A Q&A with Jerry Castle
Appalachian Soul meets Cosmic Country, from Nashville here’s Jerry Castle…
How did you get the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
A lot of this album was written and recorded late at night and by myself. That’s where the “Midnight” part comes from. A lot of the songs on the album were personal true to life songs. I once had someone tell me that my songs have a lot of “soul” to them. I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and Christianity is an integral part of life. Combining those things together is where I got the “Testaments” part. The songs are late night confessionals or “Midnight Testaments”.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
I did a lot of the recording and editing by myself and it was a very time consuming endeavour. As a result, I had to forgo participating in a lot of activities. Collectively, the mental strain that caused was pretty heavy. There was very little sleep for about four months.
What do enjoy most about producing your own material?
I produced the record myself. The best thing about doing it myself, is it’s going to sound like I want it to sound.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I think it’s different for everyone and I think each song brings different things but collectively, I hope folks find some comfort from my songs and feel like they’re not the only people in the world that have a particular feeling.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
It varies from album to album but for the most part, on this album, I’d write the songs a couple of days before I went into the studio. I’d play the song on my acoustic for the band and they’d start coming up with their ideas. Next we track the song with the entire band. If there are things that aren’t working, we discuss. I bring those recordings to my home studio and usually replace my guitars, sing, edit, do overdubs, and record backing vocals. Once I’m finished recording and editing, I send it to the mixing engineer and he mixes it without me being in the room. He sends me his mixes and I send back notes as to what I’d like to hear differently.
What bands/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Collectively, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, and Eddie Vedder have been my main influences for a long while. If an artist is newish, I go out of my way to not be influenced by them. I think I can listen to new artists and enjoy them without being noticeably influenced by them.
When the world is back to normal where would like to tour, and why?
I’ve had a really strong reception in the UK, so I’d like to do some extensive touring over there. I’ve also had some success with this album in Canada, so it’s a priority as well.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
That’s tough because I really tried to make each song a different thing. With that being said, I like the way ‘Pick Up Your Guitar’ came out.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
I’m a lifer so I want to be as successful with my musical career as I can possibly be. I want to be able to fill theatres on a regular basis, have other major label artists cut my songs, and produce other artists songs. Very few, if any, artist ever “arrives”. There’s always something else with art.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Thank you all very much! Love you! Mean it!