Interview w/ Jenny & Tyler About Their Album "Faint Not"
Jenny & Tyler are a married couple/indie artists who recently released an album called, Faint Not. We had a chance to interview them recently. Hope you enjoy it...
1. Congratulations on the release of your third album, "Faint Not". You've described it as a bit of concept album. Did it start out that way? What is the story you are sharing through it?
Thanks so much. Yes, Faint Not developed into a bit of a concept album somewhere along the way. We didn’t intend for it to happen, it just sort of did. In the past we’ve had trouble shaking some sort of perceived pressure to have to write songs about certain things or fit into some sort of mold. This time around we decided to just write honest songs.
We ended up with an album that basically tells the story of our faith journey. The first track, Song For You is about the Lord’s pursuit of us even before we’re aware of Him or when we don’t want to be pursued. The next track, This is Just so Beautiful is about believing in Jesus for the first time. Songs about disillusionment, brokenness, love, and assurance follow. The last track, Anchored in Love, is an old Carter Family song that we felt summed up the album perfectly. It’s about resting in the Lord and finding peace in Him. Basically Faint Not chronicles the really high highs and really low lows of our journey over the past year and a half.
2. Confession: The day I received "Faint Not", I listened to it easily three times. It is at once both familiar and unique. What artists (secular or otherwise) inform your sound?
We are so glad that you are enjoying the record! Lately we’ve been listening to a lot of Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, John Mark McMillan, and Sandra McCracken. We also really love Coldplay, Derek Webb, and Andy Davis. Our early influences vary. Tyler’s dad is a professional jazz pianist. Tyler grew up listening to jazz, but he was also very influenced by James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkle. Jenny grew up listening to bluegrass and country music. It’s a bit of a hodge podge of music really.
3. What is each of your role in the songwriting process? Does your role change from song-to-song? How do you determine which of you takes the vocal lead in a given song or portion of a song?
We’re both writers and the process is different for us individually. Tyler always has a song, whether it’s a melody or lyric, going on in his head. Jenny is more of a sporadic writer, meaning she writes a couple songs a month. Usually one of us starts a song and at some point brings it to the other for help with the finishing touches.
Generally, whoever writes the majority of the song takes the lead vocal. This isn’t always true. For example, Tyler wrote most of the title track Faint Not, but Jenny sings lead. It’s really just about whose voice suits the song best.
4. "Carry Me" is a standout track, both personal and worshipful. Can you tell us how the song was written? How did Mac Powell ( Third Day) come to be involved?
I (Jenny) wrote Carry Me at my favorite coffee shop in Nashville. I was sipping an almond latte and journaling when the verses came to me. I realized that morning that I’d really screwed up a lot. At the same time, I knew that the Lord had forgiven me. I also knew that I was going to screw up a lot more and the Lord was going to keep on forgiving. I was and am still in great need of a Savior. Carry Me is really just my cry out to the Lord that morning.
We had the great honor of opening for Mac Powell a couple of years ago in Wilmington, DE (our home town!). A local church brought Mac in for a mens’ conference and solo show, and needed a cheap opener. We were delighted to play. Jenny’s been listening to Third Day since they released their debut album in 1996. Mac was incredibly humble and gracious to us. We kept in touch and when we were working on Carry Me Tyler suggested asking Mac to sing the bridge. Turns out it never hurts to ask!
5. You actually filmed a video for the title cut (it looked cold, by the way). How did that video get made?
The video for Faint Not was so much fun (and so cold!) to film. We took our videographer friend Nathaniel Schweinberg on the road with us for a week; hence the live show footage. While we were traveling we formulated a plan for the video.
We scheduled the shoot for an evening in early January. When we heard that Nashville was supposed to get 3 inches of snow the week before the shoot we knew we had to take advantage of it. We did our best to reschedule the shoot according to the weather forecast, and lo’ and behold, it started snowing just when we needed it. The shoot began at 11pm and ended at 3:30am. We were soaked through and chilled to the bone but it was definitely worth it.
6.I understand that percussion shows up in a unique way when the two of you perform live. Would you share that with our readers?
Tyler has always been a foot stomper. For a while we actually put a microphone to the floor so that the sound would make its way out to the audience. Tyler’s dad went to a house show in Portland, OR and saw a drummer who carried all of his drums in a suitcase and used the suitcase itself as the kick drum.
We loved the idea, so Tyler searched for the perfect hard shell suitcase to convert into a drum. The end result is a suitcase with a blanket stuffed inside and a bass drum pedal attached to one side. It works really well for us and we actually do use it to carry things like guitar stands. Tyler jokes that if the music doesn’t work out he’ll go into business manufacturing suitcase kick drums.
7. Tell me about "Stop Staring At Me", the last track on the album. There has to be a story (or stories) behind it.
We were married very young and looked even younger. All of the lines from the verses of that song are things that were actually said to us. On the night of Jenny’s bachelorette party a woman really did approach her and ask if her mother knew where she was. And two older women at one of our shows really did say that they would kill themselves if their twenty-something daughters were to get engaged or married.
We thought it was funny that people didn’t realize how rude their comments were. One day after being bombarded with questions about whether or not she was sixteen and had a baby, thus being forced into an early marriage, Jenny came home a bit fed up. We channeled her aggravation into a tongue in cheek song about being married young. We’re coming up on our 4th anniversary and while we still look young, people aren’t rude to us anymore.
8. A question that we ask at the end of all All About Worship interviews this year: if you couldn't do music for a living, what would you be doing?
We have degrees in English (Jenny) and business (Tyler). If we couldn’t do music, we would probably live in California and Tyler would be involved in some sort of surfer ministry. Jenny loves coffee and baking and Tyler is a master bread baker. We might open our own coffee shop/bakery. Maybe we’d line the walls with bookshelves filled with classic literature as a nod to Jenny’s English background.
A special thanks to Jenny and Tyler for taking the time to share with us. Check out their music video, "Faint Not", referenced in this interview.