Dec 1, 2010

Featured Artist interview: Pawn Shop Saints (E46)

 About: Pawn Shop Saints from Adams, Massachusetts

"Original co-front men, Jeb Barry and Mike O'Neill, for the 1980s-1990s power pop group The Typicals are back after several years of solo projects with the Americana-folk-alt country group, Pawn Shop Saints.
Playing their self-described "New England Americana" that has a harder feel and less of a bluegrass influence than most Americana genres. With a new batch of dozens of new songs, PSS began performing and recording in June 2010.
After working on solo projects the past decade, the two reunited in March of 2010 to form Pawn Shop Saints, an Americana folk group centered around the award winning songwriting of Barry and O'Neill.
Barry has written over 3000 songs in his career and has had over 10,000 downloads and listens from his solo efforts. O’Neil is a multi- instrumentalist, songwriter, and studio owner.
The result is a sparse, melodic, acoustic sound not often heard in the contemporary Americana genre.
All recording were done live in Mike’s basement studio with little or no overdub. Often the songs are recorded live with two microphones, usually in one take, and they include mistakes and all are included.
No computers, Pro Tools, or Auto tuners are used, nor will they ever be. What you hear is a realness often missing from so many current artists."


1). Do you have a phobia? If yes - what?
I have no phobias at all, and no one else in the group has any obvious ones. We do dislike many things, like songs with drums mixed up too high, bad beer, and crappy PA’s

2). If you wouldn't have become an artist, what would you be?
A factory worker….if I could ever find a job in the U.S. today doing that type of work.

3). What is your "formula for success"?
Keep it sparse and simple, and write songs that a catchy, yet direct. We also focus on not overplaying a song. We don’t need to show off our musical skills, or promote our lack of such. It’s about the emptiness in the music.
We also try to keep the songs bare boned. All are acoustic based, sparse, and as simple as possible. It’s easy to cover up a poorly written songs with piled on instruments and overdubs, but good songs are those that you can play on an acoustic and they still that ‘smack you in the face’ effect.

4). If you had a chance to perform a live concert in any of these 3 countries: India, Congo, Iraq - what would it be and why?
Iraq….they have great instruments such as the oud, and their use of empty space in traditional Iraqi music is awesome, as s their compositional aspects. Modern Iraqi pop is not as inspiring.

5). If you started a social networking project/website, what would you call it?
WhoCares.com…for all the people who don’t care what you had for lunch again today.

Listen to: Pawn Shop Saints - Coal Miner's Love Song

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