While at Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Music Festival (QRO recap), Jared and Kristyn Corder of Nashville’s *repeat repeat sat down with QRO. In the conversation, Jared & Kristyn talked about making the honeymoon Bad Latitude vs. the darker Floral Canyon, Nashville’s underground music scene, playing festivals, their different musical backgrounds, their many pets (from rescue racehorse to parrot), finishing each other’s sentences, and more…
QRO: Bad Latitude was a very personal record, talking about the honeymoon phase of a relationship. It’s very sweet and charming with disarming songs.
But then something happened on Floral Canyon: it’s very different with relationships (“Mostly”) and then goes down this religious/philosophical road (“Plugged in”, “Speaker Destroyer”). Was this a change, or step of musical maturity? What happened, Jared?
Jared Corder: First off, can I tell you I love that first question? Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head about Bad Latitude. I wrote that record when I was dating Kristyn, and also we finished the record while we were getting married, so it was my falling in love record, right? [Kristen nods her head] But as we decided to do the next record, as a songwriter, as a musician, I realized I wanted to hit on some maybe deeper themes.
Kristyn Corder: He also like didn’t want it to be the ‘Jared and Kristyn Show’.
KC: There was a big part of that. We were like, ‘OK, cool. We told our story, so let’s go out of those bounds for a little bit.’
JC: And I also felt like Bad Latitudes, that was telling our story, and with Floral Canyon, I wanted to tell some other people’s stories; stories I had to experience just by witnessing and living my life. And so, with that, I allowed myself to like kinda dig deeper within, and figure out what different themes I wanted to hit on.
And so, yeah, I talked about things like “Speaker Destroyer” that had to do with, during my upbringing, the way I was raised. And realizing that everyone has to go through a moment where they have to figure out what they believe, and what that means for themselves, and define what that is for themselves, and it’s a tricky moment for anybody and for myself and a lot of my peers.
And other things like “Mostly”, where I watched my friend’s relationship kinda crumble, but not where one person was in the wrong and one person was in the right, where both people had their own shortcomings and their own issues and how sometimes when a relationship ends, it’s not always like a clear cut break. But then there were other things like everybody’s falling in love, and realize I wanted to write songs too that just talk about like…
But as we decided to do the next record, as a songwriter, as a musician, I realized I wanted to hit on some maybe deeper themes.
KC: Ya know, embody that, at the end of the day, like, everybody loves to hear songs about love.
JC: Same with “Girlfriend”, and the same time, too, where we had just finished writing the song mostly that was about this tumultuous relationship. I did want to write a song in “Girlfriend” that was from my perspective, which was that I was raised with a lot of sisters, and mom, and learned how to respect a woman and everything like that, and I wanted to write a song that I felt like, a lotta songs from a guy’s perspective were more about the lustful side of things, and more from the girl’s perspective where would be…
JC: Yeah, heartbroken from a man. And I wanna write not either of those things. I want to take care of my partner.
KC: What if you just want to be a good guy? What if you just want to have a good relationship? That sometimes feels under…
JC: …appreciated. Really. And there’s not a lot of songs, a lot of anthems for people, for guys that just want to be good guys. Why isn’t that celebrated in music and things like that more often? We want to celebrate men that want to take care of their partners.
But we also with our music want to be able to write songs that are relatable to people that are going through breakups as well, and going through dark times or going through spiritual changes in their lives, or whatever family changes, or anything like that. I guess I wanted with Floral Canyon to give myself the freedom to express what I was feeling and going through, at any given chapter of my life.
And there’s not a lot of songs, a lot of anthems for people, for guys that just want to be good guys.
QRO: The Nashville underground scene is so organic. So many bands I keep hearing about. Is there competition for attention? Does it breed positive energy out of the friendly rivalries and spinning off each other?
KC: I think a lot of things on this. It would be easy to say, “Oh, you’re all coming up around one another therefore against one another, and in competition with, but it being the South, and it being a place where you sorta had to go against the grain to not be country music, you’re kind of all in it together and that might sound cheesy or inauthentic,” but truly, we’ve had a great relationship coming up as a band and as human beings in Nashville for the time we have been there, which is about ten years now. It has allowed us to create the life that we want in Nashville.
JC: I think that it’s also a healthy competition there, too. But I think, too, someone asked what advice I had as a musician for them and nowadays, I think the two pieces of advice are, ‘Try to work harder than anyone else and try to be more patient than anyone else you know.’ I feel like there are bands that we see that when we both move up at the same time we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, we both work as hard and are as patient as we are’. You know what I mean? So, in a way it’s that you both are celebrated, because you see other bands that have put their sweat and blood into it, and you want to be the one.
Somebody once told us that you spend half your career rolling your career up the hill, and the other half keeping the ball from rolling back down. So we feel like, very much, we’re still pushing the ball up the hill a lot of times, but we do feel that we had a lot of help and the ball’s certainly gotten up the hill more than other people have and we don’t take that for granted.
KC: And Nashville’s a big part of that. [Kristyn looks at Jared] I think recently I said to you, ‘Can you imagine how much harder it would have been if we didn’t have strong support from our hometown?’ And we take that to the next level – your hometown is music city, so it’s like, I hate to be cheesy but the gift of the support of Nashville has been integral.
JC: Well, it’s not for the feint of heart, ya know, you can make it in some small town, but, ya know, if you can’t make it in Nashville, then how do we feel very fortunate with some small semblance of success in a city that is known for music? That’s a huge deal.
KC: To come up as a band in that environment only holds you to the best standards.
JC: I mean, even to be able to play a festival like Shaky Knees, we feel like we have a seat at the table, and I don’t ever want to take that for granted.
Somebody once told us that you spend half your career rolling your career up the hill, and the other half keeping the ball from rolling back down.
QRO: You’re going to play Sloss Fest in a few weeks.
QRO: And you’ve got that festival at Bonnaroo too.
JC: At Bonnaroo, we’re on Sunday. We’re on the last day, later in the night, which is a great slot, but that also means that all weekend we have to be, ya know, on our best behavior.
QRO: So… the early set time today?
JC: That’s OK. Everything kinda evens itself out because we’re the very first sets here at Shaky Knees, but it works out because we want to see all the bands this weekend, and get to hang out all weekend.
KC: This is our second year on the festival circuit, and last year we opened for shows and ever since that show it was such a great show we were there with ASCAP and to kick off that festival was just amazing and honor and a privilege.
I think that show taught us like, ‘Oh, that’s not a bad spot, that’s a fun spot, everybody’s ready everybody’s like ready for a great show. You’re ready to kick off the weekend.’
When we met, it was very clear that I wanted to pursue music and make whatever sacrifices needed to do that, so it felt only natural that Kristyn had always wanted a horse.
QRO: Y’all have rescue animals. I thought you lived downtown. So how do you have the horse?
KC: Oh I wish!
JC: We rent a stall in a very nice barn in Franklin. We keep the horse there, he is very well kept and our hope is to one day be on a property where we can keep him with us. We feel like we have a Lamborghini of a racehorse, but he’s retired, and now he’s a pet.
KC: He’s forever retired. I grew up with horses since I was about four, and we had a horse live until 27 until last summer and it was right before my birthday that she passed. Jared said, “Go find your dream horse”. And I always wanted an off the track horse to get them off the track and be my best friend, so that’s what he is.
JC: When we met, it was very clear that I wanted to pursue music and make whatever sacrifices needed to do that, so it felt only natural that Kristyn had always wanted a horse. It felt unfair to be like, “Well, I can pursue my dream, and you can come along, but we cannot have a horse.’
KC: [laughs] Right.
JC: So, it kind of feels like give and take. We get to go on this adventure of music that I have always wanted to do my whole life, and in return we get to have a horse that she’s always wanted to have of her own.
QRO: When you practice, you have other animals at home. Do they respond or interact while y’all are practicing or singing? Maybe the parrot?
KC: Yes, particularly the parrot does, a LOT. He loves band practice, he loves yoga, and he loves showers.
JC: And he loves singing. He loves singing Alvvays.
KC: Not my baby. Whoo.
JC: Also, if you listen to our record Floral Canyon, track number two is called “Ghost”. There’s a theremin part in the very beginning, and throughout, which goes, ‘Wooh-ooh-ooo,’ like that and we played that record so much in our house while we were listening to the mixes, that Pharaoh now does it. If he ever hears the track in our house, he goes, ‘Wooh-ooh-ooo.’ It’s great.
QRO: At some point, you might inadvertently get animals record…
JC: We will be. [laughs]
KC: Yeah… Pet Sounds, Part 2.
It’s funny and a bit ironic, but true, that nowadays to be punk rock is to be nice and considerate, generous and kind, and respectful.
QRO: You are both music aficionados in your own rights, but you have very different upbringings / origins.
QRO (to Kristyn): From the west coast with folk harmonies.
QRO (to Jared): While you’re more punk based from before.
KC: Very different.
JC: I think that the idea and lifestyle of punk is catching people off guard. And it’s funny and a bit ironic, but true, that nowadays to be punk rock is to be nice and considerate, generous and kind, and respectful because I think, because of the internet that everyone has a voice, and we’re hiding behind a computer screen that we have lost a sense to be nice, so when you’re in public or in line at the post office or at the grocery store, or doing an interview with somebody, they’re just nice or considerate or friendly. I think catching people off guard and I think that is really the spirit of punk rock. Karma, and ya know.
KC: And I just mainly do layer-y harmony choruses on the…
JC: Yeah. I think that I always wanted to do something different and create music that was different and I think that between her layer-y harmonies and that ‘60s sound but my like brash three chords just distorted wall of sound punk rocky style, I think we found something that was full of love but at the same time a little bit alarming and disarming.
I mean we have eleven rescue pets, so how dark can we get?
QRO: Some of the music sounded a little darker than I expected, like The Carpenters.
JC: I think some of my favorite records from the ‘60s – some of the Beatles off the White Album, even some of the Brian Wilson era of Beach Boys stuff – some it was, like, pretty dark, and some if it was on a lot of themes that were deep and dark. And you gotta remember too that this is the ‘60s. I mean, there was a lot of political and social turmoil that was going on then too. So, I think that something can be beautiful, and still dark, you know what I mean? We try to allow ourselves the license, not just pigeonhole ourselves with that.
KC: We’re not very dark people, but we love to listen to bands like Beach House. I mean, we like moodier things, so it would not be true to our own personal musical style to just be doing happy pop. In the same regard, we could not leave that out. Like, roll down your windows, let the sun shine, peace and love, kinda records, but we like listening to moodier things, so I think that’s where the mix comes from.
JC: I honestly think that I can’t write songs at least for this band, write something.
KC: I mean we have eleven rescue pets, so how dark can we get?
JC: We just want to be authentic, and that realness have a real rawness to it.
QRO: Music aficionados tend to have that one band that they love, but others aren’t so in touch with their style. Kristyn, is there a band that Jared likes that made you uncomfortable, or that seemed odd?
KC: The only thing that comes to mind is… well, Jared grew up in just a very conservative home family, he was homeschooled oldest of four kids, and his favorite band has always been Radiohead. He comes to me, [stares at Jared’s bear tattoo] and his favorite band is Radiohead. They were so intense, so serious.
JC (to Kristyn): It’s not the kind of band you would put on leisurely. I just did, because something in my brain that was deeper than the typical music that I listened to, and I think, in that sense, it tapped into something else I never felt before.
KC: It felt like a dark and alternate universe to me. I just remember thinking that the background didn’t match the musical – you had this very innocent thing.
JC: It’d be like if you grew up in Alaska and your favorite band was The Beach Boys.
JC: You grew up in Alaska and listen to surf rock? I grew up in a very conservative very sheltered suburban home and never touched drugs or did anything, and my favorite band was Radiohead since I was 14 or 15.
KC: It’s a groovy, moody, weirder sound than I would have expected you to listen to in Gilbert, Arizona.
JC: Kristyn you have a band, a song.
KC: What? What? Oh, I’m embarrassed.
JC: “Issues” [by Julia Michaels].
JC: And it just won a Grammy.
KC: Beautifully written song.
JC: And it’s just like, so, pop, like.
KC: I love it.
JC: There are few songs that are, like, very few top 40 pop songs that we listen to, not because we don’t like them, we just don’t find ourselves listening.
KC: Well it’s a GREAT song. She has an amazing voice.
JC: I came home one day, and she’s usually listening to something out of the ‘60s.
KC: Like French pop.
JC: And she’s got this song on, it’s just, so top 40. It’s [sings] “Cause I got issues,” and I’m like, “ Whoa, what is this?”
KC: I LOVE it!!
JC: It really wasn’t a turnoff for me but it was, uh, unexpected.
JC (talking to KC): I think that, without your help, I wouldn’t have written a song that people really gravitated to. I mean, my pendulum is so far one way, and you help bring it to the center, where the majority of people can relate to it.
KC: Aah. I like that.