listen to this album years from now and not regret anything about it.
Kendra: In the past year it seems like the world isn’t on anyone’s side. With all that’s going on in the news, how do you stay sane?
Rob: That whole title of my album is kind of in a negative context, unfortunately. There is a “Was” in there after all. It’s more of a personal thing. Like if I tackle everything in my life so far that keeps me up at night on this album, I can finally put it all behind me. I think I’m saner now than when I started recording it because I exercised most of those demons. I’m not really the most political person, so I just try to be a better person every day and I think if more people have that attitude then hopefully things will get be okay.
Kendra: On a better note, you have a show coming up in July. What do you have planned for the New York City audience?
Rob: The show is at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey. It’s a legendary venue that got shut down a couple years ago and just recently re-opened. It’s a great place. I’m planning on playing the whole album from start to finish and also throwing in some of the songs from the first EP as well. I can’t wait. I’m also playing at Pine Box Rock Shop in Brooklyn on July 29th!
Kendra: Other than the new album and the shows in July, what else is on the agenda for you this year?
Rob: Lots of shows hopefully. I’m trying to work out a tour but it’s harder than I thought it’d be. I was actually just mapping it out before.
Kendra: Lastly, if you had to compare your sound to a work of art, which would it be and why?
Rob: After looking up pieces of art just now, I’m gonna go with “Guernica” by Picasso because I think it’s a good visual representation of some of the melancholy sounds and emotional turmoil in the lyrics. Might be a bit of a downer, but it fits!