Interview With The Extraordinaries

by tonedefsound

Over a decade ago, The Extraordinaires were asked the question, “Where do you see the band in 10 years?”  Well, over 10 years later, where are the Philadelphia based, master storytelling garage rockers, and what are they up to during these unusual times? …

Frontman Jay Purdy spares a few moments of his time to talk with us about their most recent EP, how he finds inspiration for writing new music, the writing process, and of course, what we can hope to expect from The Extraordinaires another 10 years from now.

The Extraordinaires recently put out their first release in six years, the four track Home Sweet Home EP. Can you tell us about that release and if we can expect a full-length album in the near future?

After we put out our crowd-sourced record ‘Dress for Nasty Weather’ we were completely spent — without the support of our ex-label Punk Rock Payroll the business-end of releasing our music fell to us, including all the ugly logistics we had to learn on-the-fly. We normally put a huge emphasis on hand-crafted packaging for our records, but this time around we had promised so many great things as Kickstarter incentives (a precious few STILL remaining) that we were more than a little bogged down. It took a great effort but we finally released it and we were super proud of it, but we needed a break. 

In the interim we’ve written a ton of material, so last year we approached our friend Juston Stens to record to tape at his studio in North Philly. One song, ‘Mountain Climber’, is actually a track we’d recorded at Converse’s Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn New York but hadn’t been released, so we transferred it to tape and added some flavor. Another, ‘Hold On to Me’, is a song I consider a late edition to our first record Ribbons of War. 

We aren’t planning a full record at the moment — we were recording regularly at the beginning of the year but since Covid we’ve had to put those on the backburner yet again. Until we can get together regularly we are working on solo projects in quarantine and trying to piece together a new EP!

After 5 EPs and 4 LPs, how do you continue to find inspiration for new music?

I find that there is no shortage of inspiration in this world. There seems to be a desperation, a palpable sadness and uncertainty in the world that keeps finding its way into my more recent work. It’s hard to know when you should latch on to those feelings or go the other direction and simply try to distract and entertain, so I’m trying to find the balance there. I have spent years turning around an idea for a long-form narrative record like ROW or Electric and Benevolent, hoping to piece that together and get it out there!

Can you walk us through the creative process for a new song?

The music always comes first — it informs the tone of the song, and usually produces a visual in my head about a story, situation or feeling that I want to expand on lyrically. In the case of a narrative it can be tricky to keep all the details in order, especially for multiple characters, but it takes on a life of its own usually if I can fully inhabit the character. It takes focus and determination, and any parent in this world knows how hard it can be to find those moments — for me the magic hour for creativity has been somewhere between midnight and 4am, so it’s definitely a trade off now that I can’t sleep in until 5pm anymore.

Is there a tour in the works for when life returns to relative normalcy?

If and when the world returns to normal I would absolutely love to get on the road again — whether or not that would mean a full US tour would completely hinge on logistics, so we’ll have to wait and see…

What can we expect The Extraordinaires to be doing 10 years from now?

I would hope to be illustrating and writing narrative based records, we’d also be right at home in the musical theater world. Since Matt and I are fathers, working on a children’s show would be the dream job, and in ten years I imagine our kids could join the band.

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