An Interview with Tanner Jones of You Blew It!

Words by Nick Hodgins
Photo by Nick Karp

You Blew It! is doing what they do best, and they plan to keep doing just that. With a third album under their belt via Topshelf Records and a country-wide tour with Say Anything and The Front Bottoms well underway, the Florida rockers are blowing up the emo-revival scene.

The type of album that begs to be screamed along with on a long drive, You Blew It’s 2014 release, Keep Doing What You’re Doing, is an emotional journey of constant second-guessing and inner-conflicts. Produced by Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It) KDWYD follows what seems to be a natural growth both musically and lyrically since the band’s debut album in 2012 Grow Up, Dude and their 2013 follow-up The Past In Present.

This wasn’t You Blew It’s first time playing NJ, the band has somewhat of a history with the fans here after cancelling a New Brunswick basement show a few years back for the opportunity to support Motion City Soundtrack on their tour.

But the crowd at Starland held no grudges Friday night, as You Blew It! proceeded to kick off the evening full of raw emotion and energy which held strong throughout the sets to follow. All the bands intermingled on stage, frequently making appearances during one another’s sets – from running out on stage to shake a tambourine, to hosting an impromptu graduation ceremony for a fan.

We had a chance to catch up with Tanner Jones of You Blew It! who was gracious enough to spare a few moments amidst beer bongs and birthday celebrations backstage, where we discussed the most recent album, the band’s love for Weezer and an annoying middle school boy who managed to inspire a song off the new album.

Did you go into the album with a certain theme in mind?

TANNER: I always felt like we were chasing a sound for Grow Up, Dude. It turned out awesome, we’re super proud of that record, but we stood in a room and we’d play something and say ‘no it doesn’t sound enough like ‘x’ or it doesn’t sound enough like ‘y’ and we’d limit ourselves a lot with that record. Whereas with KDWYD we stood in a room and we did what we wanted to do, and it felt right, we kind of followed the flow. So as far as the theme goes, we weren’t too concerned with a theme, just kind of doing what we wanted to do versus chasing something.

Where do you pull inspiration from for lyrics?

I try to pull lyrics from like, anytime anything sticks out more than just a conversation or a night, is something I’ll probably write lyrics about, whether it’s fucking stupid or not. Like one of the songs is about this middle school kid who kept splashing my girlfriend and I at a state park. I was like ‘man that kid is such an asshole, I’m gonna write about it,’ so I wrote about it, and there’s a song on the record about it called “Rock Springs.”

You guys are releasing a Weezer tribute EP called You Blue It, how’d you pick the songs? How’d you narrow it down?

It was hard, we listen to the record all the time in the van and we always get stoked on “Surf Wax America” and “In the Garage,” so those were two that were for sure. And we felt that it was kind of necessary to open the EP the way the record opens with “My Name is Jonas” and close the record the way it closes with “Only in Dreams.” We decided to choose a b-side just because it kind of felt right. The third great Weezer record is all the b-sides from Pinkerton and the Blue Album, so we decided pay homage to those.

Do you have a favorite? Pink versus Blue?

Personally mine is Pinkerton, like Blue has the hits, like the cuts that are incredible, that you put on at parties and everyone sings along to them. Pinkerton is a record; it’s for sure the better record.

So how long have you been writing music?

As a person I’ve been writing music since I was probably thirteen, so ten years. And the band has been writing music since 2009 so five years.

What does the future look like?

I don’t know, I wish I could tell you, I wish I knew that myself. We welcome change, but we’re afraid of change as well. Just because what we’re doing is stuff that we love to do, I wish I could say that we’re just going to keep doing the same thing we’re doing for the rest of our lives. But who knows, that’s unrealistic.

Who knows, maybe you’ll put out an album without guitars.

(laughs) I can tell you what I hope will happen. I hope the future holds us being able to do the same thing we’ve been doing for the past five years, like hanging out in basements and living rooms and playing guitar with friends. Hopefully we just get to hang with friends.

Got any summer highlights coming up or have happened already?

Tomorrow actually, we’re playing New York City at Times Square, the Best Buy Theater. We’ve played New York before but it’s been like the Webster Hall Basement or Party Expo, so just like these off-the wall places, nothing against them or anything, Webster Hall is an incredible place. But playing in TIMES Square, like, I went there as a thirteen year old with my parents to vacation, and now I get to stand there on a stage and strum a guitar in front of 2,000 kids. That’s the most insane thing, definitely a tour highlight.

Pick up the new album here, and see tour dates here! | KDWYD