We toured through 36 states and played 80 shows in 10 weeks. It was hard and the music we performed touched so many, it was incredible to play a different city every night and it was exhausting as well. It is a huge country and traveling it by truck you realize you need some days in between to make it to each city with enough time to get to the gig. It took 6 months to book it, but in the end, we made connections for life with the artists and fans we met along the way.” @AcousticMinds

Listen to the interview: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2015/09/24/episode-260-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax

Jacqueline Jax logo photo

by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

The beginning…
JENNI: I began singing at the ripe age of 3 with my identical twin sister Amanda Jo, the guys in the band, Aaron and Josh, also got started very early. We were raised very religiously and sang our first time on stage in church. I feel like I was born to sing. Since I can remember, I have begged my mother to let me sing. My twin and I participated in many musical groups growing up and started with greater gresham kids choir from 3-12 years old. Then, choirs ensemble groups and eventually, our first band, a punk skaw mashup with live horns called “Lucky Pond”. We would endeavour in a barber shop quartet in our late teens and “Acoustic Minds” came to fruition in 2001. It was just a trio of voices and acoustic guitars. Many years later, in 2010, is when we linked with Aaron and Josh and it was not until 2012 that we started pushing for a more eclectic sound. We wanted big bass, synths and a more EDM dance vibe, but still wanted to incorporate our songwriting and soulful vocals into these new eclectic songs.

My personal definition of success is…
AMANDA: Booking a 10 week tour across the U.S. and completing it without wanting to come home. We toured through 36 states and played 80 shows in 10 weeks. It was hard and the music we performed touched so many, it was incredible to play a different city every night and it was exhausting as well. It is a huge country and traveling it by truck you realize you need some days in between to make it to each city with enough time to get to the gig. It took 6 months to book it, but in the end, we made connections for life with the artists and fans we met along the way. Also, we are really proud of us for changing our genre and not giving up on each other in the process. There are so many vultures out there that want a piece of you, of your music and of your spirit. To be able to create music with people that want the best for the overall is priceless.

My overall professional and personal goal is…
JENNI: To be heard and to get our music out there and see how it affects the world and to be relevant. It would also be to strive to surpass my dreams and passions, and at the end of the day,  to be able to pay the bills while doing so. It is such a pay off to move other people with our music, that is really what we do this for.

AMANDA: To be happy!

We challenge ourselves to move forward towards my goal by…
1) Continuing to learn about our music and try to stand out as something different and unique.
2) Keeping good attitude while going through the ups and downs of the industry.
3) Absorbing as much inspiration from everything possible. Paying attention in life and thinking deeply about feelings, relationships, politics, the world, the environment and what it means to be human.

I am most afraid of…
JOSH: Putting all my eggs into the basket of music and having them all break. I am afraid of being left without anymore eggs. But at this point, it is all worth it and I will continue to push on.

JENNI: not being heard. That all this music and hard work will not pay off. I know in my heart of hearts, this music deserves a larger platform, but that does not mean doors automatically open for anyone. It is a fine line of pumping yourself up and hoping in the end the music speaks for itself.

We live in Portland…
JENNI: Well, three of us were born and raised in Portland since Joshy is a transplant, although we do not hold it against him! The music scene in Portland is very eclectic. On any given night, you can hear rock, country, folk, bluegrass, metal and what are calling our sound as soul/womp or soul-tronic. On any giver night, you can cruise downtown, whether that is for a dance party in Chinatown, a rock show in SW, or some yummy food in SE. Portland has so much to offer, there are fun themed parties all around. Plus, if you are into nature or outdoors events, we have several park concerts and larger music events, like MusicfestNW, the Blues Festival, Rose Festival, The Brewfest, The Bite of Oregon. The Band likes to have dinner parties, like a lot!! Which includes good food, company and music. We tend to lay low when we are not performing so these get togethers are a nice way to unwind, catch up with pals and most fo the time get pretty rowdy.

I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
JENNI: Beyonce! That is easy! She is a huge inspiration and I admire her tenacity as a woman in the industry, taking care of her own and being relevant and demanding her voice to be heard. She steps out of the norm every single record and brings something new and hyphy to her songs. If it was not her, it would be Sia. I have been inspired by Sia since 2001, when she first started. I heard her perform in Portland at the Roseland with Zero 7. She was young and so powerful, but we instantly knew she was a star. Fast forward 15 years later and she is taking over the industry with her badass songs. I feel like she pushes the envelop and brings the unique vocal changes that the world needs and loves to hear!

JENNI: This song was inspired by a young man named Devonte Hart. He was photographed at a protest rally in Portland after the Ferguson incident occurred. Having known the Hart family for years in the tight family music community in Portland, we were very touched by this family, especially Devonte. Here was this 12 year old with the biggest heart and hopes for the world. Understanding from a young age his role in this big world, wanting nothing, but to share love and spread hope and light to all who crossed his path. He oozed positivity and love for mankind. He was the direct inspiration for this song and music video idea.

JENNI: The band was rehearsing at Aaron’s for a TV performance coming up later that month in December of last year. We were feeling good about the rehearsal and decided to write something near the end. The song came very quickly, Aaron on piano, humming some melodies, and me hearing the hook and writing furiously on my iphone lyrics that were jumping onto the page. We knew after about 20 minutes we had something very special. I remember saying to Aaron and my sis Amanda : “Let’s write something darker like Sia would, with a sprinkle of light and hope.” We all laughed, but in the end, it really does sound like something Sia would sing, and that is something we are very proud of.

DSC_3672RfogYou can expect a lot from us…
JOSH: You can expect our music to be different, that is for sure. With four people putting in input, it leads for things to be very diverse. We all have different styles, but similar tastes in music. We strive to make something that has not been heard before, while maintaining a sense of familiarity for the listener. We realized we cannot make the most abstract music known to man and expect the masses to enjoy it. All the while, we hope that the listener can relate with our lyrics. We are just like everyone else, we just want to share and speak about our feelings.

How do we feel about the music business…
JENNI:  I think the music business is somewhat of a rat race to be heard. If you make the right connections or are in the right place at the right time, I truly believe anything is possible. But without those connections, you can feel a bit sidelined not knowing how far your music is being felt and if the music will ever be heard by the masses.

The music business have a lot of pros and cons…
AMANDA: Many judgements and loss of many close friends are the main cons since this business can be brutal and it takes a toll on your relationships and spirit, as most of us have heard “it is lonely on the top”. This is very true for the music in general. You have a lot of connections in life and you should hold on to them as best as you can, but in all fairness, being a musician is like an extreme sport. Only the strong survive and talent, hard work and determination do not always land where you want to go.


We overcome the hurdles and pitfalls coming along the music business by…
AMANDA: Staying true to the music and trying to have each others back no matter what.

We have a weird relationship with social media…
JOSH: Social media is a love/hate kind of relationship, It is great for being able to reach a huge amount of people from a laptop or a phone. It is nice to be able to spread our music all around the world in minutes. On the other end, it is exhausting. Keeping up with the current trends and competition is really hard. Constantly posting to keep people engaged, having what seems like huge amounts of support one minute, then feeling completely alone the next. It really is a complicated situation. We try not to fall victim to getting attached to the ideas of being socially “accepted/famous”, but when you are forced to constantly check up on likes and comments, looking for the next follower, posting selfies is really complicated. Funny thing, we are in the process of writing a song about this.

Releasing singles vs an album…
JOSH: Over the time, we have collected a very large amount of stock pile of music. This is a very relevant topic for every art its. Singles? Albums? It is really hard to decide on how to handle this. On one end, singles are fun and you get the immediate gratification of feedback. On the other end, albums are extremely rewarding as well. it feels good to create a congruent piece of work that reflects how we have felt over the years. It will forever be a balance of both, but ultimately, we are really excited for the day that we release our next full length album.

We found a balance being current and trendy and being ourselves…
JOSH: There is definitely a fine line here. It is very important for us to pay attention to being current or trendy. That is the nature of the business. We fear that if we do not pay attention to this, we will not be successful. After all, this is a business whether we like it or not. At the same time, it is something we enjoy to forget as well. This is our passion, our love and our blood and tears. It will always be most important to stay true to ourselves. None of us would be doing this is we could not do or create what we want. All in all, it is all about balance.

Acoustic Minds Social Media Links:
Bandcamp: https://acousticminds1.bandcamp.com/
Personal website: www.acousticmindsmusic.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/acousticminds
Twitter: www.twitter.com/acousticminds
Instagram: www.instagram.com/dayinthelifeof_acousticminds