Over the past year, Fruition has seen their stardom rise on a national scale, slowly but steadily climbing up the bills of renowned music festivals and performing at iconic venues like Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre. We caught up with Fruition lead guitarist Jay Cobb Anderson as he prepared to load in for a gig in Kansas the same week the band’s released their newest disc, Watching It All Fall Apart. The life of a touring musician may be a dream come true, but no one ever claimed it was easy. Even with all that going on, Jay was more than happy to talk about the stellar selection of new tunes on Fruition’s new album and the process the band went through to composing and selecting the tracks.
Live For Live Music: With so many songwriters in Fruition, I always wonder how much of a scrum the sessions are. How many songs did you have to choose from for the new album?
Jay Cobb Anderson: It was difficult. There were a lot of songs on the table. In the past, we’ve tried to split it up more equally so you heard from each songwriter. For this album we wanted to pick all of the songs we felt the strongest about. I ended up having more songs on this record than the others, but we think these songs fit together the best and were the strongest. This was an especially difficult one though.
L4LM: Have you guys considered a double or even a triple album?
JCA: Absolutely. Seeing how this one goes…that may end up happening for the next record. We have so much material. That said, another thing we want to do is get a live record out there too. We might end up putting two things out, a live record and an LP. We’ll see.
L4LM: I feel like you have a rabid-enough fan base that you could put out two records a year, easily.
JCA: I totally agree with you. That’s the thing with being self-promoted. Our whole goal as a band has been to build a strong enough team, including funding, to be able to put out records as much as we would like. That’s been difficult. But we did just sign on with LoHi Records, and this whole experience working with them has been great. We loved working with them. They love us. Watching It All Fall Apart, the new record, it’s a product of that love.
With that love in mind, we are already starting to think of stuff for a new album, like I said. We hope this is the start of a long and successful friendship. We’re really excited about that. The way the music industry works now, everything is on you. We want to make more music, but when it’s all on you it’s a lot more difficult.
L4LM: Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) and his partners really seem to have put something wonderful together with LoHi Records. Did you get to work with Tim on Watching It All Fall Apart?
JCA: He didn’t work on the record itself, but he was the catalyst for us joining on LoHi. He sat in with us at the Hillberry Music Festival, and when we got done with our set he asked us what we planned on doing with our new material. That was about the same time when we were considering what to do ourselves. He listened to what we had and said he loved it and invited us to work with LoHi.
It was perfect timing. We had been shopping around for a home for the music and hadn’t found any offers we liked. Then we chatted with the crew at LoHi and it evolved into what it is now. And we’re really stoked.
Fruition – “Labor Of Love” – Northwest String Summit – 7/12/17
[Video: Live For Live Music]
L4LM: When writing songs do you ever have moments where you think…”This is it, this is one of the good ones,” or even the opposite like, say, “This blows. No one is gonna dig this at all.” If so, how often are you right?
JCA: Absolutely! It’s funny. A lot of the time I get it wrong. Our first single, “I’ll Never Sing Your Name”, wasn’t even on the table for the new record. I thought it was just this little crappy song that I wrote and it ended up being the first single.
That happened in the past too…on our album Just One Of Them Nights, I thought the title track was no good at all. Then I played a solo show with my buddy Brad Parsons and he was like “Where did that song come from?” I said something dismissive and he was like, “No man, you need to play that. You need to play that for your band!” And then it became the title track of that album. So I guess I’m not that good at predicting…
L4LM: How many shows did Fruition play last year?
JCA: Oh god, I have no idea. At least 150. Probably closer to 200.
L4LM: Are you folks looking to match the same pace this year?
JCA: Oh yeah. We’re on the first leg of a two-and-a-half month tour. I think we’re doing five weeks, taking ten days off, then another five. Then, for spring into the summer we start doing all the one-offs, week-long runs and, of course, the festivals!
L4LM: The glorious festivals!
L4LM: When Fruition gets going, you front-line folks have been known to slam around the stage in an almost basketball team-style weave. Ever slip up and slam into each other when you get all caught up in the music?
JCA: Oh yeah. A lot of that energy you see, at least like what you are describing, started out in our origins as a busking band. When you’re out on the street playing for cash and trying to get attention, you tend to move around a lot. So much of that stuff, like our movement, comes from that era. Most of the worst instances of banging into each other happened back then…Once we started playing on stages, we got to the point where we had a lot more room. Luckily most of the stages these days give us enough room.
L4LM: You gotta watch out for Mimi…she looks like she could take you out with those elbows.
JCA: I worry mostly about me and my lanky self.
Fruition – “Hey Hey What Can I Do” (Led Zeppelin cover) – Hoxeyville Music Festival – 8/19/17:
[Video: Live For Live Music]
L4LM: Your live performances are exhausting to watch, but damn exciting too. Do you feel like the new record captures that live Fruition vibe?
JCA: Most of the songs that we recorded for this disc are ones we hadn’t played live. It was fun to try and translate that energy into them. I do think this one captures the energy better. The song “I’ll Never Sing Your Name” [on the album] was recorded totally live. There are a couple of tunes on this record that were recorded almost completely in-the-moment.
L4LM: Do you feel like the zeitgeist influences your songwriting? The world is getting kinda weird and harsh lately…
JCA: I think with this album it definitely did. Like you said…it’s a strange world out there. There’s no big social commentary on this album, but I think Watching It All Fall Apart kinda works for a title and a description of the way the world seems sometimes.
We want to make more of a political statement, but you have to be careful. It seems one of the big problems is the splitting along lines and the dividing that is happening among people being so hard on one side or the other. We don’t want to make that gap bigger…we want to bring people together.
Fruition – Watching It All Fall Apart
[Cover photo via Sam Shinault]