KMR: So you guys are definitely one the biggest bands that I have come across before, how did this large project begin?
Andrew Neesley: I’ve worked in large ensembles my entire life… Whether they were Afro-Cuban big bands, concert bands, orchestras… It’s where I gravitate towards. Plus, the more the merrier! More sounds, more directions, more people to have a beer with.
KMR: Who are the members of Jesus On The Mainline?
- Andrew Neesley: Lead Vocals, Trumpet, Violin
- Tim Emmerick: Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
- Mel Flannery: Vocals
- Amanda Brecker: Vocals
- Simon Kafka: Guitar
- Andrew Miramonti: Guitar
- Pascal Le Beouf: Piano, Organ, Electric Piano
- Tomek Miernowski: Bass
- Dave Scalia: Drums
- Michael Gorham: Trumpet
- Augie Haas: Trumpet
- Natalie Cressman: Trombone
- Frank Cohen: Trombone
- Mark McGinnis: Tuba
- Jake Goldbas: Percussion
KMR: How did you find the right members to fit the profile for the band?
Andrew Neesley: No joke, they are my best friends, who happen to play music at the highest level. The band started out a little smaller, but the more we played, the sound grew. Friends that subbed in ended up playing full time.
KMR: How does the song writing work within the band?
Andrew Neesley: If there’s a method to write a song, chances are we’ve used it. I write a melody, Tim’s writes the lyrics. Tim writes a whole song. Mel suggests an arrangement. Tomek has a riff. Dave’s playing reminds me of a vibe. You name it!
KMR: With having so many members and obviously bringing in such a wide variety of experience, tastes and abilities does this have a positive or negative impact on the writing?
Andrew Neesley: Overwhelmingly positive. With such a wide variety of musical experience, everybody brings something different. And I love it. We all strive to make great music. That’s the only thing that matters. When you put 15 people onstage with that explicit goal—magic can happen.
KMR: How long did it take you to record your self-titled EP? Did you have a time line to get the album completed by?
Andrew Neesley: We didn’t start out with a deadline; it was my plan to record at a slower pace. But then the bug bite us and we went full steam ahead, though we still had to go about it piecemeal. We all have pretty busy gig schedules. Coordinating everybody was a big task, but it all worked out.
KMR: You have released a few singles from the album so far, has there been a positive impact within the band from all of the media and public attention from the single releases?
Andrew Neesley: Hell yeah. I’m very happy that the press we’ve received so far has highlighted many different members. Mel has received rave reviews for her singing, Tim for his writing, Natalie for her bone playing, Simon for his guitar playing, Pascal for his keyboard playing… the list goes on. We’re a band first and foremost—and they fact that so many different people get shout outs actually reinforces that idea. No one shines brighter than the person playing next to them. They’re all such phenomenal players and singers.
KMR: How did you decide what singles you were going to release?
Andrew Neesley: We went in order of finished masters. I suppose you could say some songs are stronger than others, but that’s really a matter of personal taste. I think everybody’s playing and singing on the quieter numbers are real highlights of the EP. Mel’s singing on “Angel From Montgomery” will bring tears to your eyes. Also, Simon and Andrew crush the guitar solos on that tune.
KMR: Playing live must be a daunting challenge for you guys, is touring almost out of the question for you?
Andrew Neesley: No way! Daunting maybe, but never impossible. We’re making plans to play dates up and down the east coast this winter. It’s tough to make it all happen. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. We’re up to the challenge.
KMR: How do you find suitable venues for your large sound and stage presence?
Andrew Neesley: We’ve played some very tiny stages. We make it happen. Finding suitable venues for our stage presence—that can be tough. I like to move when I make music. I’ve definitely spilled a whiskey glass onstage because I didn’t want to knock over Mel instead. Both big and small rooms have advantages. I love being two feet away from the first row. The intimacy can’t be matched. But with bigger rooms—we can all breathe a bit on the bigger stages.
Thanks for the questions. Check us out at CMJ 2014 Music Marathon at The Bowery Electric on October 21 at 10 PM!
Here are some Samples from Jesus On The Mainline