CS: How does “Labor Of Love” differ from Fruition’s previous releases?
On this album we didn’t really give ourselves a limit or a specific time to finish the record. It was all funded by the band and then eventually funded by Randm Records. We went into the studio and let our musical creativity speak to us. “Labor Is Love” is probably the best representation of what to expect when come see Fruition in the live setting.
The members come from different musical backgrounds. Was there an instant connection between all the members?
I went to a show with our original bass player, and we saw Mimi (Naja) performing and I said, “We’re going to play with her!”. This was all before I was a member of Fruition. Then after meeting her and singing with Kellen for the first time, we all knew we had something. We definitely felt a great musical connection right away.
Any tracks off of “Labor Of Love” that have special meaning to you?
Definitely the title track! Everyone worked hard to really get the sound on this album the way we wanted. “Death Comes Knockin'” was a special tune. It’s the first time one of us had written a song, and had a different member sing lead. I wrote it and thought Mimi would sound great singing lead. And when she did, it completely transformed the track.
You had $100 in your pocket and traveled from Idaho to Portland, Oregon. What made you go on this adventure?
I was around 23 or 24 years old and this girl broke my heart. I knew then it was the time for a fresh start. I got really lucky along the way and couch surfed throughout my travels.
I got by busking in the streets of Portland. My philosophy is if you know what want to do with your whole heart then go for it, and the universe will provide.
I just knew that I wanted to make music and have my songs be heard. So I decided hit the road and it is definitely the best decision I made. If it weren’t for me taking a chance I would never have gotten to the place where I am now. I am grateful and humbled being able to do what I love and make a living making art.
What are your all-time favorite albums?
Well, it’s hard to say, but a few that have changed me are, Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” along with his album, “Blonde On Blonde”. I’m a huge fan of The Beatles so EVERYTHING by them! A few others that have made an impact on me musically is Townes Van Zandt’s’, “Live At The Old Quarter” and Tom Waits, “Rain Dogs”. Spoon’s, “Kill The Moonlight”, is also a great record that came out in the early 2000’s.
We highlighted some of your top records. If you could name a few of your musical heroes who would they be?
Also a hard question to answer cause there are so many. Jimi Hendrix, and Skip James are some of my heroes along with John Lennon. I’ve also always looked up to the attitude of Neil Young and his dedication to following his heart when making his art.
Gillian Welch is another, and in my mind, maybe the best modern songwriter alive. Everything she puts out is an instant classic.
I’m also really obsessed with Mason Jennings, especially his recent work.
You have over 100 songs that didn’t fit with any of your other groups (The Bell Boys & Rose City Thorns). On your album “I’m A Rambler, I’m A Fool”, you picked out twelve tracks. How did this album come to light?
I had some free time on my hands and was living with Tyler (now Fruition’s drummer), and we would just set up and record when we could. After a handful of songs came about, I figured we better make an album out of it. In the end I think it turned out to be a great album, and I’m really proud of it.