I had the opportunity to sit down with Michigander, solo-project of Jason Singer. This was my first interview so I was pretty nervous, but he was super nice and a pleasure to chat with! If you want to watch the video interview on Youtube click here!
Hi. Thank you so much for joining me today here. I am Sydney. I will be your little interviewer for today if you want to introduce yourself.
Hi! I'm Jason, and I make music under the name Michigander.
Let's just jump right into it. So I know you grew up in Michigan and then for a while you did live in the Kalamazoo Area, which is where we're based here at 89.1 WIDR FM. So how did your time in Kalamazoo kind of affect your sound and your writing?
Totally, Kalamazoo is the only reason Michigander exists. And I'm not just saying that, the band, making music, and starting toheband like all happened in Kalamazoo. It was like the best time of my life living there on ML street out past sprinkle road. Yeah, I lived out there for so long, and like made most of the music that's out there. I like started writing it or making it in Kalamazoo. Yeah, it's just, it's like spiritual home of the band.
That's awesome. So now you moved to Nashville a couple years ago, correct? So how is that?
Well I lived in Detroit for a little bit and now I live here in Nashville. I've lived here for a year as of nearly a year as of like last week.
How does that kind of change the sound or your writing at all? Has it?
Yeah, the cool thing about being here is there's so many other people doing what I'm doing at like, at a higher level than what I'm doing. So I have all these people that I can like look up to and like, ask advice from and learn from. And they're like also, at the same time really humble and like collaborative so it's cool to like get in the room with some of these artists that I like, looked up to and maybe write a song with them. And then they taught me how to be a better musician, songwriter, and even an overall better person.
That's awesome! What's like an artist whom you would most want to collaborate with if you got the chance?
I'd love to write, or like work on a song with Matt Berninger from The National. The National are my favorite band. And that will be really, really cool to something with him. That'd be awesome.
That would be really cool! So I know in some different interviews and things you said you consider yourself a live band and you love touring. I know you just did some performances in Austin, Correct?
Yeah, last week.
So how is it kind of been getting ready to tour again cuz you were ready to go and then you broke your leg unfortunately. So how is that transition been for you?
It was really sad because I was gearing up for this big tour, and then I played like my first shows back last weekend in Austin, and then our tour for the headline tour from coast to coast starts next week in Phoenix. So I'm really excited to get out there in the van and get back at it and you know, try to figure it, figure it out again and get back on the saddle.
Back in the swing of things.
Yeah, it was awesome to play in Austin for SXSW. I played like so many shows in such a short period of time, it was kind of like the training for the tour. So yeah, we've never sounded better. The band is firing on all cylinders.
That's so exciting. So you have new EP coming out , March 31. So what song off the EP were you most excited for people to hear or if you haven't played it yet, what song are you most excited to perform live for everybody?
There's a song called Cannonball. And I wrote that song with Chris Carrabba, from Dashboard Confessional. And that song is coming out next week. I guess the whole EP comes out next week, which is crazy. Yeah, that's my favorite song. We played it together live last week, and I'm really glad we did because it was really fun to play a song like that live.
No, I'm super excited to hear it. You said it's, I'm sorry. What was the name?
It's called cannon ball.
Okay, yeah. I'll make sure to give it a listen. What's the best piece of advice another musician has given you about the industry or even not in the industry and just about life?
A friend of mine recently told me he's like, your career is like a campfire. I need to like keep the fire going by putting in the right amount of wood and paper whenever you know to start a fire. But you don't want to throw on too big of a log until you're ready. So you don't want to, so just because your fire is going, doesn't mean you're ready for like the big thing yet. No, like you have to wait. And you have to like tend to the fire and build the fire before you throw the big one. And then otherwise the big log is just gonna make a fire go out. So he told me that last week. That's a pretty good analogy. That's a career in the music business because sometimes you can just like pop really quick and not know what to do with it and then you fizzle out so yeah, that's some good advice.
Finding that balance.
Totally. Yeah, totally.
So I think I read somewhere that you're into video games, but is there anything else you'd like to do in your free time kind of not related to music just kind of for fun?
Just video games. That's it. I wish there were other things
What kind of games do you like to play?
Fortnite and Call of Duty and I only play with my friends. I don't play by myself. That's it. Yeah,
Those are some good choices. Have fans ever misinterpreted any of your songs? And if so, which one? Or ones?
Ya know, I don't really, the cool thing about writing songs is sometimes the artists themselves don't know what the song is about. And they just have this feeling of what the song is. And maybe over time the song kind of changes the meaning for you and I've like had that experience definitely. But a funny story, I guess. I have a song called East Chicago which is my probably my favorite song I've ever made. And someone, a friend of mine, he heard it. And he texts me and he says ' is this about me' I said no, it's not actually but good try. So maybe I guess some friends have misinterpreted songs and asked if they're about them. But usually if I write a song about somebody and tell them it's about them.
That's probably the way to do it. I guess kind of going off that you have any especially funny concert related stories?
Um, one time we played the show in, it's called Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It's the middle of nowhere. It's like a town in the mountains, it is really tiny. And it was the worst show we've ever played. And apparently the owner is buried underneath the stage.
Oh, I don't think I like that.
Yeah, I didn't like that either. I had be on that stage for an hour. That was that was one of the weirdest shows we've ever played. And my funniest story, I guess.
I don't know about funny, creepy maybe?
It's not Funny. The funny one, we were on tour with Manchester Orchestra and we played in Austin, Texas, at Stubbs and during the guitar solo, I felt really cool and I'm not a cool person at all.
I think you're kinda cool!
Thanks. But for a moment I felt cool. And I tripped and fell on my back. So that's that's pretty funny. And there's a video of that.
See that sounds terrible though. That doesn't sound funny.
It was funny.
I got back up and we just kept going. We didn't skip a beat.
Okay, a performer
It was rock and roll.
Thank you so much for sitting down with me today.
Make sure you listen to Michiganders new EP It Will Never Be The Same out March 31. And then make sure you join me in Detroit at St. Andrews Hall April 15th to hear everything live.
I'm so excited. Glad you're gonna be there.
Me too. I've had the tickets are a while now. So I'm ready to get into it. Is there anything else you want to add?
No, thanks for caring. I love WIDR. I always listened to WIDR when I lived in Kalamazoo. So it's always great to talk to somebody over there.
Thank you for your support and for coming on this interview with me.
Totally, thank you.
*slightly edited for clarity*