Catch up with country pop-rock duo Towne (Steevie Steeves and Jon Decious) and watch the video for their single "Runnin' Into You" from their debut EP, Games We Play, out now.
What got you interested in starting Towne?
Jon: Oh, wow. How much time've you got? Really, everything with Steevie and I was so natural. It started when we met randomly at this songwriters guild out in Wyoming and we learned that we were neighbors; so we're 1700 miles away from home, we found out we were neighbors, we got to be best friends, and we got back to Nashville and started writing songs. We were playing these songwriter nights, just out and around town, and they kind of get boring, but it's something you just have to do. So, we figured, as long as we're going to be bored, we might as well be bored together. So we started playing the songs that we would write together and we started playing out at these songwriter nights and people kept asking us, 'hey, what's you band name, where's y'alls CD, how do I find you online?' questions like that that you'd ask a band, and we were like, 'well, we're not really a band'. Eventually, when you hear something enough, you're like, 'well, alright, maybe we should start a band,' and that's what led us to having a band together and making records and things like that. It was a very natural process.
Steevie: Yeah, I second that [laughs].
Which musicians would you say that you have been influenced by?
Steevie: Oh, man, we're all over the place, for sure. I gravitate towards the heavy hitter women, those rocker chicks. I was really big into Heart - the Wilson sisters - and really big into The Cranberries and Alanis Morissette and, as far as songwriters, Carole King and just people that were totally badass but I could relate to. Linda Ronstadt, big fan of hers, too. They definitely had a big influence on me. And, obviously, Jon and I together, we have a mutual love and respect for Fleetwood Mac.
Jon: I've actually got a pretty funny story that helps sum all that up. So, Steevie had all of the stuff that she was super into that maybe I'd never heard or maybe that I had never given too much thought to, and I was the same way: I was a huge fan of The Stones and The Beach Boys and The Clash - I could go on and on and on with people that I'm fans of - and she had never really given them too much of a second thought. And, I'll never forget it, we were at my place on 8th Avenue at my apartment and I had just moved in and I didn't have much besides a futon couch and a record player and a big stack of records and she was going through my records, like, 'what the fuck is this, what the fuck is that?' [laughter] but the one that she stopped at, she said, 'oh my god, I love Rumours,' and I was like, 'oh my god, I love Rumours, too!'. And so we just listened to Rumours for the next week because that's the only thing we could agree on at that time.
Steevie: Well, he knew every word to every song - and so did I - and you know how people are like, 'oh, I love Fleetwood Mac!' and you're like, 'okay, whatever, you don't really'? You know, if you don't know all the words to something, it's hard for me to believe that you actually love it. But, word for word man, we were going at it. It was almost like a competition, like, what's the words to every song. It was good to find somebody that had a love for what you did, too.
Which words would you use to describe your own sound?
Jon: That's a hard one. Personally, because that's all I can speak for, I never really describe our sound to people, it's mostly people describing it to us, because all it sounds like to me is Jon and Steevie.
Steevie: Yeah, and it's definitely, we get it all the time, it's very honest. Honest is a good word to describe our music.
Jon: We get OneRepublic and we get Fleetwood Mac from people and people are always saying Lady Antebellum. We hear from other people and it's never one thing or the other, for sure, but they always just say, 'I've never heard anything that really sounds like you guys,' which I think is a huge compliment.
Steevie: Yeah, it's like an emotional rollercoaster. Which is kind of what our lives are like [laughs].
Jon: It's like The Young and The Restless.
Steevie: It can be a challenge [to describe our sound] but our music is very reflective of our own personal experiences. We get it a lot, it's very honest and emotional and our harmonies are a little bit unique and we just try to lyrically present ourselves in the best way possible, kind of what we strive for.
What were your inspirations for your single and the video for "Runnin' Into You"?
Steevie: "Runnin' Into You", that was an easy video for us to do. Jon and I had dated for a small portion of our relationship together and we became exes, obviously; we're best friends now and we get along fine, but that song, once again, we pulled from our own personal life and we have to run into each other, pretty much, every single minute of the day [laughs]. But, we have a pretty good hold on it, we imagine that most people don't. "Runnin' Into You" was, we were just trying to portray that in the video, what we do daily: we're writing songs all the time but we write together and the whole song is based off of our lives, pretty much.
Jon: We have to see our exes every day.
Steevie: Yeah. We do [laughs].
Could you tell us more about your debut EP, Games We Play?
Jon: Again, it kind of goes back to our lives and the journey that we've had together, which has been very bizarre on a lot of levels, but I think relatable on a lot of other ones. We were making this record and thinking about what songs to choose and we wound up with these. We had this batch of songs and it really felt good, because it felt like a story that maybe a lot of people were living, but not a lot of people were talking about. Whether you have to see your ex, work with your ex, or just whatever's happening in our lives, I think is probably happening in a lot of other lives, but that story's not getting told very often, I don't think - or at least, I haven't heard it if it is.
Steevie: Mhmm. It's easy, when you live in Nashville, to fall in the cracks of the same old sound. I think a lot of people are sounding the same in country music and being very pigeonholed. We definitely didn't fit in with that mainstream, but we still have really great songs, so we definitely wanted to have our own style and our own take and, luckily, our producer let us have a say, creatively, on the whole project - and will in the future, as well. We definitely don't want to conform to any certain style that isn't us.
Jon: Yeah. And that's maybe going back to your original question. We get asked a lot, how did we come up with the band name Towne? Honestly, in Nashville, we're kind of like a band without a country: we're not Americana and we're not mainstream country radio, so we're kind of just somewhere floating on the river that runs between East and West Nashville and that's where we're coming from. We think that there's a lot of space in between those two extremities and we're like, well, let's just be that, because that's who we are. We're not super duper pop and we're not super duper broken down Americana or any of that, so we're just Jon and Steevie, right in the middle.
Steevie: We're in town.
Jon: We're in town, we're not in the city or the country, we're in town.
Is there a track off of that record you would call your favorite?
Steevie: We actually just shot a music video for a song off the EP called "The One I Love" and it is one of my favorites to perform and I think that the video is really going to make people think. It's got a great concept and there's a lot of depth to it and it's kind of my favorite right now, but it always changes. Jon sings a song, it's the last track on the EP ["The Rest"], and it's one of those showstoppers for us 'cause he takes the lead, vocally, and it's a non-love song, but it's a love song. Which is how a lot of our songs are [laughs]. We talk about love a lot. But, that's my favorite to perform, just because I get to hear Jon do all the work [laughs]. It's a good song.
Jon: I kind of like them all. I really like the song "Messed Up", personally, because it was a song that we had just, pretty much, got the idea for when we went into the studio and we didn't know how it was going to turn out and I think it surpassed all of our expectations and I just love when that happens. I love them all, but if I had to pin one down over the other, I'd probably say that, just for that reason.
Could you sum up Games We Play in one sentence?
Jon: Hmm, yes. Low maintenance, high standards.
Steevie: We've been saying that a lot. We actually want to come out with a T-shirt that says that. 'Cause Jon and I we're always on the road and it's usually the two of us in a shitty car...
Jon: Well, the whole story came from something Steevie said. She was talking about something and she got frustrated and she says, 'dammit! I might be low maintenance, but I've got high standards,' and we just laughed.
Steevie: 'Cause the songs came from a very real, honest part of our lives and it's just me and him on a guitar, for the most part, but when we went into the studio, we said, 'let's make this the best it can possibly be on a beer budget,' which is what we did. We're definitely low maintenance with high standards, that's it, that's how our music is.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
Jon: I just hope that they like it enough to keep listening.
Steevie: We have a bizarre story, but we're pretty average people stuck in a bizarre world and we happen to have a handle on it enough to where we can write out our feelings that maybe most people don't have the nerve to do themselves. I think it's great therapy to feel like you're not alone when you think you're in a chaotic place in your life or whatever. Hopefully, people can sit and listen and relate to it and connect and come along with us on our journey, because it's about to get bigger and we got a lot more shit to say [laughs].
Jon: Steevie never runs out of shit to say.
Is there anything you want to add?
Jon: Check out our EP, check out our socials and our website, and just be sure to keep an eye out for us when we're on the road and come see us when we're in your town.
Steevie: When Towne comes to town.
Jon: That's right.