When Things Click: An Interview with Bobby Jones ’07
Bobby Jones ’07 mixes music and poetry in a new, collaborative album.
Bobby Jones ’07 has been making music for as long as he can remember: “Music has always been a part of my life. Always, always.” On May 21st, 2012, Jones released his newest album, entitled From These Hands, under the name I’ve Lost. The album also includes the vocal talents of PNCA’s writer-in-residence, Barry Sanders.
Jones collaborated with his publisher, Leonardo Rosado of Heart and Soul (a sublabel of Feedback Loop), to experiment with integrating spoken word and illustration with music. The two worked in tandem: as Jones worked on the album, he sent it back to Leonardo who wrote poetry in response the music.
The resulting poem, “I Am All Things Yet To Be Shaped,” was read by Barry Sanders and can be heard on the fifth track of the album.
For Jones, the decision to work with Sanders was simple: “I’ve known Barry for years,” Jones said. “He always had a quality to his voice that sounded very warm.”
Some people, Jones said, describe his work as “ambient guitar stuff,” and it’s easy to see why. Jones’ music is subtle, meandering, and understated. Jones explains that his work is often an “experimental loop, with new notes based on old notes fading, like memories.”
After further listening, however, one can hear Jones’ quietly sophisticated improvisational touch. Rosado, Jones’ publisher, adds that “I once wrote that you could see right through Bobby Jones by listening to his music. Laying bare his emotions so deeply that you instantly get the feeling that you know him for several years. A quality that is not easily achievable by everyone.”
He continues, describing Jones’ music as “a guitar working its way towards deep emotional fields, delicate and at the same time unstoppable. [He] crafts his music building in tension slowly but decisively.”
From These Hands is a departure for Jones in that it incorporates other mediums: poetry and illustration. “I’m playing with idea of sound,” Jones explains, “and there are many ways to deal with sound, to transmit information. In film studio music, for example, the film’s soundtrack can steer you. It can confirm or undermine what you’re seeing visually. Combining sound and image is a far more powerful experience.”
Jones recalls a conversation he had with Rosado: “You can try to join in on what everyone else is doing or you can try to stand out and be different. We decided to be different.”
Jones grappled with the dilemma of the modern music industry and decided that instead of releasing an infinite number of cheap copies, he would release the album as if it were a fine art, limited run of prints.
“One of the few powers of an artist is deciding who my audience is going to be,” Jones said. “The people who are going to hear those layers [of his music] are typically other artists. I had that in mind.”
The album, From These Hands, allows only a hundred digital views. Jones and Rosado, along with illustrator Ivo Hoogveld, also produced a limited EP first edition of fifty with a second, deluxe edition of twenty-five. With each of the physical copies, Rosado and Jones have included a printed illustration by Hoogveld.
“Ultimately, one of the goals I have,” Jones said, “has to do with the pace of the rapidly changing world. I’m concerned with technology, with raising ideas, and am hyper aware of the environment. The world is so fast paced… But in long tunes, you have to slow down, to take the time to listen. I try to open my heart to get my humanity to pour out. I want people to say, ‘Hey, there’s a human being here.’”
These days, Jones keeps himself busy both in the studio and in the field. His years of experience as an audio technician are in demand with all the lectures and events around the city. He has taken advantage of his front-row seat at lectures to continue learning, to “get back in the mode” of thinking critically.
When Jones got out of school, he had, he said, “all this stuff swimming around in my head.” Now, five years later, he feels as though he’s finally been able to distill that down a little.
“When I left school, it was fresh on my mind and it hasn’t really gone away yet,” Jones explained. “It hasn’t really shifted. I’m always going to lectures and events as an audio technician. I’m always learning.”
Jones gives an example: “With my thesis paper, there were lots of things I thought I had a grasp on. Now, five years later, I’m like, ‘Oh. This is what I meant.’ Things start to click.”
About Bobby Jones:
Bobby grew up in the desert southwest in New Mexico, and considers himself a “desert rat” at heart, though he now resides in the Pacific Northwest. He was inspired by the desert landscape’s wide vistas, the social, political, and spiritual connection to the land by the inhabitants, and the wild and untamable nature of this landscape. At the same time, this wild landscape also embodies at its core a profound sense of peace and spirituality. “When I am creating, I am looking for those inner landscapes that possess those same qualities.” In addition to creating art, sound, and music, Bobby also is interested in philosophy, physics, science fiction, and films. Bobby holds an Associate Degree in audio engineering, and has a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Pacific Northwest College of Art with a concentration in sculpture.