You think we’d know Jared Putnam by now.
Over the course of three “impressively hooky” (American Songwriter) albums, five “completely clever” (Performer Magazine) EPs, numerous singles, and a batch of cover songs in a mere half-decade, Putnam’s mostly one-man project The March Divide has delivered a seemingly unending stream of songs that have established the San Antonio-based artist as one of the best rock songwriters working today.
Putnam’s upcoming fourth The March Divide album is Anticipation Pops (Aug. 24th, Slow Start Records) and is his best work to date, mostly because the ten songs here reveal a greater emotional depth, along with performances, and lyrics, that go beyond anything that Putnam has offered up before. Perhaps his near-manic recording and touring schedule was prologue that has led to the relatable sensitivity that is this album.
Recording at home on the fly, and skipping his usual demo and pre-production process, has allowed Putnam to maintain a spontaneous feeling that informs these songs, and obviously kept him from overthinking lyrics or anything else that stood in the way of a group of tunes that could be called “raw” if Putnam wasn’t so good at producing himself and if the word “raw” didn’t scream “under produced.”
That is to say: These songs sound great. Today Glide is premiering the tune “I Don’t Care”, a snappy two-minute burst of pop goodness. Over a simple beat Putnam offers his vulnerable yet empowered vocals before letting the chorus bloom into a catchy and euphoric sound. The song is simple and seems to end as soon as it begins, never wearing out its welcome and leaving you wanting more. Ultimately, it displays Putnam’s unique ability to write infectious and sharply crafted morsels of pop.
Putnam elaborates on this idea with his own commentary:
“I think there’s something really special about a two minute pop song, it’s like a shot of adrenaline. Writing a song like that is like a flash. When my old band was being shopped to the major labels, all those years ago, the guy we were working with would always say, “It’s better to leave them wanting more, than having had enough.’ As the opening track, ‘I Don’t Care’ really sets the tone for the new album. It’s definitely not complicated lyrically, and it’s not supposed to be. It’s a slow build of liberation and confidence, expressed in two minutes. I made this record with the attitude: “This is what I’m doing, take it or leave it.”
LISTEN to the song and read our chat with Jared Putnam below…
You’ve mentioned that you want to get away from the “emo revival” with Anticipation Pops. How is this record different from the others you’ve released over the past few years?
It was really flattering that the press lumped me in with the “emo revival,” but for me, it wasn’t at all intentional, it was really more circumstance. At the time, Mike Hernandez, the drummer from my old band, The Conversation was playing with me. I think we just got caught up in the nostalgia of playing together, and went that direction with the songs I was writing. It’s definitely fair to say that “Billions” fits that narrative, it doesn’t get more emo than that, & “Saturdays,” too. But, that’s not what I want out of this project; I set out for The March Divide to be an experiment in pop. I’m not out to reinvent the wheel, I just want to reinvent myself. I think I’ve done that, with this new record.
The songs on Anticipation Pops seem more candid and personal than your previous work. Do you agree and if so, how did you approach going deeper on these songs?
I do agree, I had a pretty tough year, while writing these songs. My mom died pretty suddenly. We had had a falling out and hadn’t talked in nearly ten years. So, I spent a lot of time replaying all of that in my head, and if I was okay with how things were left. I’m not the type that shares anything, with anyone; I typically just bottle these things up, write a song about it, and move on. Which is what I did. Because of all that, there are some real emotional extremes on the album.
You recently co-founded Slow Start Records to release Anticipation Pops, as well as signing fellow Texas bands Sleepspent and Sorrytown. What motivated you to launch a record label in this day and age?
That was a pretty crazy thing to do, right? My friend Luis Mota and I had each tossed the idea around, and that conversation went on for almost two years, before we decided to actually do it, hence the name. Our individual experience in the business, I think really complements the other. Luis is a tour manager, talent buyer, band manager, and he’s run and owned several venues. I’ve been putting out music for years on labels and independently, so I’ve had a lot of experience working with distributors and labels, seeing what does and doesn’t work. There are a lot of really talented people out there that Luis and I just wanted to get involved with and help, so that’s what we’re hoping to do. Our first release was an EP for Sleepspent, a newer shoegaze band that Luis was already working with. Sorrytown is a more established sort of indie rock band, that’s been putting out some pretty awesome records. We’ve picked up their past releases, and look forward to releasing their next album, sometime next year. We’re excited about where we’re going and who we’re working with.
You’re on tour pretty much non-stop. Between being a performing singer-songwriter, touring artist, label co-owner, and husband and father, how do you juggle it all, and what’s one key piece of advice you’d give to someone aspiring to do the same?
Juggling is a great way to describe it, I honestly just try to do the best I can, with all of it. My family definitely is what keeps me focused, and I couldn’t do it without my wife’s help and support. We have a family calendar that I live and die by. Today, I’m on tour, and will be gone through the 18th, but according to the calendar, on the 19th, we’re taking our kid to see the new ‘Incredibles’ movie. My partner at Slow Start tour manages some pretty big bands, currently Russian Circles, so he’s all over the world, all the time. We’re never in the same room, but we schedule regular calls, and have endless conversations on Facebook messenger, to stay on top of everything. I guess the best advice I can give to someone, is to not lose sight of why you’re doing it. Take a step back, focus on the things that matter, and let go of the rest.