Jeremy Enigk :: The AD Interview

Truly one of the most unique voices to come out of the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s, Jeremy Enigk crafted a reputation as a dynamic and emotive singer fronting the band Sunny Day Real Estate. His first solo record was released back in 1996, but it took another decade for him to return to solo work. Now he's back with his second solo album in three years, the lovely OK Bear, and he took a moment to sit down with Aquarium Drunkard to talk about improv on the new album, how it feels to be letting go, the legacy of Sunny Day and how he really doesn't mean to offend Ringo, honest.

Aquarium Drunkard: The title of the new album is OK Bear. Can you tell me about the album title?

Jeremy Enigk: Well it's sort of random. The whole record is random, which I like about it. But I was in the studio and joking around with the producers and the guys and doing my imitation of an opera singer singing in my fake Spanish, even though I don't know Spanish, and I sang "vale oso." And they said, "Hey, you just said 'OK bear.'" That basically is Spanish - 'vale oso' - 'OK Bear.' I thought it was rad. So I just stuck with it and it kept coming up during the recording. So, why not? I can't do anything better.

AD: You talk about a random feel to the record. Do you feel this is more of an album in a loose sense? Do the songs have a coherent feel to them or is it a smattering of a lot of things you've been working on grouped together under the heading of an album?

JE: The randomness, what I meant by that, was more the title. And also the cover is a picture of me as a kid and has no connection to any of the songs. But the music itself is all pretty cohesive and I think it sounds like it was recorded in the same place and yeah, there is a cohesiveness there. The way I feel with these collection of songs, it was all one thought.

AD: Has that been a common thing with your solo records?

JE: Yeah, there's always a sort of theme and that's easy to achieve because you're working with a specific producer, a specific time frame and a specific studio. So all these elements come together and create a very specific feel for each record. But going into this record, I had absolutely no ideas, well, maybe three very loose ideas, of what I wanted to do. I flew to Spain and just sort of improvised the record. It seems like it would be pretty random, right? But it ended up actually sounding like a cohesive piece of work. And that's because of the producers.

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