6 Questions With Jim Andralis and The Syntonics
Welcome to “6 Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so it has become a permanent fixture here on Indie Minded. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay the same. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is New York-based indie band Jim Andralis and The Syntonics. We have not had the privilege of featuring Jim OR his Syntonics here on the pages of Indie Minded, so we are thrilled to bring you this short interview. Sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
I started writing songs about 15 years ago when I joined a band called the Isotoners. ( theisotoners.bandcamp.com) We wrote songs about the queer experience from a super immature and vulgar perspective. There were three of us singing and writing songs in the Isotoners, like a low-rent homo Fleetwood Mac! After we busted up, I started writing more for me.
I put out a record last year called Your Dying Wish Come True that was mostly a meditation on grief and loss. Soon after that came out, I think I really needed company on stage. I reached out to some of my favorite singers and buddies (Julie DeLano, Leslie Graves, Susan Hwang and Jessie Kilguss) to see if they’d maybe want to sing harmonies with me at a show or two. Everyone including me went nuts over how much beauty they added to my songs and shows, so for this album “Shut Up Shut Up” I wanted us to record my songs that would be the most fun to do with access to their incredible voices. My husband Larry Krone sings on about half the songs on the record too. Those hunky low notes you hear are all him.
I started out really wanting “Shut Up Shut Up” to sound loose, dark and stripped down like the Motels’ first record. That’s the sound I wanted. I’m not sure how close to it we ended up, but we definitely achieved dark and loose with an added dose of luxurious harmonies that make me so very happy when I hear them.
As an artist, how do you define success?
Sometimes when we’re performing I’ll spot someone who seems to be really resonating with a song that I’d figured was freakishly specific to just me when I wrote it. So something energetically passes between us that feels like, “You too?” “Me too.” “Oh thank Jesus.” I think that feeling is what I wish for every time I write anything.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
For me, it’s that you can’t pretend that you don’t want people to hear and adore your stuff. I can’t, at least. Writing, recording, and performing are all intensely fun for me. But once it’s done I sometimes have a hard time letting go and thinking of songs as content as opposed to proof of whether I have any value as a person or not.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
The last song on the record is called “Don’t Please.” Years ago, I decided to write the sort of anti-advice song I imagined would have most helped me when I was a young, closeted kid. My husband Larry always sings the first verse, and the Syntonics sound like actual angels. When we do that song, I actually feel like I’m with that little version of me, and he’s taking a good look at some of what’s in store for him.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
Growing up, it was equal parts Stevie Nicks, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Tom Petty with a healthy dose of Kate Bush as I entered adolescence. Later came Dolly Parton, Melanie Safka, Patty Griffin and Lori McKenna. Also, my husband, Larry writes the most achingly specific and gorgeous songs. We met fourteen years ago when he asked me to play accordion at one of his gigs. In terms of how to command a stage, I aspire to be both Bridget Everett and Kathleen Hanna.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
Easily, by a mile, it’s my day job as a psychotherapist. The rigorous internal work I’m a part of every day is seriously inspiring and always challenging in ways I never see coming. I need to write songs to process a lot of the pain and sort my shit out. I also go to shows at places like Joe’s Pub (my favorite venue in NYC) as often as possible.