Shaky Knees 2021 – Interview with Michigander

Michigander

This last spring, Michigander put out their fantastic new EP, Everything Will be Okay Eventually and then they waited. Over the course of numerous EPs and singles, Jason Singer, principal writer and creator of MIchigander has become known for his cinematic and uplifting writing style and his bittersweet lyrics. He met with us right after their set at Shaky Knees to talk about the last year, the new record and what’s next.

 

Atlanta Music Guide – John McNicholas

I was trying to describe Michigander to some friends, and the only thing I could think of to say was, “Everything’s pretty simple but it’s overwhelmingly joyous and then it’s also overwhelmingly sad at times,” and the video for the song “Better,” when that came out, it’s a little cheesy, it’s fun, it’s a little campy and then it hits like…

 

Michigander – Jason Singer

In the end it makes you cry. It made me cry and I knew it was coming.

 

AMG  

It wrecked me. 

 

Jason

Oh, good. Yeah, good. Good. 

 

VIDEO for Better – https://youtu.be/mq6wfxDP_rs 

 

AMG  

I didn’t see it coming. I saw the flowers and the portrait. I was like, “Oh, no.” It was an absolute gut punch. How did that come about? Was it the director’s idea? Was it your idea?

 

Jason 

I said, “My vibe is kind of Disney. It’s like, everybody likes Disney. Not everybody likes me but everybody likes Disney, and it’s fun. It’s accessible but Toy Story makes you cry.” So that’s, that’s kind of what I wanted, that’s kind of what I set out to do.

 

AMG  

Your new record, Everything Will be Okay Eventually, came out in March of this year? What was it like to have a record come out with the way everything is? Were you able to celebrate its release?

 

Jason 

That’s a good question, honestly. I remember, I put the record out and normally we have like a big hometown show and a tour and we just did this live stream. I was like, yeah this kinda sucks. It was kind of sad. I mean, it was kind of, I don’t know, it was… I’m thankful that I got to put something out during everything but I also feel like we were putting it out kind of at the tail end of the worst of it, and things kind of suck sometimes and it still will probably continue to suck occasionally. It’s not the most original thought but, I hope these songs are the soundtrack to the return to normal. I hope when people hear these songs five years from now, hopefully 10 years from now. Fingers crossed. People think, “Oh, I heard (the song) ‘Let Down’ in Kroger and that was like, when we didn’t have to wear a mask in Kroger if you didn’t want to and that was cool. Or like, you know, that kind of stuff was on the radio or something like that and I want people to think about… I have songs, I’m sure you have songs and albums you like… “I listened to that album when I was in high school driving back to school every day” or whatever. “I was driving to visit my friends on the other side of the state and I always listen to that John Mayer album” or whatever.  I just hope my songs kind of have that same impact with people that those other artists have had on me.

 

AMG 

I think a lot of times, for better or for worse, people associate their favorite artists and songs with tragic times and with joyous times. I think your music has this natural sweet and sour to it.

 

Jason  

That’s great, that’s great. It’s bittersweet in a good way. 

 

AMG  

The bitter sweetness, is that just “you” or is that something you really work to craft?

 

Jason  

It’s literally just me. I think this is how I am and I just want my tunes, more and more so than they were maybe five years ago, to be an honest reflection of what’s going on between my ears and in my brain. And as I’m getting older… For so long, I felt my identity was really wrapped up in the band and stuff, and as I’m getting older now, I’m engaged and I’m moving and all this stuff in my life is changing and I have a niece, and all this stuff is just like, I am a lot more than this tune, a lot more than the music and the “Michigander guy.”  So, I’m hoping that that continues to be something, because it makes me in such a happier, better place. I can care about other people more because I care about myself more.

 

AMG

Ultimately, that is the most important thing. Do you ever worry that being happy will impact how you write?

 

Jason 

Yeah, it’s harder to write happy songs. I haven’t written as truthfully. I haven’t written as many songs. It’s harder to write. But, it’s okay. I prefer it. It’s better for me. I need to care about me.

 

AMG  

I love the fact that you put out little singles and EPs and it’s not like a three year wait between records or even a year between records. You’ve always got something new. Is that something you do consciously or are you just trying to keep stuff out in the world because you’re creative, or..?

 

Jason  

If it was up to me I’d put it out sooner. I have a label. They determine when stuff gets out. Which is good. It’s good. They know what they’re doing most of the time… So, I wish I could put out more music more frequently. We’re putting out some music in December. We’re putting out a really, really cool thing in February, and then, and another EP in the next year. Like next summer. So, I’m hoping there’s a lot more happening. 

 

AMG  

During the first year or so did you find you had more time to write? Were you more inspired or less inspired?

 

Jason  

I was very inspired at first, then, nothing. I learned how to play video games. That’s really what happened. First, I was like, “Sick, I have a month off! I’m gonna write a ton of music. Everything will be better in a month or two!” We’re still gonna play live, don’t worry, and those things, they were just, they were just like tripwires. I’m just walking through and boom, boom… it sucked.

 

AMG  

Three or four months ago it felt like things might be getting back to normal again, and then the whole Delta thing…

 

Jason  

Yeah, it’s weird. I worked on tunes I already had. We were planning to release Everything Will be Okay Eventually in the fall. So, there was a version of it that was done, and then I was thinking, we have a lot more time. Let’s just continue to work on it. So, all the little samples and programming things and all the little ear candy just got added in over time.

 

AMG  

Were you in Kalamazoo at that time?

 

Jason  

I lived in Kalamazoo during the pandemic and I moved to Detroit in February. I lived there until right before the tour and I decided, I don’t want to pay rent anywhere. I want to be on the road. I’m kind of bouncing between Nashville and Michigan. My fiancé lives in Nashville. 

 

AMG 

Looking forward to seeing any of the bands here this weekend?

 

Jason 

I’m excited to see Phoebe Bridgers, then we’re hitting the road to Nashville.

 

Links

Website – https://www.michiganderband.com 

By John McNicholas

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