Gary Jules InterviewAugust 13, 2010 by: Shauna O'Donnell
It’s a very Mad World for Gary Jules: the Interview
By: Natalie Perez
Singer/songwriter Gary Jules, best known for his one hit wonder of a hit “Mad World” a cover version by the 80s rock sensation Tears for Fears in which was recorded with friend Michael Andrews for the 2001 film Donnie Darko. This one hit single has made Gary a rising star for many years to come. Since making his smashing debut after “Mad World”, Gary had released a few albums here and there; “Greetings from the Side” (1998) “Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets” (2001) his “Self-Titled” efforts in 2006 and most recent addition “Bird” released back in 2008.
But music wasn’t always his specialty he’s also had several television appearances playing himself of course on such shows as “RI:SE” “Friday Night with Jonathan Ross” and late night programs “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and “Last Call with Carson Daly”. Through it all Gary is just your typical musician just living his own life as any other musician would want to live out. After playing a solid set to a decent crowd of on-lookers he took some time to talk with me about where it all began and where it will all end up.
1. So it’s been 6 years since I last saw you, saw you back when you played at the Troubadour in Hollywood in 2004. What have you been up to since then?
Gary: Well I made two other records. Let’s see in 2004 I was on tour all year and in August that same year my son was born so that’s been my major thing since then. In 2006 I made another record called “Gary Jules” and did a lot of stuff with Grey’s Atomy. So just toured a lot but tried to stay home as much as possible I moved from the West Coast to the East Coast I now live in Ashville, North Carolina built my own personal studio in my house. I also scored a documentary film for a PBS documentary so that’s it. Just making music and being a daddy.
2. Since then you’ve released two other albums a “Self-Titled” (2006) and the “Bird” (2008) album what do you have on the horizon?
Gary: I’m making another record right now so kinda in the situation of trying to figure out how to do it. Like in this day and age sometimes people make it themselves and then put it out or sometimes you make a record and then see what label it’s going to aim towards. So since “Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets” (2001) I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing and have all the right songs and have the right team to get it to work properly.
3. Why is it so difficult to find your albums in stores?
Gary: (Laughs) When I came back from Europe in 2004 and “Mad World” was really big I had a manager and had the whole package it wasn’t really my own thing so I put my records out on CDBaby and on iTunes so that was the perfect way to have total control of my music. So when we were all over the world on tour I was able to choose when I got to see my family or when I was going to be home. Like fifteen years ago if you didn’t have a record label and didn’t stay on the road all the time you didn’t eat so nowadays it’s done totally different so you get to do what you wanted to. Getting to spend time with your family at home putting your music online, working how and when you want. You get to make your own choices. The machine I use is so simple that I don’t deal with physical distribution at the moment but that’s all going to change.
4. Tell me about the popular cover “Mad World”, that release has made you a one hit wonder.
Gary: “Mad World” my friend and I had done it and recorded it in early 2001 and my friend Mike Andrews had done the score for the film all of the spooky eerie music in the backdrop at the same time we had also finished making “Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets”. So he wanted to do a song from the 80s and do it with the same style the movie was, so we made it in 15 minutes and it became what it did. It was really popular with people but nobody thought it was going to be anything and all of the record labels had turned us down in the beginning. Then a couple of years later all wanted to grab it so it was a very funny experience.
5. Besides being involved with music, you’ve also had several T.V. appearances as well as had your music featured in a lot of them, tell me about that.
Gary: In the last couple of years it’s become a thing for independent musicians because they own their recording’s and haven’t sold them or they aren’t owned by record labels so they can get their music into movies and television and not have a bunch of veracity or a bunch of people mixed in. I was very lucky partially because of “Donnie Darko” since I had done that beforehand. I think my music leads itself to certain situations where people made themselves emotionally variable because my songs are really quiet and really soft and if they play on the radio while you’re driving on the freeway it might not do its thing. But when you’re sitting and see someone getting un-plugged from life support in the throat of death that’s where my material settles right in.
6. You had mentioned that you’re currently disorganized what’s the ordeal with that?
Gary: Well… as a record cycle comes to its ending point you make all of the changes you want to make to your machine. My thing is making changes completely from the ground up and having other people work for me so that’s always confusing for me.
I can’t even tell you that to even get my own frequent flyer miles correctly or even getting cars rented or hotel rooms checked in all of that is just a complete nightmare. But from six months from now if you talked to me again, everything will be like clockwork. You will think that you’re talking to Mariah Carey I will be on point. I won’t be wearing heels though there bad for my back.
7. What can be expected from Gary Jules for the remainder of 2010 into 2011?
Gary: Well I’m going to be making a new record and having a new kid so probably be doing those things and hanging out inside a lot. So the whole machine should be up-and-running in early 2011, so I’ll likely have two more records out and just be touring a lot.
8. Thanks for doing the interview, anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Gary: Uh…no thank you to everybody I’m very grateful to be playing music for a living makes my son think I’m cool.