We all know by now that lots of great cover bands come from the Carroll County region, that’s what inspired CarrollCountylive.com, but we also have some awesome original acts thriving here who have gained regional and national notoriety. Jonathan Plevyak is one of those artists.
He is not only a great up and coming pop artist from right here in Carroll County, but he has recorded his first full length album, a video and opened for national acts; all before reaching drinking age. Fresh out of High School Plevyak is on the music scene fast track. He will be at Rafael’s in Westminster this Friday. We give you your first look at a hometown boy making good. Good music that is, in this interview.
You can see Jonathan for yourself at Rafael’s this Friday Sept. 26th.
Who have you opened for? Did you get to meet those guys? What was it like?
Jonathan: We got to open for Smash Mouth and Questlove from The Roots (Jimmy Fallon’s tonight show band) at the Howard Theatre in DC. It was an incredible experience. They were all so nice. They could’ve saw a couple of teenagers opening for them and been embarrassed, but when they heard us during sound check I think there was a strong mutual respect. Smash Mouth was one of my favorite bands when I was younger so it was a dream come true. Going from playing in front of 50 people at a coffeehouse to 1,000 at a theatre was a spectacle. We also got to open for This the Rescue at the 8×10 in Baltimore. They are a great local rock band that recently just played in front of 60k at Creation Festival.
Listening to your music, it sounds like you influences are John Mayer, or the Allman Brothers, Is that right? Tell us a little about what your musical influences are.
Jonathan: I would say John Mayer is probably my biggest influence. His music inspired me to become better at my craft. I also love Coldplay and Phillip Phillips. Even though my music is pretty laid back, a lot of my influences are from heavier bands like Foo Fighters and AC/DC.
Do you write your songs alone and bring in rough cuts to the studio or do you collaborate?
Jonathan: I usually write by myself in my basement and then bring the song to my band mates and we take it from there. So a little bit of both, but thankfully I have some extremely talented friends I can make music with.
Does your writing change with the influences you encounter?
Jonathan: It really does all the time. It’s so exciting to see what’s on the horizon next. I started out with this really laid back sound. Then on my debut album that’s coming out, I went for a super upbeat, fun, and anthemic folk-rock kind of vibe. And now I’m getting into this kind of UK free flowing hip/hop type sound, like Ed Sheeran or the 1975 which is pretty cool. But I think overall what you hear on my debut album “Long Way Home” is my sound. That’s me. So I think there is a lot more of that to come.
You self produce?
Jonathan: A little. I love the production side of music and being in the studio and just having the ability and options to get literally any sound possible. But with the new album I was able to work with two Incredible Producers/Engineers; Paul Mercer from Mobtown Studios and Conrad Osipowicz from Blueroom Productions. These guys challenged me and came up with great ideas that really made the songs come to life.
How long have you been playing? Writing?
Jonathan: I’ve been playing guitar for 6 years but only writing and singing seriously for about 2.
When you perform live do you try to reproduce the recorded version of your songs or do let it flow as you go?
Jonathan: A little of both. I like to keep the energy and dynamics of the studio version, but being able to extend and jam on songs and interact with the crowd live is so fun and exciting. That’s when the music comes alive.
If there were no limitations on your music career, paint a picture of what Jonathan Plevyak looks like in the next ten years. Is he playing stadiums? What is the sound like? What kind of videos and projects is he into? Who is he collaborating with? Where does he fit in the industry? Who is his main audience?
Jonathan: I hope so. Only time will tell. Really excited to see what happens when I take my music nationwide, which is happening soon. At the end of the day, just to see people coming out to shows and singing and dancing and having the time of their lives to the music is all I want in life. There is truly no greater feeling in the world then that. I’m not sure what my sound will be like in 10 years, but it will always be honest and fun. I would love to collaborate with some of my favorite musicians/producers one day. And I would say my audience will still be what it is right now. The College + age group.
What should potential Rafael’s customers expect when they come to see you at Rafael’s? Also, a lot of your readership I over 35; how would you appeal to that older audience?
Jonathan: A lot of music. Our sets at most shows usually run around 45 minutes to an hour. We are playing for 3 hours at Rafael’s. So expect a lot of jamming. It’s going to be fun. I’m typically not a big fan of covering stuff, but we’ll slip a couple in there. We might also bring a few special guests to play with us. I think when the older audience hears the music; I think they’ll be hooked. It’s going to be a fun night and the fact it’s during midnight madness adds to the fun.
Check out the video for his single ” Fade Out” released last year.