Nashville’s *repeat repeat just finished up a great run at Bonnaroo, and now they’ve hit the road to play a six week stretch of North American gigs. First up comes NYC’s show at Highline Ballroom tonight (6.13), and the band will also be in DC this Friday (6.15) to play a set at Union Stage, as well as Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on Saturday (6.16). In advance of all the stops, I had a minute to catch up with Jared Corder over the phone yesterday to talk about what it’s like being in a band with his wife, Kristyn, as well as what it’s like to have eleven (ELEVEN!) rescue animals as pets (one of which is a horse), what’s on the horizon for their podcasting project, how many signature striped shirts Jared has packed for tour and MORE, so internet-eavesdrop on our full conversation below to get the complete lowdown. Also obviously grab tickets to the shows, and be sure to pick up a copy of Floral Canyon for your listening pleasure!
Brightest Young Things: How was Bonnaroo?
Jared Corder: It was insane! We played officially on Sunday, but we went off on Wednesday night and played a party for all these mega groups of super fans of Bonnaroo. They throw a huge party before Bonnaroo starts every year, so we went and played that, there were like four hundred people, and it was wild! We played in a grass field, basically. Then we played Bonnaroo all weekend and played Sunday, so we were there for five full days, and it all ended with a packed show. We had the biggest crowd at that stage, because we were on one of the smaller stages, and everybody seemed to really enjoy it. We were stoked.
JC: Yeah! We also got our first write-up in Rolling Stone yesterday, actually. They listed our show as one of the top thirty-one things that happened at Bonnaroo. We’ve been on cloud nine. And now we’ve hit the road for six weeks of touring, so we’re stoked. Suffering from mild exhaustion, but really pumped and ready!
BYT: Who’s going to watch all of your animals while you’re away? You guys have like ten or eleven rescues, right?
JC: Another couple that we’re friends with are in a band called Waterfall Wash, and they’re based out of Nashville, too. Their touring schedule is kind of opposite to ours, and they’re really great pet sitters. Our animals love when they come over; it’s like having an aunt and uncle come by, because they bring them treats and toys and stuff like that. We also have a couple of other rotating pet sitters for these long runs. It takes a village, and they’re like our children. I think having ten pets in the house (we have eleven total) is still bit easier than having one or two kids, because we can just have somebody come by and play with them, love on ’em, and they just love to sleep and chill. We have a little camera set up to keep eyes on ’em, too. They’re very sweet, and it’s easier than you’d think.
BYT: You guys have a horse, too, right?
JC: We do have a horse! And we rented a stall at a farm for this off track thoroughbred racehorse that Kristyn rescued. She grew up with horses her whole life, and she had a horse when we first met six or seven years ago, but it was a bit older, and it ended up passing away a couple of years ago. We decided we wanted to get another one, and so we did. Kristyn loves to go out there and take care of him, and he’s in a really good farm right now. Eventually we want to move onto a property and have a proper farm with pigs and goats and things like that.
BYT: That’s rad! I come from a horse family on my dad’s side. He was a horse dentist, actually! And then my aunts all have done different horse-related jobs, like my aunt is still training race horses and things like that.
JC: Yeah, I think our dream is to have land where we can just wake up and our horse out on our property, and we can just pay someone to kind of be a farmhand. Kristyn kind of introduced me to horse life. I’d taken horseback riding as a kid, and I was around them a little bit, but her love of horses is the equivalent of my love of music and why I wanted to go into music in the first place. I felt it was only right to have a horse in our family, you know?
BYT: Totally. Well, between that and touring, it sounds like you stay SUPER busy. When do you find time to actually do songwriting?
JC: Well, one thing about our relationship is that we both love working, and we never stop. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to stop, but we do enjoy each other’s company, and we’ll get a lot of work done together. I think we both feel really fulfilled when we’ve accomplished something together, and the same goes for songwriting. We make a lot of time to do it. And I think because we never really stop working, we’re always a little bit ahead of the schedule. Sometimes to a fault, which is why I’m glad we brought on the right team in the last couple of years with regards to management and booking. Having people around us to say that we can take things a little slower and let the flavors simmer around the things we’re creating has been great. We made Floral Canyon, the record that’s out now, about three years ago. We sat on it for about two years while we searched for the right team, the right management, a label…and by the time we got signed, the record was already two years old to us. So I’ve probably written forty or fifty songs since then, I’ve worked on songs for side projects that I someday want to do…and it’s just a matter of knowing when to put out this record and everything. So we’re kind of ahead of the curve in that sense. I think it’s just really practically and mentally making time for those things. I wish I had more time these days to just sit in a room and let inspiration come to me, but nowadays I kind of have to be like, “Okay, Thursday is my writing day. I’m going to lock myself in this room, and if I write nothing good, then that’s fine. At least I’ll be forcing my hand to paper to try to write something down.” I think part of creating anything is just creating that muscle memory. That, mixed with a creative mind, is how really awesome things are made I think.
BYT: Absolutely. And speaking of how much time you guys spend together, it seems like you get along super well, but do you have any tips apart from great chemistry that would be useful for avoiding conflict on the road?
JC: Well, I think there are a couple things. The first advice that I try to give anybody with regards to that is that we’re not the poster children for being in a band and being married. Kristyn and I haven’t spent one accidental night apart since the day we started dating, and that was not planned, but after about a year we were like, “Oh, shit, we haven’t spent a night apart! This is kind of fun, let’s keep it going!” We really enjoy each other’s company. But I think it’s more abnormal what we’re doing than what a lot of other people are doing, because they need their own space and their own time and whatever. That being said, I think realizing that none of this is really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things is important. I think that’s a big key to why Kristyn and I work really well together, because we don’t…like, we’re not irreverent, but we don’t take anything too seriously, you know? Besides our own marriage, really. But even that! We respect the sanctity of our own marriage, but we’re still in a band with a bunch of sweaty boys, and we like to go to music festivals and things like that. So I think it’s not taking yourself too seriously, and do what you love, but don’t take it so seriously that you crush all your relationships with your friends and your loved ones and your partners and stuff like that. Kristyn found this saying somewhere, where it’s like, it’s never me vs. her, it’s always us vs. the problem. And when I started thinking like that it was really true, because I realized that nine times out of ten if there’s ever something we disagree on or are frustrated with something, it’s probably about the band, or about our career, or about a cat that threw up in our bed or something like that. We step back and say, “Is this that big of a deal?” And usually it can be cleaned up or fixed or whatever, and in that sense, I think that’s why we play so well together on stage and off.
BYT: That’s really smart. I think people really do get too caught up in all that sort of thing to the point of it being all-consuming, and I think that’s where the resentment can come into play.
JC: Yeah, for sure! A good example is when I called my family yesterday. I came from lower-middle class, and they saved up for the past six years to take the rest of the kids to Europe for the first time. They’ve never been, so they’re on this European trip right now with all my siblings. And so I called them yesterday to tell them the Rolling Stone thing, and they were excited, but they were also in Greece for the first time, right? And so I got off the phone and was like, “Why weren’t they as excited as I thought they’d be?” They were still excited and they love me, but I also realized that they love me regardless of write-up. At the end of the day, none of this is worth that much to fret about, you know what I mean? It’s all really fun and beautiful, and it’s great to watch our dream come to fruition, because we’ve worked really hard, but if it didn’t happen, I also feel like that’s okay. It’s all about being in the moment.
BYT: It definitely can be hard to remember that sometimes, though, when everyone’s got an instaneous opinion or hot take on what you’re making. Have you had any really interesting interpretations of your music that you never anticipated? Either from journalists or fans?
JC: So there are two kind of instances of that. One, on the lighter side, is when we put out this single called “Plugged In”, which is based off the movie Idiocracy. And the lyrics I think are pretty black and white, although they are somewhat poetic. They’re not super overt, but it’s basically a critique of America and religion and the dumbing down of society. For the music video, though, we did the complete opposite and just bought like, 1500 ball pit balls, and we told the director to make something fun. So the music video has no hidden meaning or anything, it’s just conceptually a fun video to watch, which is funny to me, because people that watch it and really like it, it’s kind of like this dark critique on society with this really silly, fun concept that has nothing to do with it. I don’t know why, but I just really liked that idea. But when the premiers came out for that, people would always try to connect dots on it, and that was an interesting thing, because I was like, “Well, there are really no dots to connect.”
The other one is when I was in an older band when I first moved to Nashville. In hindsight, we really weren’t that good, and we weren’t going anywhere. But there was this one event in Nashville called Road To Bonnaroo that any band that was worth a shit would play, and the whole thing that was known was that the big national magazines would write reviews about the bands that would play it every year, and they’d always write one or two good reviews, and all the other bands would get totally shat on. And so whenever they’d book the bands (this was almost ten years ago), everybody would wonder who was going to get the bad write-ups and the good ones. And I remember my old band played, and we didn’t really know what we were doing (I was a kid at the time), and I remember that was the first negative review I’d read of myself in a printed music publication, and it ate my up way more than it needed to. In that same sense, as I’ve gotten older I’ve looked back on it as a learning experience. That’s kind of what helped me learn not to take things so seriously, because I was naive and was just going into this whole thing of moving to Nasvhille, being in a band and not really thinking anything of it, and the first person that didn’t like it I was like, “Why don’t they like me?!” Because of that, over the years I’ve learned how to take constructive criticism in a healthy way, but also realize the whole “haters gonna hate” kind of thing. I’ve learned how to let things roll off my back in a positive and healthy way, but also be able to take criticism and know when somebody I trust is trying to do what’s best for me and give me advice that’s good for my career.
I think being married teaches you that, too. If you want a successful marriage, there’s that saying that “you can be happy or you can be right”, you know? Just because you’re happy doesn’t mean you’re wrong, and just because you’re right doesn’t mean you’re unhappy, but I want to enjoy the ride that is my life, so I just try not to let unsolicited advice or some fucking YouTube comment dictate where I’m going to take my art. Then you have these little pockets in your career that are like stepping stones, where it’s like…do you ever watch Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
BYT: [Laughs] Yeah!
JC: Do you remember how you could get to like, $500, and then from there you’d never get less than $500? So you’d keep going and you’d get up to like, $200,000, and you’d never get under that. You were locked in. So there are these little pockets in my career and Kristyn’s career where I’m like, “Cool, well I can never not say that I didn’t play Bonnaroo!” Like if my career ended tomorrow, right? Or, you know, if we put out a record and everybody hates it, and nobody buys it, and we end up crumbling as a band, at least I can say that I got signed to a label and put out a record, you know? So there are these little moments where I’ve succeeded, and I really try to cherish those rather than dwell on one negative thing that somebody’s gonna say or whatever. I think one of the best comments we’ve ever gotten on YouTube or anything was from this dude who said, “Not really into this band’s music, but goddamn do they put on a live show.” I was like, “Hell yeah! I’ll take it!” Because that’s honest, you know? If my mom writes, “I love your record!” then so what? Of course she’s going to write that! This guy doesn’t like our music but he fucking loved our show. That means we earned something that day, you know?
BYT: Absolutely. What are some more milestones that you haven’t achieved yet that would be ultimate dream level status if you one day can get there?
JC: End goal I’d love to play Saturday Night Live someday, but I think if I played any late night show, or a morning show like TODAY or GMA, I think my mom would finally think that I’m famous, even if I’m not. I know a lot of guys who’ve played both of those and are certainly not famous, but if I did either of those I think my parents would finally be like, “Oh, you’ve made it!” You know? I told my mom like, “We’re playing Bonnaroo!” and she was like, “That’s great! Does that mean you’re getting paid a lot of money now?” And it’s like, “No, not yet!” It’s always that question. [Laughs] I think if we do that, though, that’ll be the milestone that makes my mom’s dreams come true. She’s always said since I was a kid, “I could see you on TV someday playing music!”
BYT: I feel you! I studied Political Science in school, and now I write about weird things on the internet, so I have to grasp for similar milestones for my mom to like, semi-“get it”. Do your parents listen to your podcast?
JC: You know, they might have once or twice, but they’re kind of conservative and pretty religious, so I think they still get thrown off by some curse words here and there. They love me, but I think they have virgin ears. We’re about to do a podcast again, but we did one for a while called the Repeat Repeat Podcast Podcast; we had band member changes and also just decided to take a break over the winter, and at the time it was just a thing to do a thing, basically. We just wanted some more content, so we’d just have our friends come on. We had somebody from the band COIN come on, and we had Wells Adams who’s been on The Bachelorette, and we had somebody from Band of Horses, and what happened was that all these people started to blow up right as we started to take a break from the podcast. It was really fun, but it was totally free format, and we just talked about whatever the hell we wanted to. And so we’ve gotten so busy in the last year that we were like, “If we’re going to do a podcast again, we want to do something that feels a little more purposeful and feels like we’re actually putting something out there that’s worth listening to.” So we have a new format that we’re working on, and the podcast is going to be called Oh Yeah, That Song. We have a couple of episodes in the bag, and it’s going to be an exploration of songs everybody knows. So the first episode is the song “Steal My Sunshine” by Len. What we do is we go and spend weeks studying the song, finding all these clips and all this stuff, and we tell the whole story of the song – everything from the inception to where the band is now. It’s really fucking interesting, because all of the songs we pick are (and this is why it’s called Oh Yeah, That Song) songs that everybody knows but most people know nothing about. So episode two is going to be “Lovefool” by The Cardigans, and we’re going to do The Mighty Might Bosstones, just a bunch of songs. There are so many great stories behind a bunch of these songs that we really wanted to go in-depth. Kristyn’s a big history buff, and I love editing podcasts, so I think it’ll be really fun. A couple of episodes are done, and we’re working on rolling some of those out later this year.
BYT: Amazing! Well we’ll be on the lookout for those, and what else are you stoked on that you can talk about apart from these upcoming shows?
JC: Yeah, actually! We’re working on new music. We’ve recorded a couple of songs, and we’re going in the studio to finish our next record after this tour.
BYT: Rad! And speaking of this tour, I do have to ask what your suitcase looks like. How many striped shirts are we up to at this point?
JC: Right now I’m at seven. I have two that have white trim around the neck, two that have black trim around the neck, and then one that has thick stripes, like really big six-inch long stripes to round it out. I have three pairs of black pants, three pairs of the same white Vans with black stripes. Kristyn has lots of different clothes that she rotates. I feel like if I wear the same thing it lets her pop even more with color and stuff like that. And then besides that, we share a suitcase, because it’s really easy since I wear the same thing all the time on the road, and Kristyn just keeps all of her outfits for stage bundled together on a couple of hangers. Those things are already ready to go, so we share a suitcase for shorts and tees, flannel shirts for me and then maybe one pair of jeans for when I’m not wearing black pants. We’ve gotten better and better at it the more we tour.