Catch up with lead singer of Wartime Recitals, Jonathan Krueger, look for a music video from the band to come soon, and get the Wartime Recitals EP from iTunes now.
How would you describe the EP's sound?
Jonathon Krueger: Definitely indie pop. We have a big baroque sound. The main sound is based around piano and there's bell tones and glockenspiel, acoustic guitar, electric guitar are all kind of complimenting the songs that are written on piano.
Where do you guys draw inspiration from while writing new songs?
We're all sorts of artists. There's five of us in the group from when we started writing this EP and we all came from different backgrounds. I know our piano player likes Ben Folds and he was a huge inspiration for one of his arrangements and even just doing the sounds for guitar we'll pull a lot of influence from post-rock bands that we like, like Explosions in the Sky. Some of my favorite narrative based song-writers that inspired these lyrics and songs are like Alex Smith.
How did you all meet?
Our piano player, Hugo, started the band several years ago and he just threw out this ad on Craigslist and I was looking at the time - I had never been in a band before but I was writing music - and I just was looking for a band to join and he put something in the ad like 'looking for any sort of musicians to join' and so I met him at rehearsal and there were a bunch of different people there at the time and it was really just kind of he and I and another musician that stuck around. We just started writing music together and about a year later we got the rest of our band together, like our drummer, Thomas, and bass player, Mike, and we started laying down the tracks for our first single, "Hold Your Velocity". So that came out a couple years ago and we just stuck around since then and started playing shows and trying to become known while playing shows this year.
Any bands or musicians who have influenced your sound, personally?
Personally, yeah, a big influence for myself is John Darnielle from Mountain Goats; I really love his music: it's just narrative based and the writing in there is really, really cool. I like Bill Callahan and then, if you just listen to the sounds, like we're going for things that sounds big, like Arcade Fire. Mix of all that together.
How would you describe your sound, as a whole?
Big baroque, indie pop, indie folk music with up and front center piano.
Do you guys have any sort of tradition or pre-show ritual you go through?
Yeah, well, recently we've been playing a residency at The Echo in LA and right before the show we've all been getting pizza right down the street at Two Boots and right before sound check we'll get together and share a few slices of pizza there. Aside from shows, we also like to do a sort of band retreat- kind of like corporate retreats - where we get away from LA for the weekend; jam in a house in the woods or mountains.
What's the best part about performing?
Definitely just getting a thrill once you play that first chord of whatever song we're playing and getting the jitters out and just getting that reaction from the audience is a blast. It's kind of been a new thing for us, playing live, so it's great to hear a good response to the music.
Did you do a lot of shows before releasing this EP?
This year we played - before releasing the EP - we probably played about five shows throughout the summer. Most notably, we played some local shows in Santa Monica and Echo Park region and there was Echo Park Rising Festival and then we did more shows after the EP release.
If you could pick any, which artist or band would you choose to work with?
I think we're all big fans of Local Natives and have all seen their rise here in LA. I'm a big fan of theirs so that's definitely one artist and Andrew Bird would be awesome to play with.
Any current releases you've got on heavy rotation?
I've been listening to Spoon's latest album a lot, that one's really good; I just caught them live a couple months ago at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This one artist, Valerie June, she has this album, Pushin' Against A Stone; I just saw her live at this festival and have just been listening to that CD nonstop. I'm a big fan of this artist Emperor X; he just released this EP called The Orlando Sentinel - that one's pretty cool.
What do you want listeners to take away from your music?
I'd say that, definitely, when you play it, you wanna feel happy. We kind of put out a lot of energy in our songs so it's thoughtful music for sure, we want people to kind of dig into the lyrics and kind of listen to the song's story and whatnot, but also, at the same time, you should be able to just blast it in the car wherever you're going and get excited about it.