Hi Jarad, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks for having me! I’ve been fairly smooth sailing for the most part. There are the occasional rough waters, of course, but overall I find the passageway to remain navigable amidst all the pain, beauty, and everything in-between.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Standing Upon This Array”?
This is a song I wrote in the Spring of 2020. The words Standing Upon This Array came out and I didn’t really know what they meant and that’s what the whole song became about. About not knowing, but going on singing anyway.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
My friend Carsten Aniksdal and I actually shot it a few years back for an entirely different single I released in 2017 called “Drip It Slow.” We didn’t end up using the footage for that one but I loved the end roller skating fireworks scene so much that I decided to use it for the “Standing Upon This Array” single.
The new release comes out next month. Why did you end up naming the album after this song in particular?
The name seemed to encompass the spectrum of emotions and moods coming through in the songs quite well. To me the title is an open question and the songs within the album are as much of an answer as I could give.
Your previous album, Ancient Wave, came out in 2013. Was there any specific reason why it took so long for a follow-up album?
I began working on a new album in 2015 and ’16 but things fell apart. I ended up moving from Portland, OR to Minneapolis, MN and releasing two singles from that project, All Our Might and Drip It Slow. I was also working on a book of poetry during that time called Myriad Circles, Myriad Storms which I ended up self-publishing in 2018.
How was the recording and writing process?
The original plan was to record a different album with my band but the pandemic changed those plans. We actually had dates scheduled to begin recording in-studio the very weekend everything shut down in mid-March. I ended up shifting focus back to some of the 2015/16 songs I wasn’t able to finish while fleshing out some newer ones like “Standing Upon This Array”, “Rain Your Love”, and “Peace Come In”.. whose moodiness seemed to fit well with the earlier ones.
I wrote those earlier songs during a pretty difficult time. Having moved out of where my partner and daughter were living and amidst mounting financial frustrations, I began writing as a way to feel better and understand what was happening in my life and how I wanted to move forward. Songs like “Something Beautiful”, “Let’s Get Closer (We Could Die)”, and “Whitman-Rainbow” were written during this time.
The new album was produced by Kai Anders and Josh Parlanti. How did the three of you come to work together?
I met Kai through a studio space he used to rent out to my band. He would pop his head in sometimes during our practices and say he loved what we were doing. We started talking and making plans about recording the band in that same space, just down the hall, where he was building out a proper recording studio. When the pandemic came Kai lost the studio space and moved up to Grand Rapids, MN where he grew up. Sometime that spring I rang him up to see if he wanted to work on a different kind of album—where I would send him demos of songs I had worked up. He ended up bringing in a fellow producer and engineer, Josh Parlanti, to help add new hooks on top of what I recorded or replace my parts with something more interesting and higher quality. They would hole-up in Grand Rapids in this make-shift studio for hours. I encouraged them to inhabit the songs and trust wherever the spirit took them and to send me back each track they worked on. I always blown away by what they came up with and eventually, once vaccinations were available months later, I made the trip up to Grand Rapids where we were finally able to listen together and mix everything in the same room.
What aspect of your own life did you get to explore on this record?
The record encompasses quite a wide arc of my life—I’d say from 2010-2020. So much of it is about navigating a tempestuous relationship, about trying to be a good father, and about trying to appreciate and share as many emotions—whether it be joy, ambition, yearning, despair or whatever along the way—and eventually come to a place of peace with it all.
I’ve heard some comparisons to another Minneapolis musician, Mason Jennings. Has living in Minneapolis had an influence on your music at all?
I first time I heard Mason Jennings was on a mixed tape from my then-girlfiend back in 2008. The song was “Darkness Between the Fireflies” and his voice and lyrics and melodic sweetness really grabbed me. He’s certainly been a strong influence. I grew up in rural South Dakota so I tend to relate strongly to songwriters who grew up in the Midwest. Of course, Bob Dylan was a very early influence and probably the artist who hit me the hardest. But also Jeff Tweedy, Conor Oberst, and Adrianne Lenker. I would even throw Neil Young in there even thought he grew up a bit north in Winnipeg.
What else is happening next in Jarad Miles’ world and where can people find you online?
My band Jarad Miles & the Ancient Waves will be playing shows again starting in July in support of this record. We also have plans of revisiting and making that record we almost recorded back in March of 2020, but we’ll see. Hopefully this fall and winter we can get recording again so we have something ready by next spring.
You can find me at jaradmiles.com.
The new album can be pre-saved at https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/jaradmiles/standing-upon-this-array-6