If destiny doesn’t throw it any knuckleballs, Jared & the Mill is a group in transition to bigger things.
Almost two years into its existence, the band has played plenty to show its chops. The band’s first creative output, “In Our Youth,” was released in April 2012, with a new long-playing (LP) record soon to follow.
The local Tempe folk band comprised of vocalist Jared Kolesar, lead guitarist Larry Gast III, bassist Chuck Moriss, drummer Josh Morin and accordionist Gabe Hall-Rodriguez sat down with State Press Magazine to play a tune from its upcoming full-length album.
Absent from the session is Michael Carter, the resident mandolin player, who could not attend because of work.
The band set into a live rendition of “Know Your Face,” which sounds like the take could go directly onto the new record, even if they’re only in the garden behind the Virgina G. Piper Writer’s House.
How the band forms its music is never set in stone.
“It varies from song to song,” the main lyricist Kolesar says, referring to the assemblage of the music. “Sometimes I’ll be in class and instead of taking notes I’ll write out the lyrics to a song and work out the melody later.”
“Know Your Face” diverges from the band’s EP sound, if slightly. Kolesar, in his own way, concedes an uncertainty unseen on past tracks, such as “The Man That I Sought,” while still retaining a youthful optimism and jubilee heard on the instrumentation.
Despite being fairly new to the music scene in Arizona, Jared & The Mill’s live performance deceives this fact. The guys look and sound more comfortable with each other than a band only two years old should.
“We’re always excited to go somewhere we haven’t played before, and if it’s far away, we’re gonna have people who haven’t seen us, and at the same time, we haven’t seen them either,” Hall says.
When they converse, everyone is readily amused and tuned into what the other has to say, shy of finishing each other’s sentences.
Last month, anyone on either the ASU Downtown or Tempe campuses likely witnessed them perform outside the University Center and the Memorial Union.
Performing cold for strangers on the street — known as busking — presents an exciting opportunity to expose their sound to strangers, especially when the band is out of town.
The next big thing on the band’s radar is the set in mid-March before the ever-growing crowds at the South By Southwest 2013 music festival, in Austin, Texas
Because of the versatility of the band’s equipment, Austin presents the ideal opportunity to busk.
When inquired about playing at one of the most recognizable venues in music today in several weeks the band is harmoniously anxious — not nervous — to perform.
Only the slightest hesitation emerges when Morin acknowledges how pre-show unease sets in.
“The only time I feel nervous is right before we play, and even that’s short lived because you get up there and have fun,” Morin says.
When Kolesar discusses the band’s beginnings, the narrative unfolds like the classic story of any noteworthy musical group.
He often collaborates with fellow member Carter since meeting in the eighth grade.
Afterward, a mutual acquaintance of Kolesar recruited Gast, who then, in turn, recruited some of his long-term friends, Morriss and Morin. Classmate Hall-Rodriguez soon joined.
Their roots even include a mouthful of a first name.
“We were Jared Kolesar & The Locals, but not a lot of people can Google Kolesar,” Kolesar says.
Eventually, the second half of the current name emerged when they incorporated the geography of where the band got its start.
Despite the straightforward inspiration, Gast likes to imagine “The Mill” metaphorically representing the unique, interconnected clogs that help a piece of machinery function in perfect working order.
“I feel like a big part of the band is we each contribute one step of the process to help things come out,” Gast says. “It’s a happy coincidence we have a double entendre with the mill [referring to Hayden Flour Mill].”
And as the saying goes, the rest is history.
In the upcoming weeks Jared & The Mill will perform March 6 at Pub Rock Live. The proceeds will fund the SXSW trip. On March 17, the guys will open for Flogging Molly at the annual St. Patrick’s Day concerts at Tempe Beach Park.