(EDITOR’S NOTE — Emotional and raw, Jamison Hendrick’s debut album ‘Voidtree’ is an ambitious and personal work of both healing and exploration. Recently, he was kind enough to speak with 1120 Press for a talk about his evolution as an artist and passion for the creative process. It was a great discussion, and we appreciate his time. Please read our story below. — Photo by Pamela Swarts)
1120PRESS: Thank you so much for speaking with us and congratulations on the new album. How does it feel having it out there finally?
JAMISON HENDRICKS: Thank you first and foremost for allowing me to talk about this album and the process of making it! This opportunity really does mean a lot to me. I've been working on this album consciously for a little under a year. ‘Chimes’ is about 2 years old but when I made it, I didn't have an album in mind yet. It's very surreal and feels amazing to finally have this album out. I've put a lot of myself and experience in life into this whole project as I've started to grow up and become more aware about myself and the world.
1120: A 12-song album is a pretty ambitious debut for a new artist. What was the philosophy in making that decision as opposed to coming out with a shorter 4- or 5-song demo/EP?
JH: To me, making a 12-song album wasn't too intimidating because I naturally had a collection of songs after a while where I could narrow it down to an album that I really felt said something. I originally had 4 different songs but opted to change them out for ‘Yourself,’ ‘Initiate,’ ‘Seeds’ and ‘Climb the Road.’ But I wanted to do that in order to try and clearly show my thoughts and my personal evolution in how I view myself and perceive the world.
1120: The album is dedicated to your friend Jordan who passed away, and in listening to many of the songs on Voidtree, the emotion in them is very clear. We feel it at the surface. This seems like a very personal work. Can you talk about that, and was there a certain therapeutic element in making Voidtree for you?
JH: I appreciate you saying the emotion was clear; that was my intention. I knew Jordan since I was younger but really became his friend the last few years of his life. Sadly, he took his own life, and I previously lost a friend, fucked up enough, a year and a day before, so it left me really jarred, confused, and hurt and in need to turn to some sort of expression before I went down a road of dealing with it in a toxic and unhealthy way, which I partly did for a while. This experience of making this album was very therapeutic for me to help me regain the confidence I needed in myself and gave me an opportunity to honor who Jordan was and what he meant to me. Parts of the album are about him, but ‘Eagle over the Mountains’ is solely dedicated to him. Most of the time I play that lead part on that song I have to hold back tears.
1120: We always hesitate to take an artist’s work and make comparisons and/or classify it. On this record, there seems to be a mash of genres and styles. Some of the tempo changes mid-song are interesting too. Can you talk about your influences and what guides your songwriting approach/philosophy?
JH: I'm mostly influenced by Dinosaur Jr, Mac Miller, RHCP (Mainly John Frusciante), Slint, Earl Sweatshirt, AIC, Hendrix, Nirvana, and Syd Barrett just to name a few. I really love artists whose authentic expression and emotion come through in the songs they create. Those are the musicians who have a profound impact on me personally and creatively.
1120: Speaking of influences, your father Rich played drums on, and produced, this album. Making music with a parent has to be pretty special. How did growing up with a parent who is a musician influence you personally?
JH: I have a great relationship with my dad, Rich, which I feel very blessed to say because I know a lot of people don't get that opportunity. He never forced music on me, but I always admired — even before I started playing — his ability to say what he has to say through his music in front of people or just putting a project together. I started to play guitar in August of 2020, and he gave me the space to develop how I wanted to, and never zapped the magic of it from me. He went to UB for music, but never pushed that mindset onto my development which I so appreciate because I don't think I'd have an album out if he didn't give me the space to express myself and push through the moments of discouragement or frustration. He's always been very supportive of seeing me keep at it and learn in my own way. I've always had a deep connection to him, which I think really makes our sonic chemistry what it is, whether it's playing live or recording part-by-part for this album. Even in doing so, I think there's still that live and raw feel in the album.
1120: Besides writing and releasing Voidtree, you’ve been playing shows. How’s everything going out there for you, and what’s your impression of the local scene?
JH: Playing live has been an awesome experience. I really love it and enjoy playing for audiences. It's just such a different feeling from anything I've felt. I love getting to express who I am in such a vulnerable way in front of people and seeing them get into what I'm doing. I've appreciated the support from the local community, and I enjoy getting to see others do the same. It's beautiful to me to see others express themselves because everyone has their own unique perspective and takes on things, which can shine through someone's music.
1120: Now that the album is out, what’s next for you over these next few months. Are you always writing?
JH: I'm going to continue to play more shows, next of which is on 11-11 at the Lion and Eagle Pub. I have a feeling there'll be some adversity in this one. I'm getting over having all four of my wisdom teeth pulled out and getting two dry sockets, even with following recovery protocol. So, my singing won't be the greatest but that's okay. This will pass soon. I'm stoked to heal up and get more shows booked and play more places I have yet to. I’m working on a second album currently. I have a good amount of songs written but nothing is recorded yet. I'm usually always writing and painting almost every day because I find an immense amount of comfort and self-exploration in doing so.
1120: Thank you again for speaking with us. Is there anything else you want to say that we haven’t touched on?
JH: Thank you so much for giving me the time and platform to discuss this album, the making and meaning of it, and who I am as a human. I'm grateful to you and 1120 Press for letting people be authentically themselves. It really helps to give all us creatives the confidence and support for showing our passions to the world.