In anticipation of the MoPop Festival happening this weekend in Detroit, we were able to conduct a brief interview with Jason Singer, the solo artist known as Michigander, originally founded in 2015.
What’s your favorite memory so far of playing live?
My last headline show in Grand Rapids at the Pyramid Scheme was one the best nights of my life! It’s always great playing in that city.
Do you have an album out? How’s the music business from your perspective?
I do not have an album. Just some singles as of right now. The music business is weird. There are a lot of really great people but for every great person there are two terrible ones. It can be frustrating to separate the two sometimes.
What are your goals for this and next year?
I’m hoping to tour a lot more and put out some more music in the very near future.
Awesome! What else is important to you?
I really love tacos. My faith is also important.
What would your advice to young musicians be?
Work hard. Send lots of emails. Don’t wear shorts on stage.
Lol. Sounds like you learned that last bit of advice from personal experience. We wish you the best in your creative project and look forward to seeing you at MoPop this weekend! Follow Michigander here.
Interview edited for grammar and clarity.
Featured image photo credit: GOOD PALS
TENDER only has 7,097 Facebook likes and 1,733 Instagram followers (so far!), which means the chances are good that you haven’t heard of them yet. So, listen to their gorgeously sexy tracks while you enjoy this article. And if you’re new to TENDER, trust me when I saw their newest track tops their 2016 releases, even though that shouldn’t have been possible.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me in the midst of a very busy summer!
Thanks for listening and reaching out to us, we really appreciate it!
Absolutely. My husband found your music last fall on a YouTube listening suggestion, and it was love for us at first listen. Your EPs have gotten us through many road trips and dish-washing sessions. Your sound is very unique in its ability to be both quiet (aka tender) and jam-able. Tell me about the journey of curating such a beautiful, sensual sound while also maintaining elements of alternative rock.
We previously played in a band that had similar dynamics but with more of an American West theme running through the songs. We wanted to move some of those techniques into writing with electronic elements too, whilst keeping an organic backbone of bass guitar and drums to underpin it all.
You’ve dropped two tracks so far this year (in addition to last year’s three EPs) and have at least one music video in the works. Is there a full-length album on the table?
Yes, our debut album ‘Modern Addiction’ is going to be released on 1st September via Partisan Records.
Fantastic. I can’t wait! Your lyrics often include themes of heartbreak, which makes them extremely relatable. Is music your outlet for coping with break-ups?
There are certain elements in the songs that are based on home truths, however they aren’t too literal. The song ‘Nadir‘, for instance, sounds like a break-up song on the surface, but it’s actually about different stages of peaks and troughs in relationships and how all long-term relationships go through them regardless of whether it ends in a break up or not. Sometimes couples just need to reconnect after stormy patches.
Album art for Modern Addiction
True that. On your Instagram, you mentioned the importance of airing “political stances” because “there’s a lot more at stake.” Can you expand on that?
I just think it’s a shame that there are a lot of influential artists that stand back and don’t use their voice to help action change in a society and economy that is rigged against some of the most vulnerable people, to benefit the wealthy few. Both inequality and climate change are huge issues that artists are reluctant to speak up for because they’re scared they might ‘alienate’ a few people on the internet. I don’t think it’s a very selfless way to go about your life.
Your music videos are quite explicit (not complaining!). Can you speak to the reasons behind that, other than the fact that my husband describes your songs as “sexy time” music?
For the songs on the upcoming album, we wanted the videos to reflect the themes and moods in the songs, which are largely about human connection, romance, and addictions. We wanted to be bold and set those tones without question.
Awesome. Bold is certainly an appropriate description of your music. So I still haven’t figured out Verse two in “Legion.”
Give me back my people
I want to be adored
You can address me as your king
while your money fills my halls
I don’t need a reason
Make you part of the hoards
They will give and I will take
I will work them ’till they’re sore
Can you give me some insight as to what these lyrics are describing?
These lyrics are some of the more fictional, but they can easily be applied to more modern day characters like our current Prime Minister Theresa May, who is just like the song, struggling to hold onto power. It’s a song ultimately about greed and the desire to rule over people from a struggling leader/monarch’s point of view.
Gotcha. My favorite line of yours is “I can count all my friends on a single hand”, unfortunately because the same is rather true of me. Has fame in the music world simply reinforced the truth of this statement?
We’re not really the most recognisable people, so often people may know of our music but wouldn’t recognise us anyway, haha! We still have a close-knit group of friends and can only imagine that will remain the same way. I think it’s fine to embrace new friendships with people as long as you take care not to damage the long-standing ones you already have.
Good point. We can only stretch our time so much.
What’s your favorite interaction so far with a fan?
We were playing a Festival earlier in the year in Leeds, UK and a couple who were from LA had been on vacation in Europe. They flew specifically into the UK to see us play in Leeds. As we had just finished chatting to them afterwards we thought, “Nothing will top that”, when another fan, who was on her own and pretty shy, tapped us on the shoulder and handed us a note before quickly leaving. When we got back in the van and read the note, it explained that she had travelled from New Zealand to come and see us play in both Newcastle (the night before) and Leeds. We were amazed, but also wish we’d got to thank her in person.
Wow! People are so supportive! What are your goals as artists, both individually and as TENDER?
We want to be able to travel around the world playing to new audiences and meeting a load of amazing people. Dan wants to play sunset festival slots. James wants to play to as many people as possible.
You have awesome festivals planned for the summer. What are you looking forward to about 2017?
We’re looking forward to the summer festivals, but also our very first headline tour in August and September, where we’ll be playing shows in U.S. and Canada for the first time!
That’s awesome! My husband and I are going to catch you in Chicago. Good luck with the album release! Can’t wait to hear what you’ve been working on. New road trip music!
For U.S. or Canada residents interested in hearing TENDER live, get your tickets to a show quickly! They’re a goddamn steal, ranging from $10-$15.
Author’s note: Interview edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity.