Jimmy Gnecco of OURS Chats with HEAR Magazine
By Kevin Tshiamala
Jimmy Gnecco is a singer; writer, multi-instrumentalist, as well as front man for the versatile alternative rock band OURS. He and his band have gained worldwide critical acclaim through the singer’s dynamic voice and songwriting style, as is evident on their most recent release Ballet the Boxer 1 from 2013. I caught up with Jimmy shortly after his run with Lana Del Rey. Check out the interview below.
Jimmy Gnecco: So are you in Detroit right now?
Hear Magazine: Yup, I’m in Detroit, where are you about?
Jimmy Gnecco: I’m home in Jersey.
Hear Magazine: Was the last Lana show in Detroit?
Jimmy Gnecco: Nope, it was at Red Rocks.
HM: Amazing, how was it?
JG: It was great. It’s just rare that things go that well. The whole tour was just great.
HM: I can imagine. So you played here in Detroit at the Masonic Temple. How was that experience and do you have any feelings towards the current state of Detroit?
JG: All around for me it was a pretty moving experience… The crowd was just insane… I go to Detroit a lot. I spent some time there doing photo shoots and video shoots. They’re working on restoring a lot of buildings. It’s beautiful, but it’s too cold for me.
HM: Being in a band and having a solo career can’t be easy. How has your solo career differed from that with your band? Do they fully support you in your solo endeavors?
JG: The dynamic within the group has always been loving and extremely supportive of what I do and [they’re] happy to be a part of it. They were with me on the trip, most of them. They just want to come and help, they’ll carry stuff. To me that’s deep because that’s the way that I am. That’s the way I’ve always been. We help each other at our shows. We’ll rush the stage, carry the gear, whatever. That’s just the way we are as a group. It’s mutual respect. I respect what everyone has to offer when they’re around and when they’re a part of it.
HM: I hear plenty of times that people had a specific person who has helped them fine tune their voice, what is your particular story in finding your voice??
JG: Well I started as a guitar player and I became a singer because people would come up with excuses why they couldn’t sing and it’s just natural at that young age. Oh I have laryngitis or whatever it is. So I got pushed up to it by the rest of my band at that time. I didn’t want to do it, but I went up and I’ve never given the microphone back. I just love it. So that was around thirteen – fourteen years old. By sixteen and then eighteen is when I really started finding my legs and it started to click… then I fell in love with K.D. Lang. I spent so much time listening to K.D. as well as everything else that I had grown up on, but K.D. had a perfect voice. She had so much emotion, but so much control. She also had an aching feel in her voice that I admired. So around eighteen or nineteen is when it really began.
HM: With OURS you guys decided to use a Kickstarter program for your last album. It is clear that the state of the recording industry is changing and many bands are finding less and less use for a Record Label due the accessibility of doing it themselves. How do you see this trend continuing and do you believe there will still be a need for Record labels in the future?
JG: That’s a tough one because if you have a label that’s willing to put millions of dollars into your project and put your billboard up in Times Square or all around the world then it might make sense for you to be on a label. They’re going to give you the budget to make the record that you want to make with the producer you want to work with and in the studio where you want to make it, so then it might make sense to be on a label. For many bands because bills have gone down, it just doesn’t make business sense to be on a label anymore. What they’re getting out of it just doesn’t make sense to give up what we have to give up. If you’re a band like Elbow, who I love, and you can sell 100,000 records at $10 a piece, why would you want to be on a label?
HM: You have worked on many different things such as film and commercials as well as worked with people such as Savoy and Brian May. What’s next for you? What do you have in the works?
JG: I’ve just been writing and working on songs like crazy. We’re going to make the second part of the record with OURS at some point, but I think in the meantime I’m going to focus my energy on making another solo record. Not an acoustic one. It will be a completely different record than what most people are probably expecting from me.
HM: What advice would you give to up and coming artists (not specific to music)?
JG: I would want them to be clear about what it is that they want out of this whole experience of being a musician, artist, or performer. Try to pin point exactly what it is that you want and work your ass off for it. Stay true to it. Try to have a strong backbone with what it is that you like and don’t be easily swayed by what people want from you. Figure out what it is that you like and try to achieve that. Also, work on your craft, like really work on it. Computers and technology are really exciting, but be a real player, be a real singer. At the end of the day your skill is what you’re going to fall back on.
HM: Any shout outs you’d like to make?
JG: I guess I should address the most recent events of my life, speaking of Lana Del Rey. I just want to say, what an amazing woman for putting me on those shows. Keep a warm place in your heart for Lana because what she did putting me on those shows, I’ll love her forever for it. What courage to do that. People might not understand why and maybe one day we can talk about why, but I’m just going to say, what a woman. So thank you. Give her as much love as you can give her.
For more information please visit OURS’ official website: http://www.toolshed.biz/artists/5575
For social media please visit: https://www.facebook.com/oursmusic