Album: Modern Minds and Pastimes (2007)


  • "Jenny" is just a name. A name that scans well in songs. She's a conglomeration of people and experiences had by the band, according to keyboardist Ben Romans. "A lot of people are like, 'Okay, who's Jenny?'" he laughs. "It's more a representation of anyone being fickle. I mean, for heaven's sake, I've been that way before. So it's just more a song about not being able to make a decision. It's more a song about that kind of moment that hangs in the middle of the air; is it gonna happen or is it not gonna happen? It's pretty much that. Everybody can relate to that, no matter what it is. It doesn't have to be necessarily a relationship, it can be anything. It can be career related. It's just about that moment of uncertainty, when you think you have something and you don't, or you don't have it and then you do, and so forth and so on.
    But that was a fun song. That was written with some friends of mine in London, actually a day off of the tour, which is really cool. I mean, there's something about London, there's just such a rich history of rock and roll. But also it's a really well-crafted song, obviously. I think people in England really take pride in really crafting melodic type of songs. So just being there alone kind of obviously influenced the song, and writing with the people. And Jez Ashurst, a friend of mine, is also writing on that song. He's in a band called Farah, it's a really great band. But they value the same thing, so we have a lot in common. So the song kind of forwarded itself out pretty fast."
  • Although he contributes both lyrically and musically to the band, Ben's first love has always been composition. It wasn't until college that he sort of forced himself to begin writing lyrics. And now he finds himself caught in the middle. But don't think he doesn't like it! His story: "I've always come from a musical place before anything else, and geeking out. I liked composition before I actually got into songwriting. But I think I've always found myself kind of caught in between. I still do. I love composition, but I've always wanted to listen to songs that people like. I always enjoyed secretly listening to the radio when I was supposed to be doing something else. But I think that also kind of pushed me to be where I am. It's why I like Electric Light Orchestra, for example. Those things that to me are kind of scrambled, on a parallel with the place I came from growing up. But I did make a really conscious effort to really dive into the lyric world in college, just because I wanted to do something else. I think I might have gotten a little burned out on the compositional side, and I just really wanted to kind of get myself a beat down.
    And especially with the new record that we're working on, it's very lyrically charged. A lot of it comes from the titles. We're all fans of anybody that can already grab your attention from an intriguing title. Tom Petty does it a lot. I mean, he'll write 'Learning To Fly,' and already you're kind of intrigued. And especially this album I would say we're trying to be as broad as we can. Because I think that the more broad you can go, the more people you can relate to. And it's not an easy task." (Check out the full Ben Romans interview.)


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