JD Eicher: This Heart (exclusive interview!) Part 1

JD Eicher – The Youngstown, Ohio native is going solo from his long time and 
successful band; “JD Eicher & the Goodnights.” This time JD is looking to in his first brand new album; “The Middle Distance” to branch out his singer/songwriter experience through his story telling from start to finish. JD Eicher is now having the time to breath and have success be on his own terms. From his successful group’s three album’s “The Shape of Things,” “Shifting,” & “Into Place” the entire band gelled so well and got fame from being national touring opening acts for; Train, Kelly Clarkson, Coldplay, Maroon 5, Rod Stewart, Pete Yorn and Dave Matthews Band. People took note of the band and singles such as; “Aaron” and “I’d Like to Get to Know You.” 
 JD is truly a gifted musician and people took note of him from the start. It is only fitting that  he now tries as many other artists have done in the past to test the waters of a solo artist. “The Middle Distance” is an album which is something pure and simply JD Eicher’s written music that will bring one to delight and as it has myself become a devoted fan.

JD, I want to start this interview saying how great it is to meet such a talented singer/songwriter.

Wow, thanks! I appreciate you interviewing me!

Not to embarrass you right off; I am starting this with a quote of yours that I thought is perfect to share with the readers. It truly gives an insight as to your view of a singer and his or her art of song:
“I see language and melody like being in a relationship. You both might not always see eye-to-eye, but it’s music when you do.”

That is a truly inspirational and true statement you have said. Do you see this holding true for all music and it’s singer and writer? I am wondering if the relationship is essential for all parties from penning the song and lyrics to then the same person or another performing it vocally.

Thanks! That's a quote from the archives. Good find. :-) I think the careful marriage of lyrics and
melody is key to any great song, so I definitely think this applies universally for songwriters. Down the line, I think it's the responsibility of the singer and musicians to drive that relationship home. Not every singer or player is going to be right for every song, so beyond the writing of the song, the execution definitely matters too.

Have you found it to be very difficult to find that perfect marriage of “music” from you performing live, recording solo/with the Goodnights? Give us an example of one time that truly is a “Stand Out” for your career? You also must have a moment of this from seeing another artist have that special connection with a specific song which gives chills, if so tell us about it.

It's definitely always a challenge getting a performance (live or in-studio) that really matches what I'm hearing in my head. That battle is always ongoing. 
I think the biggest struggle with music and finding a "sound" is that the defining "sound" of an artist is always changing, just like we as people are always changing. Each record is just that one moment in time. So there's a constant push and pull. I think each record I've made was pretty accurate for me at the time, though I don't think they'd sound the same at all if I were to re-record them now. The most recent release - The Middle Distance - is definitely the closest I've come to the right marriage of music, lyrics, and sound. But maybe it just feels like that because it's the most recent "moment in time!"

(Photo Credit: David Bean)

 Your brand new album and your first solo project; “The Middle Distance,” must have a lot of emotions attached to it, what made you take that big jump to go solo now and how did you decide the sound and feel for your first album?

It's the most personal music I've written in a long time - a return to the "diary," if you will. That was one of the big factors in branding it as a solo record. I also produced this one at home, which helped me attempt to capture a more genuine intimacy in the songs. Finding the sound and feel this time around was more streamlined and natural. I've always loved acoustic instruments and ethereal and electronic elements, so this was a great chance to experiment with all of them. Because I played most of the instruments, the arrangements felt very true to form. The parts I didn't play were played by long-time band-mates who are great at feeling the songs and know where I'm coming from.

I am very pleased to also say that you have been chosen specifically from the novelist Nicholas Sparks himself to be the official soundtrack to his up-coming book entitled; “Two By Two.” How did this occur? You must be very excited, tell how you were notified and the process in which you chose your songs which will be featured?

Thanks! Very, very excited about this. Nicholas was looking to make a "soundtrack" for his new book - a collection of four songs that fit with the themes found in the novel. He selected three songs from my existing catalog (one from each of my most recent records), and I wrote the fourth song after we discussed the book together. It's called "Two By Two" and is inspired by his story.

It really came out of the blue. I got the call from my manager while out on tour. It couldn't have come at a better time, and I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity. I've been counting my blessings a lot lately.

The Nicholas Sparks and JD Eicher collaboration sounds amazing, do you see an additional one happening in the future for say a motion picture?

Wow, that would be amazing! At the moment, things haven't gotten there, but I'd definitely jump at the opportunity.
Tell us the process of choosing specific songs along with track arrangement for this solo project and how it possibly differed from your past albums with the Goodnights?

I know I mentioned how it differs already, but song choice was pretty easy this time around. I wrote only these songs for this project. Sometimes artists will write a ton of songs and boil it down from there. I was pretty laser-focused on these tunes and knew I wanted them to go together. Track sequencing was a little harder this time around than with the previous records. The first and last songs were obvious to me, but from there I spent a lot of time looking at how the songs flowed thematically and musically. I'm happy with the final result. 

You are now on the road in support of your new album; have any good stories that stand-out thus far? There always seems to be one with a crazy fan, getting lost, mistaken identity, partying etc.

The band and I always joke about how we have so many stories, but that we can't seem to recall them on the spot. I think it's because so many of them require a decent amount of context. That said, one of the more recent fun memories was playing an event called Squatchfest in northern PA. Some good friends of the band threw their own music festival at a Drive-In theater, and it was Sasquatch-themed. Hairy back contest, Sasquatch costumes - the works. We had a great time playing. It was such a crazy concept for an event, and we had a lot of fun goofing around onstage. Our keyboardist, Ben, showed off his Sasquatch call quite a bit (sounded kind of like a turkey), and I took a (terrible) guitar solo using a "Sasquatch staff" (tree branch) that Jim, our bassist, "discovered" near the stage. Again, context. But it was super fun.

All artists have a fellow musician and album that was their true inspiration to get into the music business, who is yours, what is the album, and why?

Hmm.. It was definitely a combination of records that got me into music full-swing, but I'd say it was Dave Matthews's creative acoustic guitar playing that drew me toward guitar. That was the early start for me. Probably his Live at Luther College record. 

When we see you on the road will we be seeing your equally talented band, the Goodnights? I truly hope they make appearances since all of you are truly gifted.

Thanks a lot for all the kind words! I do play a lot of solo acoustic shows, but the band is alive and well, and we'll definitely be doing lots of dates moving forward. Sometimes I'll also travel with one or two of the guys instead of the full band. Lots of options. I love working with the guys.


JD Eicher's Official Sites:
Official website:  http://jdeicher.com/
Itunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-middle-distance/id1097239745


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