Seeing somebody who is well rounded in both music and poetry is a very interesting site to see. Jesse T. Lieurance has drummed in numerous bands like The Beggar’s Hand, The Artwork Of, and Tiler. He now works with YouTube star Olan Rogers. Recently, I had that chance to talk to him about how he got into music, his project Tiler and how he got into working with Olan.
“Life sucks for everyone a lot of the time. I don’t know if it gets better. Find what you love and do it. Accept others” – Jesse T. Lieurance
By Daniel Solitro
Babetalk: What made you want to be musician and use poetry along with it?
Jesse: For my first birthday my grandma got me one of those little drum sets. She says I used to sit by the record player and dance and tap my foot. I guess it’s just always been inside of me. Listening to bands and going to see them at a concert, I loved it you know. Then as I got a little older, started going to local shows, feeling the energy in the room; it’s amazing, you know? I feel the most alive when I’m playing a show. As far as using my poetry and taking a spoken word approach to things, I just heard someone else do it haha. The first time I heard Dan Smith of Listener I was like, “Damn, this guy isn’t singing or screaming. He’s just talking. I can’t sing or scream that well, but I can talk. And there’s things I want to say.” I honestly don’t seek out spoken word bands, but I’m a huge fan of Listener and Levi the Poet. Plus in school, I never really liked reading, but I loved poetry.
BT: Influences tend to show in music. Who would you cite as influences for writing?
Jesse: Some of my favorite drummers are Aaron Gillespie of Underoath, David Kennedy of The Chariot, Aaron Lunsford of As Cities Burn and Dave Powell of Emery. Lyrically, I love Dan Smith, Levi the Poet, Jordan from La Dispute, and a writer named Tyler Knott Gregson. I’m not always super creative or artsy. Sometimes simplicity is beautiful. Vocally, I listen to people like Josh from The Chariot or Kyle from The Ongoing Concept, and it just sounds like they’re screaming at the top of their lungs – with their own voice. They’re not trying to sound like anything else, or some kind of “technique” or whatever, you know? So if I’m singing, screaming, talking, I just want to sound like me. I love music that I can feel is honest. You can feel when an artist is genuinely doing what they want to do. I actually never tried screaming until I started going to Me Versus I and The Artwork Of shows. Both of those bands really changed my view on music in 2012.
BT: You drum and recite poetry for the band Tiler. How did that come together and how long has it been?
Jesse: My friend passed away in April 2013. I wrote and recorded this song, and my friend played guitar on it, and that was it. I just wanted this one song. Then a few months later I went through something and wanted to record another song. After that I decided to put together a little EP, it’s mostly just me with a friend playing guitar on a song and another friend playing piano on a different song. I played one show by myself. Almost immediately after that happened, I approached Paul of MVI and Anthony of teethforteeth. Anthony said he was a little too busy, but Paul was down. It was kind of just talk for a year. Finally Paul and I got together and wrote the music for thirteen poems I had written. It took maybe five sessions, I’d say less than 30 hours, to write and record the album Burn Victim. I know that both of us are incredibly proud of that album. Paul and I started playing little sets at Grandaire shows. It was awesome. Anthony finally hopped in, and the first time the three of us jammed we fleshed three songs. We were working on something called The Office EP, three songs about a couple growing old together. The song titles were all Michael Scott quote. We wrote about 80% of it and then I moved away. I hope we can finish it some day. The three of us played one Tiler set together, and it was really special.
BT: You were also in the hardcore band The Artwork Of. What was it like to be in that band and write for that genre of music?
Jesse: The Artwork Of was a blast. I love those guys and we had great times. Like I mentioned, before I was in that band they were a big inspiration to me. There was a lot of freedom, and the music was really chaotic. It was a really different escape for me than Tiler is; it let me feel and release a different kind of energy and emotion.
BT: How would you say you have grown as a musician?
Jesse: I’ve been playing for 12 years now and I started in church. It was good in the sense that I was playing in a live band at a younger age, but the music is pretty boring so I’m glad I grew out of it haha. I mean *laughs*. I’m not entirely sure what to say here because I’ll never be one to say how great I am. I’ve met and watched a lot of great musicians who have pushed me and helped me grow, and I’m grateful for that.
BT: Recently, you moved to Tennessee to work with Olan Rogers. How did you obtain that opportunity and what exactly do you do with him?
Jesse: Yeah dude so. For anyone who doesn’t know, Olan is a YouTuber who tells stories and makes sketch comedies. I’ve been watching his videos for five years and I’ve really always admired the guy. He opened an apparel store called The Soda Parlor, also specializing in craft sodas and floats, and I went down for the grand opening. I volunteered, busted my ass off, and was just super friendly. I got along well with the team. We stayed in touch and when the clothing print shop moved from CA to TN, the co-owner of the company Colter offered me the job. He calls me the shop manager, but I like to say assistant to the print shop manager. We’re big The Office fans. I look up to both Olan and Colter with the highest of respect, and I’m really glad to call them and the rest of these guys my friends.
BT: Does Tiler have any new work/plans for this year?
Jesse: I just put out a song ON (11/04) out of the blue. It’s just me recorded on my phone. It’s actually all singing, which is weird for me. I like singing, and it felt right for the song. I mentioned The Office EP, I would love to do that. Paul and I also talked about writing two really heavy, angry songs. Anthony was down with that too. I’m not sure man; it’s hard living so far away.
BT: Anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Jesse: Check out my boy Olan Rogers’ videos and buy a t-shirt. I’ll make it for you. Go to Grandaire shows, you’ll never find a scene like in Hammonton. Life sucks for everyone a lot of the time. I don’t know if it gets better. Find what you love and do it. Accept others. Thanks, thank you.
Last modified: March 2, 2016