In the midst of playing a few random shows after a successful tour with his band The Almost, frontman Aaron Gillespie took a few minutes after a show to speak to JFH's Scott Fryberger about his new solo album, upcoming tours and the bad weather outside...
This interview took place on: 12/11/10.
Alright, you get one question.
JFH (Scott): Oh I better make it good then?
JFH (Sharie): Boxers or briefs?
JFH (Scott): That's it.
Hmm....no comment *laughter*
JFH (Scott): Well, I wrote my questions out before I saw the show, so I was gonna ask if it was just gonna be you up on the stage. Obviously it wasn't, you had a little help, but my second question is: Are you in the middle of a big tour right now?
Aaron: No, we're gonna start a big worship night tour in January. I just got home from 75 dates with The Almost. So we just did that. I just do a lot of weekend stuff when I'm home, just 'cause it's fun. So yeah, I'm off tour right now.
JFH (Scott): AJust doing some random shows then?
Aaron: I do like two shows a week, when I'm home.
JFH (Scott): Where do you call home right now?
Aaron: Florida. Tampa Bay area. It's a little town just northwest of Tampa called Tarpon Springs, a little beach town. I've lived there my whole life.
JFH (Scott): You're probably not enjoying the snow outside right now.
Aaron: I hate snow. I hate how it smells, looks, feels. I hate that it's wet.
JFH (Scott): *laughs* Yeah, it does get wet after a while.
Aaron: *Makes an angry face* Yeah
JFH (Scott): So from the tour you were just on, did you have any really amazing experiences?
Aaron: Yeah man. I mean, it all kinda runs together after a while. I hate that I can't provide you with a fantastic story, but we just met so many kids that are just busted and broken-hearted and need help, and it's just wonderful to offer Jesus to them, even if it's just for a minute, you know? We got to tour with Switchfoot, which was cool.
JFH (Scott): Did you have a lot of big crowds since you were with Switchfoot?
Aaron: Yeah, some pretty good crowds.
JFH (Scott): Outside of shows like that, how much mainstream attention do you usually get?
Aaron: The Almost was all mainstream attention until last year.
JFH (Scott): What happened last year?
Aaron: It's a long story, but I really feel like we just had a story to tell within the Christian market about what we had seen outside. God had kinda impressed upon me to do so.
JFH (Scott): So then with your new worship album, Anthem Song, coming out [in March], is that gonna be just you?
Aaron: I had a band for that.
JFH (Scott): Not The Almost?
JFH (Scott): Anybody from other bands?
JFH (Scott): Just a bunch of friends of yours?
Aaron: Pretty much. Friends and people that I know from other places and stuff like that.
JFH (Scott): What made you want to do a worship album?
Aaron: I've just always wanted to make that record my whole life. I got my start as a musician leading worship as a kid, like fourteen. I always wanted to do it and never could. I never had time. It never worked. But now it's finally working and I'm finally able to just drop everything to do it. So we did.
JFH (Scott): I think a question for a lot of fans would be, Is The Almost on hiatus for a time while you focus on this?
Aaron: Nah. The Almost is actually doing like sixteen Acquire The Fire's at the beginning of the year. And I'll be doing worship dates in between those. It's a little crazy, but yeah. And we're gonna start working on a new record soon.
JFH (Scott): Any potential release date for that?
Aaron: Nah, not that I can tell you right now.
JFH (Scott): Earlier this year, you did a promotional video for Come&Live!, which was awesome. I'm a big fan of their ministry.
Aaron: Yeah, they're awesome.
JFH (Scott): Did you ever consider putting out Anthem Song through them?
Aaron: I don't know. I think so. I think I considered putting other songs out, like other projects. But I don't know that I'd be allowed. I'd like to do something. But I don't know if I'd be allowed to do a whole record. I don't really know how that works. But you know, Chad [Johnson] is the first guy I ever met in the music industry. Chad offered me my first shot when I was sixteen. It was for the record deal for Underoath. It was before Tooth & Nail, even. Before he worked there, he had an indie record label called Takehold. It was when Underoath was just me and three other guys, guys that aren't in the band now.
JFH (Scott): Old school stuff.
JFH (Scott): Now what do you mean when you say you wouldn't be allowed to put something out through them?
Aaron: Oh I just don't know if I could put out a whole record. I have a record deal and I don't know how that works.
JFH (Scott): Oh okay, I see what you're saying. Now, I know that Tooth & Nail and BEC are the same company, but is The Almost gonna stay on Tooth & Nail and you're new stuff will be with BEC?
Aaron: Yeah, it's Tooth & Nail and BEC, it's all one thing. It's all one office.
JFH (Scott): So since you're already with Tooth & Nail, that's why you wanted to stick with BEC?
Aaron: Yeah. Most record labels are contractually binding, so you can't just like jump ship and do something else. It doesn't really work that way.
JFH (Scott): Back on the subject of Come&Live!, you did some work with Preson Phillips a couple albums ago. You did vocals for a couple songs right?
Aaron: Maybe. I was in the studio for that. I did some stuff, but I don't remember what it was, or what songs they were. It all kinda runs together.
JFH (Scott): Do you have any plans to do more stuff like that outside of what you're already doing?
Aaron: I've been doing a lot of weird guest stuff, yeah. There's a Universal/Motown band called He Is We. I just sang a duet with that girl. It's pretty much just a girl. There's a guy there too, but I don't know what he does. I think he might just help her write songs. I have no idea. But anyways, it's a duet for kind of a pop song. It was fun. Uh, I've written two songs for the new Run Kid Run record, then two songs for the new Abandon record. And yeah, I do a lot of stuff like that.
JFH (Scott): Were you actually in the songs as well?
Aaron: I did sing in one of the Run Kid Run songs, yeah. I sang on Relient K's newest record, Forget and Not Slow Down. That came out [in '09]. I like doing stuff like that, it's fun.
JFH (Scott): Have you done anymore work with Kenny Vasoli like you did a few years back?
Aaron: I would love to, but I don't ever see him. He lives in like Weird, Pennsylvania. Some weird city in Pennsylvania. There's so many cities in Pennsylvania. I never get to get up there to play shows, or for any other reason really.
JFH (Scott): So what you have been listening to lately?
Aaron: Hillsong United, John Mayer, Taylor Swift *laughter*. Um... Keith Urban, Kari Jobe, a lot of random stuff. I'm a pretty random music listener. I always have been. It's weird. It's the way I roll.
JFH (Scott): Anything different when you're writing songs for The Almost?
Aaron: Yeah, some of my favorite bands, like Foo Fighters, U2, Bruce Springsteen, stuff like that.
JFH (Scott): That was a good U2 cover you did tonight.
Aaron: Oh thanks! I love that song man. I love them, they're so good.
JFH (Scott): What about when you were with Underoath? Was there any heavy stuff you listened to?
Aaron: Yeah. Yeah, like Botch and The Refused and Converge... that's pretty much it. I don't like a lot of heavy music. Never really have. I like the idea of it and the heart of it. But I never really got into every band that came around the corner playing D chug music. I never really understood it.
JFH (Scott): There's a lot of those out there.
Aaron: I love the artistic ones though. I mean, more power to anybody who's out there doing what they love and doing it for a reason and having a good time doing it. I just never got into it or understood a lot of it. I like a lot of it, but yeah.
JFH (Scott): As far as what you played tonight - I don't listen to a lot of mainstream worship, so a few of the songs I didn't recognize, but how many were from Anthem Song, if any?
Aaron: Out of like the four or five that I played, two.
JFH (Scott): What are they called?
Aaron: One song is called "We Were Made For You" and the other is called "Washed Away." "We Were Made For You" is up online now.
JFH (Scott): Oh sweet. So that comes out March 8?
Aaron: March 8.
JFH (Scott): Is it already finished, and just waiting for release date?
Aaron: Yeah. You just can't release records around this time of year because they just get ignored.
JFH (Scott): It's true. We already have our top ten lists for the year up on the site.
Aaron: Yeah. You just can't do it. And if you release it in January, all the music business people are kinda closed down. I don't know, I don't really care about all that stuff. But the label won't put it out until March, so whatever *laughter*
JFH (Scott): I guess they're kind of in charge.
Aaron: They are. Yes they are.
JFH (Scott): So what are your plans until then?
Aaron: We have the worship tour that starts in January, and it's like two and a half months long, and it goes through when the record's released. And then we're going to South America with The Almost in April. Then Europe in May. I don't know dude. My phone's dead or I'd look at my calendar and tell you *laughter*. But I'm going somewhere. I'm always somewhere.
JFH (Scott): That's good. There's always someplace to reach people.
Aaron: Yeah man. I'm blessed for sure.
JFH (Scott): That's all I have. Anything you wanna add?
Aaron: No, just thanks for talking. *yawns*
JFH (Scott): Gonna go to bed now?
Aaron: Yep, I'm going to bed!
Aaron Gillespie's new solo album, Anthem Song, is available March 8, 2011
wherever music is sold.