Mustard had the pleasure of speaking again with JOBIE. Together we discussed their sixth sense, their debut album “Grendel”, humans, and so much more!

1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them again at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?

I’m doing well, thanks for asking!

2. The last time we spoke you had a sixth sense. Do you still have this ability?

Maybe not, because I luckily have not smelled anyone’s tonsil stones in a minute. However, I still have the capacity to smell lots of unwanted things, unfortunately.

3. You mentioned previously that you love performing Shakespeare. If you could turn any Shakespeare play into an EP or album which would it be and why?

I have thought about doing this with Hamlet. Over the summer I had this fantasy that I would write a bunch of songs for a Hamlet production and then be the music director. I envisioned having all the actors playing instruments on stage. I chose Hamlet because the character dynamics are interesting, but I ended up not being inspired and I never got down to writing it. I should probably just write a happier set of songs about As You Like It or A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

4. What are some examples of vices? Who/what was the cruel vice in your single?

From my understanding, a vice is something that someone gives into, like an urge. It’s something that’s not necessarily good, but it’s uncontrollable. For me, my “cruel vice” is that I am sometimes socially awkward and often put my foot in my mouth, so to speak. I tend to use this as an excuse to retreat into myself.

5. How did John Gardner’s opus “Grendel” inspire your debut album of the same name?

Really it was only the title track that was literally inspired by the book, but the way I frame myself in the song “grendel” is kind of an admission of how I had felt isolated from others as a kid, as the character Grendel is, and as I grew up I “over corrected” in ways that I probably shouldn’t have. Examples of this overcorrection are present in all the rest of my songs, whether I lashed out during a breakup, tried to make someone love me who didn’t, or cared too much what other people thought of me at a party. For all of my teenage years, I wanted to be liked so badly that I tried to be this perfect thing that I irrevocably wasn’t, and that, counterintuitively, caused me to have a lot of relationship problems. The thing about Grendel is that he tries to interact with the humans in the beginning of the story, but gets an axe thrown at him. After this, he knows that he is different, and seeks to overcome it by violently lashing out at the humans.

I guess I sought to overcome the bullying I experienced when I was young by becoming stereotypically “popular” in high school, doing things I probably didn’t actually want to be doing. I don’t believe I ended up hurting anyone else in the process, hopefully I didn’t, but I myself was left burnt out, sad and confused by the end of it, and I ended up alone. At the end of John Gardener’s story, Grendel dies at the hands of the humans. For me, I guess I’ve experienced a metaphorical death and rebirth. I like to think that Grendel, if he could get a second chance, would be happy sticking to his own path and being authentically the beast that he is, instead of looking to others for gratification. In his case, gratification was terrorizing the humans. In my case, I sought to be liked. In turn, I terrorized myself.

6. Mustard loves the album art for Grendel. Did you draw the Grendel displayed on the cover?

Aw thank you! Yes I did 🙂

7. Mustard observed that Grendel is drawn on some Geoboard Dot Paper. Was Grendel conceived in a math class?

I actually drew him in the back of my moleskine planner. I didn’t know what the cover art was going to be, so I started sketching and then I was like “Oh shit I actually like this.”

8. Humans can be difficult. How does Grendel explore your relationships with humans as an outsider?

I think I react to others over-emotionally. I take things that they say or do to heart, especially their rejection, or even their ambivalence. This all stems from me getting picked on as a kid, or being the odd one out. When something triggers me, I tend to overreact, and thus a lot of songs were formed. When I was a kid I definitely didn’t feel like a human, I used to think I was adopted from a different planet. I preferred spending time alone as opposed to with other kids; I loved being in nature and spending time with animals, especially fish and bugs. Today, I am often resentful of the world that humans have created. However, when I write songs, I do feel human, even proud to be one. It’s amazing to me the capacity for creativity humans have, and how that creativity can shape the world around us. With mine, I hope to help other humans in any way I can. If I make someone feel less alone, that’s good enough for me.

9. What is next for JOBIE?

Idk. In the coming months, I’ll be playing a bunch of live shows in and around Boston, and I think I’ll be recording albums until I die. I’d like to get signed to a small record label so that Grendel can be made into vinyl, and I’d like to go on a tour with some cool musicians. #manifest


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