Premiere: Feel the Connection with Indie Pop Duo AVERLY
Though Jonny Carroll and Jonathan Class first came together as AVERLY from a message “out of the blue” a year ago, the seeds for their relationship had already been sown years before, when the two met through a mutual friend. It all started with a single, “Patient,” and soon what had begun as an artist-producer relationship evolved into so much more.
Jonny Carroll: I knew I had to work with Jon from what I heard him working on and a few different artists I listen to, so I emailed him and we orchestrated for some time in May. I came with a demo of “Patient,” and he flushed out a few ideas before we met up to talk about what direction we wanted to take it. He introduced me to the artist LAUV, and I just became obsessed. My roots were more folk, singer-songwriter-y, but that wasn’t necessarily where I wanted to stay at; it was just part of the evolutionary process. I loved pop music growing up (one of my first records was Super Trouper by ABBA), and I felt like up to that point most of my career I’d just been suppressing the fact that I unashamedly loved pop music. So I’d decided to start going in this direction when we met up and started working on the song together. It took us 3 days to track “Patient,” and by the end it had been such a collaborative effort.
And regardless of who said “let’s start a band” first, it’s clear that both Jonny and Jon were on the same page.
Jon Class: For a long time I’d been working with other bands [as a producer], to the point where I wanted something a bit more my own. And pop music has taken such an interesting turn in the last 5-10 years with the advent of streaming, to the point where there’s so much creative stuff in pop music that I don’t think existed, nor could it exist, in pop music 15 years ago. It’s no longer the lowest common denominator. There’s a lot of intricacy and specialness that people put into pop music now and I just gravitate towards that, towards a hook. There was never a brand of pop music that I could really identify with until the last 5 years. When Jonny and I got together I already felt like I wanted to do something [more than just produce], but I didn’t want to write the songs and I certainly didn’t want to sing. Here’s this guy who already writes music, sings, and trusts me enough to go ape on all of the production. He tends to like a lot of what I’m doing and his strengths complement mine. It’s surreal that something would work out as well as that did, and obviously it won’t be that natural every time, but once is enough to know when something’s there and worth looking into.
Something worth looking into, indeed. Carroll and Class didn’t blindly jump into things though after this initial session, and instead took a month or so just to think it over. Upon hearing the dreamy earworm that is “Patient,” however, it’s clear this Indianapolis-based duo made the right decision. Their second single, while a bit more indulgent (“joltier” even), is further proof of this. The chemistry between the two gentlemen is undeniable.
We both have the ability to speak each other’s language without necessarily being fluent in it, and that certainly helps.
So what should we be expecting from AVERLY here in the next year or so?
Our current strategy is one song at a time. [Right now] singles are the way to go, especially with the genre that we’re falling into. What’s really important for us is not just releasing strong singles but also releasing really strong videos with each and every single. I think our listeners can pretty much count on that. Garrett Johnston headed up the production on the video for “Patient” and just blew us away with what he and his team were able to achieve, so we plan to work with them as much as they’re willing to, with 5 songs in this particular cycle. And we know that plans always change, but we’d love to see ourselves by the end of this calendar year flirting with the idea of doing some shows, [especially] with the majority of these songs out.
Even after this cycle is done, our plan is to continue writing and releasing [songs] as they come. If we get to a point where we’re looking at certain bigger opportunities coming our way then we’ll discuss the idea of an EP or an album. At some point in our career, I’d love to see us making that kind of art, but right now we’re taking it fast and loose making these experimental alternative pop songs. That allows each song to have such a life of its own, in a way that an album wouldn’t necessarily be able to warrant.
For many of your top 40 Spotify artists, an album is more like a playlist from one artist anyway. And the fun thing about releasing singles in that way is that instead of having these big large jumps between era to era with albums, you get to watch the evolution happen slowly. It’s more fluid and easier to digest as well. Of course that’ll probably change next week.
One of the truly great things about AVERLY is that both Carroll and Class come from different backgrounds, and as such have different influences, not just in music but in general. Yet, the two are able to come together to form one incredibly cohesive unit.
If there’s a certain kind of art that sparks something in someone else and nothing in you, that doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong or poor; it just means that you don’t understand it. In fact, a lot of the art that inspires us is nothing like the art that we make for this project. Anything can inspire us.
The Netflix original Queer Eye is something that’s resonated with and inspired both of them for different reasons. To them though it all comes back to how they can make other people feel connected to themselves and their community. While it may not necessarily come out directly in the songwriting or production, it’s no coincidence that the new single has been dubbed “Connection.” As for their own philosophy?
The only constant thing that you can do is go out and make what you want to make to feel alive. Don’t buy the crap that “if you wanted to do that you should have done it 10 years ago.” Create your own timeline.
After all, things hardly ever stay the same, especially with regards to art. Of course, with TUNED UP being the independently-minded blog that we are, I had to know about some other up and coming acts that each of them “vouch for.” I had both guys give me artists that TUNED UP readers ought to check out, and you may already recognize some of their answers.
Carroll: If I had to think about a central Indiana band, especially in our respective genre, I’d say THE WLDLFE. They’re a bunch of really cool kids that are slaying it. And since I spent the majority of my twenties in Michigan, I’ll also say Michigander. Jason Singer heads it up, and I just feel like he has a really intuitive understanding of what’s happening right now in the industry that is kind of peculiar. I feel like he has an edge, and I think a lot of that is the people he’s surrounded himself with. He’s going somewhere very soon, and he’s paying his dues for sure. I’m proud of that coming from my home state.
Class: Being from Indianapolis I definitely think THE WLDLFE is somebody that the city can latch onto, but I’ll also mention Stay Outside. They’re just this raw talent: a new, young rock-and-roll band that writes songs that aren’t about nothing. I’m partial because I’ve produced their stuff and I have for a while, but I’m going to promote my friends. Then because I’m from Indianapolis, I’ll mention some other bands [outside of Indianapolis] that I think are working super hard and making great music. GOLDS from Chicago is this little pop duo that aren’t even close to their peak yet and are already putting out great stuff that I’m fortunate to be a part of. Then Edward + Jane from Chattanooga, Tennessee, are working really hard, getting better and just writing stuff that’s a treat to listen to. It’s not pop but it’s definitely folky, new Americana, and pushing the boundaries of that. Even beyond the talent, all of these bands are working hard and that’s so important no matter what you do, but certainly in music.
Music is one of those things that brings out the best in humans when they stay true to themselves. It brings people together and creates a sort of intangible connection. There’s that word again: “Connection.” The second single from the indie pop duo is fresh while still seamlessly incorporating familiar sounds, even to listeners previously unfamiliar with AVERLY. Take a listen and hear for yourself what we mean by that, and if you like what you hear, be sure to download and stream it wherever you get your music on demand.[Featured image courtesy of Carly Secrest.]