JBM: – Jesse Marchant Evokes The Haze of July

In his debut record titled, Not Even In July, singer-songwriter Jesse Marchant (a.k.a. JBM) instills a unique depth of emotion and feeling in his music.  Born in Canada, though having lived in Brooklyn and Los Angeles in recent years, JBM began writing songs at a young age and has crafted a record derived from personal experience and the familiarity with loss in his first release, which is out now on Partisan Records.  The longing and questioning is definitely evident on the tracks and there seems to be a reflective nature within the songs.    


Since early March, JBM has been out on the road supporting Rogue Wave, having traveled the country with Sondre Lerche though February.  Being out on the road has given Jesse the opportunity to meet new faces and he has thoroughly enjoyed spending time with  other musicians along with the friendship it creates.  While on tour on the west coast, Glide recently had a chance to speak with Jesse about his experience on the road and his new record.      


So Jesse, it seems like you’ve had a busy past couple of months.  How much have you enjoyed being out on the road touring the country?


It’s really enjoyable.  It’s a lot of comradery and friendship.  Seeing different places and meeting different people.  It’s really a pleasure.


Your debut record, Not Even in July, comes out April 13th on Partisan Records.  Does the essence of the record catch a specific time in your life, in terms of the whole feeling of it? 


Yeah, it kind of represents the period of my life over which I wrote those songs.  A lot of the songs were about people around, usually that were close to me.  It was a strange time in the sense that some of the people close to me were going through a difficult time.  And it was a bit of a weird time for me too, so it does all feel like it is under the haze of that period.  And when I think back on it, that period of time was definitely strange in terms of the way I felt throughout it.  So I do think this does encompass all of that.


And I definitely could feel different stages of emotion and climaxes on the record itself. 


Yeah, some people around me died and others who were sick.  A lot of it was painted under a dark veil like that so there’s a bit of that undertone.  A lot of it is reflected at looking beyond that. 


I read that it took just two weeks to record the album.  Can you talk about that process and experience?


We tried to record the rhythm stuff up front.  And we had very little time so we just did as many takes as we could until it felt like.  I did a lot of the overdubs myself and then we had some other musicians do other overdubs.  The recording sessions were really long.  We would go for 12-14 hours at a time, and it was all done at a church.  So it was definitely hectic at times, a lot of it was really hectic because of how little time there was and I had specific ideas of what I wanted to get done.  So when the time was running out it became somewhat stressful.  The recording and the mixing were done in sort of a rudimentary way, there was very little editing done.  We did most of it live. 


I felt like there was a pace to the record that almost gave me time to reflect on the music while listening.  Is there something that you leave unanswered for people to discover when listening to the music?


I think I’ve always written in ways that are specific and non-specific at the same time.  I think that’s the sort of song that has inspired me, and I was inspired to write that way.  And I think also that I could write something specific and gradually become more broad and general.  It’s not intentional.  But I do agree that that is how the songs are.  And I do like the idea of that. 


On several of the songs I felt like there was a subtle undercurrent theme of “the sea.”  Is there a sense of endlessness or questioning in the songs?


Yeah, like almost an existential element to it.  Those are definitely things that I think about a lot.  And specifically at the time I was thinking about those things a lot.  I actually was spending a lot of time by the ocean as well.  I was living in Los Angeles for some of the time and I would often drive out to the coast and take road trips a lot the ocean and just sit there for a while.  It was a good way for me to digest the things that were in my head.  There’s something about the openness that helped distill things at the same time.  Making you feel more lost than you already feel.  It kind of has a funny way of doing both of those things. 


So you’ve been on tour with Rogue Wave for about a month now.


Yeah, and then we had a few weeks off and just started up again last night. 


How have the shows been so far?


It’s been really great.  Last night was amazing.  We played a nice little theatre there.  And the shows have been really nice.  There were three of us on the bill because I ended up on this unexpectedly, so it’s not a super long set.  There are audiences that are very buried.  Sometimes it’s a real party crowd and those that can be more challenging.  Sometimes the audiences are really calm, quiet and really receptive.  Really connected, and that always makes for a great show.


Outside of music, what else do you enjoy doing during your free time while on tour?


Yeah, it depends, right now I’m in Oregon and it’s beautiful with the mountain ranges.  And we’re just waiting and hanging out.  Waiting to take a shower and then head out for dinner, maybe play a game of Frisbee before that.  These guys are big on Frisbee games and I like that a lot.  There’s a lot of hanging out and drinking and talking.  So its kind of old fashioned. 


Do you have any plans coming up for the summer?


I don’t really know what’s coming next, to be honest.  Things have all been coming as last minute.  There will probably be an outdoor festival or two.  If there ends up being down time I’ll just probably spend some time upstate and work on some new material.  I’m actually really interested in playing with other people and the possibilities with that.


Nick Gunther is an engineering student at Penn State and is a passionate music lover, photographer and avid concert reviewer. [email protected]

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