Monday, February 19, 2007

Unwed Sailor Interview

With history that is quite extensive, Jonathon Ford’s work in music goes all over the place, stylistically and geographically. From the Heartland to the West Coast, and from the Midwest to the East Coast, Jonathon Ford has seen it and most likely played it. His most notable project though would have to be Unwed Sailor, a mostly instrumental band that seems to be driven by his instrument of choice, the bass. Beautiful, Calming and Erratic, Unwed Sailor has a way literally making you feel the music. Their live shows capture also that same vibe, and with the amount that they tour, you have plenty of chances to see them too. Despite their busy schedule, which includes touring and recording, Jonathon Ford was nice enough to answer a few questions for us…

Unwed Sailor's last two releases ("The White Ox", and the "Circles" EP) seem to be in a different direction than some of your previous works. What is in store with "Little Wars"?

I want "Little Wars" to be more of a rock record. A rock record with many forms of "rock". Light rock with feedback & distortion.

How does the songwriting process start for an Unwed Sailor album?

I will start off with some guitar ideas or bass ideas that I have come up with while messing around on those instruments. Then we go in the studio and just let it happen. Let the music appear before us. Sometimes I am a little more prepared, like when we recorded "The Faithful Anchor". Other times we go in and have no idea what will happen. A good example of that would be "Circles" and "The White Ox". 85% of that record happened on the spot in the studio.

With being on tour so much, how does that effect the line-up of the band?

Unwed Sailor's lineup has always been changing. At this point i have a permanent guitar player(Aaron Hamby), and a permanent keyboard player(Brooks Tipton). I am still searching for a permanent touring drummer.

This is a little off subject (it goes back, I promise), but when Roadside Monument got back together a few years ago, I saw you almost murder your Bass during "S.R.B." at the end of the set. How would you describe the energy of an Unwed Sailor show to someone who hasn't been and knows you from your previous projects?

Unwed Sailor puts off an "honest" energy live. We all truly love this music, and we would not do it if we did not love it. When we play a show we look at it as an event, an experience for everyone involved...audience and band members. Things can be aggressive at times, things can be mellow at times. It's all about what is happening in the moment. Our job is to guide the moment and read it correctly.

How do you decide if a song needs vocals or not?

Well, I tend to lean towards an Unwed Sailor song not needing vocals. Dan Burton(engineer for The White Ox, The Faithful Anchor & Circles), suggested I put vocals on "The White Ox". "Pelican", for instance, originally had vocals, but i decided to take them off...mostly because I did not like my vocal take. I really like using vocals for non-lyrical purposes....just using them to make sounds and melodies. You will hear that on "Little Wars".

How do you decide/go about picking out the artwork for your releases?

I tend to let ideas come to me. Whether it be songs or artwork. I have found that when I try to find something, it's alot harder to get that inspiration. If I just wait for it to come to me, then it all comes together. It has been an honor to work with artists like Jamie Hunt(The Marionette & The Music Box), and James Marsh(The White Ox & Circles). These guys are just great artists who really made Unwed Sailor's music come alive.

Having been involved with a few bands that people have taken note of (Roadside Monument, Raft of Dead Monkeys, Pedro The Lion, Decahedron, etc.), is there anything we need to be looking out for from ex-members of those bands that we might not yet know of?

Doug Lorig from Roadside Monument has a band called "Patrol" now. I am such a fan of Doug's guitar really comes out in "Patrol". Of course, Dave Bazan of Pedro the Lion is still going strong. He is doing his own records now. Shelby Cinca from Decahedron is doing a band called "The Cassettes" on Buddyhead records. The Cassettes have been touring alot lately.

Before closing, is there anything you would wish to add or want our readers to know?

If you are interested in hearing our music online, you can go to or Thanks for listening!

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