Q&A With The Madison Letter’s Clayton Jones

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The Madison Letter hams it up with the crowd after a show. (Click to enlarge.)

A couple of weeks ago, we interviewed The Madison Letter frontman Clayton Jones for this Tunes from the Dam blog. Now, here are a few more nuggets from the multi-talented musician:

Q: You met in college. How old were you when you started The Madison Letter?
A: I would’ve been 18 still at the time, just about to turn 19. I’m the youngest in the band. I’m 23 now. Tyler (Ross) is turning 24 in a couple of weeks here and Mitch (Schrock) is 25, so there’s one year difference between all of us.

You all graduated from Greenville College (Greenville, Ill.). What did you guys study there?
It’s definitely known for its music program. I studied music business and the other guys studied audio engineering. Industry stuff we can tie into our craft.

How has having a college education helped you guys?
Honestly, you really don’t need a college degree to pursue music. I would say studying music helps out most if you’re going into teaching, but studying music in school I think for me — just the relationships you build with people there who are up and coming and learning their craft at the same time as you — is the most valuable thing. But you definitely have to take what you learn in school and apply it. Music is all about just doing it, you know. You’ve got to be out playing, out writing. You know if I were a songwriting major or something like that, either I write great songs or not, you know. And it’s the guy that’s writing the great songs who is going to get the publishing deal.

How long have you been based out of Nashville?
We moved down here last summer. We all graduated school back in May of ’13 and moved down as soon as we all could, and so it’s going on a year right now.

How have you built your network in Nashville so far?
We moved down here along with several other friends from school who graduated our year as well, people getting into audio engineering or booking, or what-not. So all these people entering the business at the same time as you so (helps you) build up your team over time. Everybody’s kind of making their own advances in the industry and you can feed off each other and stay friends and help each other out.

What’s the worst thing going on in pop music right now?
(Thinks a while…) I guess with a lot of the dancy club songs and stuff, definitely the lyrics. Within pop music sometimes lyrics can get watered down. There’s not stuff that really has much of a substance to it, you know. But there are a lot of songs on top 40 radio that do. I think that’s one of the easy things to slip into; you know, the easy listening real basic lyrics is what people connect with quickest as well.

How does The Madison Letter rise above that?
I think being able to blend those two things — having a song with substance but a song that’s super catchy and really selling the lyric of the song through the melody is definitely the best scenario.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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