ATJF Interview :: Drink Up Buttercup

ATJ presents DRINK UP BUTTERCUP, Saturday, August 29, 2009, at After the Jump Fest ‘09. This year’s 3rd annual festival is a three day extravaganza of independent music, and will take place at Brooklyn NY’s Littlefield Performance & Art Space.  Individual and weekend passes are available to purchase online here.

Listen :: Drink Up Buttercup – Young Ladies

In preparation for After the Jump Fest 2009, Music Is Art asked vocalist/guitarist Jim Harvey of Drink Up Buttercup to answer our ATJF Interview questions, and below are his special replies.


Please share your earliest memory involving or creating music.

Jim: I’d probably say my first memory involving music is dancing and singing Michael Jackson songs on the highest surface I could get up onto as a 5 year old at the mall. I’m not even just saying that cause it’s so cool to like Michael Jackson again now that he’s passed away.

May you share about your academic background concerning music? Did you study formally? Any special mentors?

Jim: I studied voice formally, but like everyone else in the band learned my instrument (guitar) on my own. I went to school for classical singing but ended up playing my guitar and writing more than focusing on interpreting arias and studying theory. I kind of taught myself some kinda backwards theory after school though.

If you had to explain your music to a stranger, how would you do so?

Jim: I’d probably keep it simple and say aggressively played poppy songs with lots of harmonies and deceptively perverted lyrics.

What are your favorite instruments to work with and what aspects do you like most about using them?

Jim: For me personally I like messing around with vocals. The human voice is for sure the craziest instrument. I love layering and adding effects too. The possibilities are endless.

What are your inspirations?

Jim: Harshness. Dark perspectives disguised by bright colors. Deals on people’s used stuff. Old school video games.

When you’re working are you fully involved in what you’re doing or is your mind already planning ahead?

Jim: I’d say the idea of how somethings should sound as a whole is usually  what comes first. In your head. Then you try to figure out how to play it on an instrument and fine tune it till it sounds like your originally internal concept.

On average, how long does it take for you to create a song?

Jim: Just a few minutes for the original idea of it sounds, then endless tinkering to perfect it. It’s always fun to change things up live to. You gotta mix it up on the fly to keep things interesting if you are showcasing a certain group of songs to keep it interesting for yourself. Maybe even just a new way of presenting that doesn’t change the sound tends to keep things interesting. If that makes sense.

On the website Music Is Art, our mission is to show how music and art are simply connected. Which albums do you credit as having the biggest influences as far as your life and creativity are concerned?

Jim: I’d say that classical music and whatever people really seem to be digging currently are what affects me as a musician. The classical music shows how it was done first and best, in my opinion. The current stuff, take a band like Dirty Projectors, who I’ve actually been digging for years before they really started to get hyped up, still shows you that there are new and exciting places to go. Also, just good pop songs. Even if a band has a similar sound to other bands out there or other bands from the past, if a song is a good song it’s a good song. Everyone loves a good song.

If you could have a drink with one musician, living or dead, who would it be and what would you like to ask them?

Jim: I’d probably want to have a drink with Bob Dylan. He has so many freaking words! I have a pretty easy time coming up with music, but words tend to give me a little more trouble. I’d just love to ask him some pointers on how, besides being the most naturally gifted lyricist ever, he comes up with all those words.

What do you hope people take from seeing you perform live?

Jim: We’ve always had the goal as a band to put on a live SHOW. We really want to entertain people and give them their money’s worth. We take pride in it. So I’d say, I guess all we really want is for people to have an experience and not feel ripped off.

What has been your favorite experience thus far in your career?

Jim: Probably the whole process of getting our full length album done. So many ups and downs. So many decisions. So much love and hate. So much arguing. Fun! But as things are finally getting all tied up, it was all totally worth it.

What would your number one suggestion be for someone who wants to do what you do?

Jim: Record your first album before you start really getting out there and playing shows. It makes everything easier. I don’t know from personal experience, but watching other bands who took this route it just seems mind-blowingly easier.

What exciting projects do you have coming up?

Jim: We have a new single and video coming out in October that we are really excited about. Also, now that the full length is basically finished we are gonna really start hitting the road and playing outside of the North East.

May you have a particular inspired quote, statement or favorite words to live by?

Jim: “You drink that drink! Alcohol has been a social lubricant for thousands of years. What do you think, you’re going to sit here tonight and reinvent the wheel?” – Scott Campbell, as Roger Dodger in the movie Roger Dodger.

Please share a mix tape within a theme of your choice.

Jim: Gonna break the rules a little here. This is a two song mix I put on at parties to annoy people. I just put the mix on repeat, so I mean, you literally might hear these two songs at least a dozen times each. As much as music snobs might make fun of me for this mix. Whatever, I love it.

1.  R. Kelly – Remix to Ignition
2.  Shwayze – Buzzin’

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