Interview: Jay Cobb Anderson of Fruition: Musician is “not a job for the faint of heart”

Fruition photographed in Lisbon Portugal on October 10, 2019 ©Jay Blakesberg

Fruition is a five-piece band from Portland that has shown itself to be quite prolific in recent years. In 2018, the band released Watching It All Fall Apart. In the last few months, the band has put out two companion releases entitled Wild as the Night and Broken at the Break of Day. By phone, Jay Cobb Anderson (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica) discussed the two companion releases, the new challenges for musicians in the age of Spotify, and what’s next for the band.

Americana Highways: You released two albums in about two or three months. What was the inspiration behind that?

Jay Cobb Anderson: We’re calling them companion releases. The reason why we spaced them the way we did was after years of doing the classic method of getting an album together and pushing that album all at once, it’s a new era. We wanted to release more content. We got the idea of releasing singles, which you can listen to on our Spotify, and also pressing 45s that you can buy at our shows. We decided to put out a seven-song release and then a couple months later, put out another seven-song release. We wanted to put out as much content as possible. The inspiration – obviously it’s kind of a night/day theme with Wild as the Night and Broken at the Break of Day. It was a natural thing. We had the right songs and the right vibe. When that idea came, we just went with it.

AH: Other artists have the same idea to release more content. Does that affect the way you work?

JCA: Kind of. We recorded it in two different pieces, but we also recorded some tracks for each release in those sessions. It felt like recording an album. Part of the main reason why is that we found out that with the Spotify algorithm, if you have seven songs, they consider that an album. You can get more than one song on your release considered for playlists. A lot of people discover new music like that. If you do six songs on Spotify, it’s not even considered an EP. It’s considered singles, and they’ll only consider one song for playlisting. That was part of it too, trying to get as much exposure as we can.

AH: You kind of touched on it, but how are Wild as the Night and Broken at the Break of Day different from each other?

JCA: What we were trying to do is to capture the whole spectrum of different feels and vibes that fit in a day category or a night category. For us as touring musicians, it’s completely different than your average person. The night is when we’re up and when the magic happens. The daytime is where you’re sitting in the van all day. You had a long night. You’re tired. You didn’t get a lot of sleep. Maybe you’re hungover. The day thing is more of a piecing stuff back together. It’s contemplative in a lot of ways that the night isn’t. The night has a party vibe. Specifically for our vision, we tried to connect what fits in those scenarios.

AH: How are the two companion albums different than what you’ve recorded previously?

JCA: With everything we’ve done in our 12 years in a band, each release is a step farther into a direction that is more of a complete us. We’ve grown really comfortable in our own skin, and each release is a piece that completes what Fruition is. It’s a continuation of what we do and who we are, and not so much as something different. I’m sure that when people listen to it, they’re going to find stuff that they think is a detour from our normal sound. I don’t think we have a normal sound. We do whatever we want. I like to think of it as a continuation of what we are. It’s definitely more rock and roll and soul. We’ve always been a rock and roll band, but as we get older, we’ve gotten more comfortable expressing that side of ourselves. If somebody’s listening to the old stuff, this could sound like a completely different band.

AH: What’s next for Fruition?

JCA: We just started our winter tour. I’m in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s snowing. In the immediate future, it’s going to be driving through the winter and keeping our fingers crossed that we make it to our destination and putting on the best show we can. Then it’s just going to be back to trying to release more music. That’s our goal – to be continuously releasing stuff.

AH: Is that a challenge?

JCA: Yes it is, especially when you’re touring. That’s why we started doing this 45 series. We can do that anytime we want. Just throw another single on our streaming services and press a 45. It’s really fun. We all love vinyl, so we’re pumped about having 45s.

AH: What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?

JCA: I have no idea. I worked a lot of jobs before I dove into being a professional musician. I love customer service jobs. I was a barista for a long time. That’s a fun job because it’s like you’re a bartender, but people aren’t drunk. You get to talk to people from different walks of life and have good conversations. I did some tree trimming in Idaho. I really loved being in different locations outside. But that can suck in the winter. The only way to be successful musically is to jump right in and not quit. It’s not a job for the weak of heart.

For more information about touring and releases, visit the band’s website.


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