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March 14th, 2012

Q&A With Jason Ferraro Of The Homophones, Who Play Johnny Brenda’s Tomorrow Night

Jason 2

So how excited are you to open for Obits?

I love the Obits. And I love Sub Pop Records. I remember being in college and working at a coffee shop and having a total crush on this skateboard kid Mike, who was obsessed with Drives Like Jehu. So of course I started listening to them. And then I listened to Hot Snakes. And now Obits. So, I feel honored.

Tell me the Homophones story.

I started writing music after college. I would record on my 4-track in my bedroom and speed the vocals up to sound like early Beatles. It was very weird and primitive and influenced by Syd Barrett and Elliot Smith, either/or. I was really into K Records. And then Bruce LaBruce heard “Everyone’s Dead” on Myspace (how ridiculous and quaint does that sound now?) in his movie Otto and so I decided to keep at it. And over the years I found different people to play with me, and so it has become more of a rock band and less of a bedroom project.

How’ve you ended up as the frontman for this band?

I always say, like Mark E. Smith, that it could be me and your grandmom and it would still be the Homophones.

How do you function in the Homophones? Are you a primary songwriter?

I write the songs and then bring them to the band. Dan Adair (guitarist) basically arranges the song and we all (Ben Saltzman and Ryan Mitchell) work on them from there.

Was it great doing PW’s Concerts in the Park? Did that feel like a stepping stone for the band?

It was amazing. I remember visiting Philly before I lived here and seeing Dr. Dog in the park. And I said to myself “I want to do this.” And I did two years later. It was emotional. But then we kind of stagnated and didn’t really use it to our advantage. And we had some turmoil and in-fighting and became this drunk fucked up cliche of a rock band and had to start over.

Which bands or artists influence you in your performance aesthetic?

Performance-wise I mainly am influenced by Gary Wilson, GG Allin, David Byrne, and Iggy Pop. But also wholesome acts like Paul Anka and Ricky Nelson. I like to make people happy and uncomfortable at the same time. I hate seeing live shows that are nice and boring. I like to see bands work for it. I will never forget seeing the Black Lips live in NYC and they pissed in their own mouths and spit it at the audience. It was like 2003 and I thought, thank god punk is still alive. It changed my life.

How do you end up getting contacted and booked for opening slots?

Whenever Sean Agnew and R5 ask us to play, we play. I love those guys. And I have so much respect for them as people and a company.

Are there venues that you wish to headline?

I just want to play Union Transfer in some capacity. That place is beautiful.

Do the Homophones have a new EP or LP coming out anytime soon? What can we expect from that?

We are basically a singles band. We’re only going to be recording singles from now on, I think. We have too many influences and directions to record an LP or EP. Plus, I want to write and record a song that every one wants on their iPod. I’m not interested in a whole album. Plus, there are two distinct sides to the Homophones: there is the recorded side, which is fine and nice and sounds pretty, and then there is the live side which is weird and fun and spontaneous. I write songs to play them live. I hate recording music.

The Homophones (with Fists) open for Obits at Johnny Brenda’s tomorrow night. Show starts at 9:15pm and the tickets are $12.

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