Michigander: Virtual Session

Jason Singer and Jake LeMond join Mary Lucia for a virtual session with The Current. (MPR)

Mary Lucia connected with Jason Singer and Jake LeMond of Michigander for a virtual session to hear a few tracks from their upcoming EP, Everything Will Be OK Eventually. The three compare notes on Spoon, making music in the Midwest, and what's in store for the band in the next year. Watch the full interview and performance above, or check out the interview transcript below.

Interview Transcription

Edited for clarity and length.
MARY LUCIA: Hey guys, it's Mary Lucia from The Current and thank you to all of our listeners and members who we are all jonesing for some live music. These virtual sessions are made possible by you and your generosity and we love you for that and the fact that so many of you wanted to sign up once you heard that our musical guest today was Michigander. Let's start by saying hello to Jason, Michigander. How are you?

JASON SINGER: Hello, how are you?

Very fine. And please introduce your buddy to your--

SINGER: This is my best bud Jake [LaMond]. He's been playing guitar with me for a few years now and I just moved to Detroit, and Jake lives here in Detroit. So now we get to do these sessions together which will be really nice.

Okay, that is amazing. I have to ask you this, because it's a baffling thing to me, and I wonder if it is to you as well. People write about bands that are from the Midwest and say, "they've got that quintessential Midwestern sound"? What the hell is that?

SINGER: That's a good question.

Is there an answer?

SINGER: I don't know if there is an answer. I think it's just a cliche thing that a lot of people say when they're from here because--I don't know, maybe there is an answer. But for m I think there's something. People in the Midwest are a little different than--I mean, every aspect of the country is different. I think that we have a special thing here, we endure the cold every year. But we also have beautiful summers so we're put through it, I guess. But yeah, I don't know what that means but maybe one day, I'll find out?

Well, I have a theory not so much about what the Midwestern band sounds like. But I do believe that if you grew up in the Midwest, you didn't have the advantage of a coast and a lot of accessibility to a lot of things. I do think you had to dig a little deeper, you had to go a little more underground. I do think that people and bands and artists from the Midwest, have to just be a little more extra creative. Would you agree with that?

SINGER: Yeah, I think that's true. I think a lot of the bands in the Midwest also, like one of the advantages to living here is that there's so many cities to tour and you can do weekend tours, like, if you're out West, it's kind of a little more tricky to do that. Even down South sometimes, you know, so we have a lot. I think a lot of Midwest bands are especially gifted when they play live, because that's where they have to shine, because they have the opportunity to play a lot more shows. You can do Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis on the same weekend like pretty easily.

Jason, when you first started writing songs, in your room, or wherever you were, was it always sort of something in the back of your mind or the front of your mind that you were going to do this, take it to the next step? You were going to record, you were going to have a band, you were going to tour--you were going to do the whole thing? Or did it really truly just start off as, "Let me just see if I can write a few tunes."

SINGER: I think I always am a person who thinks--well, not so much anymore. But when I was younger, I used to think I could be the best at anything that wanted to do. Then as you get older you become a lot more humble. You realize that you're wrong. I think my intentions initially in junior high were to become some big arena rock band, and I thought, "Yeah, I don't need to go to college, because I'll be I'll be playing arenas that year. But thanks, though," but now, obviously, that is a hilarious thought to have. But I mean, I always I've always wanted to do this and all I would do is watch like live videos of like Oasis and U2, and Coldplay growing up and being like "That. That's what I'd like to do." That's kind of always been the goal.

Do you remember the first person you played an original song to?

That's a great question. Probably my friend Adam. I think I showed him some songs that I was working on. He was like, you should you should do this more, and maybe you'll get better at it. He was like the guy who was like-- because I didn't think I could sing, and I probably--well I'm still not the best singer, but I used to be way worse. And he's like, if you practice you'll get there. I was like, okay, and so I just kept showing him songs I was writing, because I used to play guitar in bands. Then as I got a little older, I was like, no one else wants to do this music stuff. So and then I heard like a Fleet Foxes song talk about, like, you don't need to wait on other people to do it, you should do it yourself. And I was like, "Oh, that's true." So then I just started a band and started writing my own tunes.

So Adam can really be the reason for your success and your entire career.

SINGER: Big big time. Yeah, he's my best bud.

Big props to Adam. Yeah, because you could have shown your first song to someone really cynical and horrible and having a bad day and it could have changed the trajectory completely of your career.

SINGER: Correct. Yeah, big time.

All right. Well, let's let's get a song from y'all and then we'll chat a little bit more. Now this is the point in the session in which I do a butt smooch and that is that I did put "Let Down" as one of my Top 10 favorite songs of 2020.

SINGER: Thank you. That really means a lot, it's insane that you guys are playing the song. It blows my mind, like genuinely blows my mind. I used to email your program director back in the day every time I had a song and they were always very nice to me but now that the song is playing it's it's kind of a dream come true. Definitely.


SINGER: Yeah. Want me to play "Let Down" then?

I would.

[music: "Let Down" by Michigander]

Yay! This is Michigander here and thank you again to members for making this session possible, and thank you Jason and Jake for being here. That song "Let Down" has the perfect combination of vulnerability and then just pure pop catchiness. That to me is an ingredient. That's an ingredient for a winning song.

SINGER: Thank you. That really means a lot.

And I hate when people compare, but what I love about that, and about a lot of your music is the same quality that that Coldplay fans, I think when they were introduced to that song, either "Yellow" or "Shiver". It has that same feeling of vulnerability, like fragile, and then it's a massive pop song.

SINGER: Thank you, that's a huge compliment.

So I got to ask you this, because of course my heart always nearly breaks when I hear artists saying, "I'm most happy, or I am most myself at ease when I'm onstage performing for people." Then along comes 2020 and that just completely took the wind out of that sail. So I gotta know how you're keeping your spirits up and what you've been doing in terms of just, are you making plans for the future? How optimistic are you?

SINGER: I'm overly optimistic always. I remember, like when this first started, I was like, "No, I'll be fine. We'll be good for the summer." And then I was like, "Well, the summer, you know, might be bad, but we still got Lollapalooza coming. So that'll be good." And then I was like, "Ah, if summer doesn't happen but we'll still have most of those support dates in the fall," and blah, blah, blah, we're still gonna release a record in the fall. Now it's like, okay, hopefully by this fall, which I feel pretty good about. I think a lot of people do that, we'll be back on the road. But at first, it was very hard for me. I mean, because last year was supposed to be like, The Year, I felt like for me, and the band and what we were doing, and to see it all go away is very depressing. But now I got to just work on the new EP for the whole year, which I would never have that luxury of that much time. But now that I know that it's done, I look back and I go, the silver lining was like this new collection of songs is so much better than anything else I've released and I'm so excited for people to hear it.

I've heard you describe the EP as ambitious. What does that mean to you?

SINGER: Yeah, in the past we'd go to the studio and we record everything, like we'd record a song in a day or two. That's what we had to do. Like, that's just how we worked in the time we had to record. Now we're at a point where we could go back to the studio as much as we needed. I could take the tracks home and work on them from my computer. We could add samples, and we can change ideas, and we could cut stuff up. We had a lot. A luxury of having a lot more resources to make the record a lot better than anything else. I never used to care about only writing songs that I knew we could pull off live. If I was a little nervous about them, I'd just throw those songs out like, don't worry about it, we couldn't pull that off. But this time was like, I don't care. We can figure that out later. Let's just do the best songs we have now for the EP. I was so nervous about building--making it and then getting the masters back in like December and listening to them obsessively still. I am very excited about it.

Well, it's one thing that I know that a lot of artists have done during the pandemic has been releasing just kind of one off singles. And that might just scratch the itch enough for some people. Have you been writing more prolifically since you've actually been quarantine?

SINGER: I mean, at first all the songs were just about how the world is ending. It sucks.

It is by the way. Yeah.

SINGER: Yeah and I thought it was very dated. Like all the songs are dated. And I was like, I can't really use these. Then I just kind of took a break. Then I just worked on the songs I already had, and now the EP is done. We're making a big announcement about all that tomorrow. But the next, like whatever's next, whether it be a full length or an EP like that's already being written and I never ever ever could imagine having that much done. So now I'm like I'm writing a lot more now. But for a while there was like no writing at all and it was all boring, sad music.

Well, hows about we get you to play another tune right now. Which one do you want to do?

SINGER: We'll play a song called "Okay," which is on the new EP, this is the world premiere and it's coming out tomorrow or tonight at midnight. Yeah. Cool.

[music: "Okay" by Michigander]

Michigander. This is such a treat. Okay, so, Jason, when did you write that song?

SINGER: That was written during quarantine, when I was alone and I spent most of my days just trying to get out of the house and riding my bike, I lived out in the country and I would just take put the bike in the back of my Honda CRV and unload it downtown and just drive around and hope to run into anybody that I knew. Because that was always the biggest treat was when you would grocery shop. Especially back in April, you'd be grocery shopping and you'd run into a friend and you're like [gasps] "Oh, that's you! It's great to see ya." I felt like that was the only acceptable time to see anybody and so I would just ride my bike around and walk around downtown every day. Yeah, that's when I wrote that.

You know, it's so cool too because that's sort of a philosophy that I've espoused for a long time is that there's a big difference between being alone and being lonely and there's nothing wrong with either, but now having so much time as we all have to be alone--are you more of a consumer now? Like are you binge watching things? Are you reading more? What are you doing more?

SINGER: I have been playing a lot of video games. I didn't really play video games before this that much. Now I do play a lot of video games. They're with friends, like that's the main reward to me is like I have a bunch of friends who I don't get to see that often and to play a video game with them is very rewarding. And writing more stuff. Me and Jake and sending stuff back and forth for like, we didn't really need that for this EP that much. So yeah, writing with other people has been fun.

I was just gonna say, you made the move to Detroit during the pandemic?

SINGER: February 1. I've been here, what, three days? Yeah, from Kalamazoo.


SINGER: Yeah, Jake was a nice guy and helped me do it.

Why did you feel you wanted to be centered in Detroit?

SINGER: I've always wanted to live here. I saw my first show here. I went to like the Tigers games here. So it was the first big city I ever saw my, like, I like lived up north, like the middle of nowhere until like, see a high rise building and all that stuff. It was always some sort of like nostalgia attached to it and exciting to be around things like this. I've come here so often, Jake lives here, and a lot of my friends live here. An opportunity came up for me to move into this house with another guy and yeah, so I have a roommate and we, I just got here. So it's all very new. But it's exciting. It's just cool to be in a big city. I've never, I've always lived out in like the country or like in medium smaller towns and to be in a place where there's an airport will be really nice in the future. And to not have to drive two hours to an airport is going to be very exciting.

Plus, it's the home state of Alice Cooper. Detroit has spawned about as many great bands as Minneapolis, St. Paul, I mean, honestly, it's when you think all the way back to the garage era stuff and all of that, it's pretty amazing to think that that like sort of going back to what we were talking about earlier, where it's like, what in the world is a Midwestern sound, but you know, some some musicians from Detroit say there is something to the industrialness of your surroundings--but I don't hear it in your music, necessarily. But they've attributed a little bit of some of the actual sounds of Detroit are an influence.

SINGER: Yeah, I'm really excited about that. I think every time I move I end up like a bunch of new stuff comes in my mind, in like a new space. When I moved to the last house I wrote the Where Do We Go From Here EP. That was like, all written because I moved in. So I'm really excited to see what happens here. You know, collaborating a lot more it will be like cool, 'cause usually it's just me in my bedroom, but being able to have Jake over and writing and then a couple other pals occasionally to write will be really nice. Yeah, I'm excited.

You want to know what one of my, one of my favorite feelings is?


The feeling when you've moved, and the first morning you wake up in your new room. It's weird!

SINGER: Very interesting. It's very weird. It's like, is this a hotel? I don't know. Yeah, it was very interesting. I actually, I actually helped. I moved here and then I woke up and then I helped a friend move to Tennessee because I have a van. Okay, so I this is I've only been here two nights and this is like my first full day here. So yeah, I'm happy to be doing something familiar.

That is so cool. Let's talk a little bit about something that I think maybe a lot of people don't really consider when they're at shows or when they're following their favorite bands, which is growing an audience because I would wage that most bands when they first get like their first gig or an opening slot or something, basically the audience is mostly people, you know.

SINGER: Yeah. That's true. You're playing friend-rock.

Yes. And then the progression of like, "Boy, I don't know who that cat is, and I don't know them."" Yeah, that must be a crazy feeling.

SINGER: It is. One of the best stories about that, actually. I mean, because this is all very new to me. I'm not some big platinum selling artist or anything, and everything is exciting all the time. The first time there was like a line outside of show was at set was at Seventh Street, like 2019 and I walked up, and like, there was a picture of me. And I'm like, that's cool. And there was a lot--I like got like a steak somewhere because I got like, it was like one of the first nights we ever had a per diem and I was like, Oh, I'm gonna go get steak. I have $20 or something. And I, as I came back there was a line I was like, Oh, I wonder who that I like literally said, "I wonder who they're here to see," because there's no way they're here to see me. We must have a good opener tonight. They were all there to see, like Michigander and I was like, "Wow." That was the coolest feeling I've ever had.

Yeah. Did you get to talk to any of those people in that audience?

SINGER: Oh yeah I talked to all of them. I talked to him before the show. Yeah, I was just like, this is crazy that you people are here. Like, I remember the first time we played 7th Street like 2017 opening for a friend and there was a couple hundred people there, whatever, it was a good crowd. And I was like, this is the coolest place and Lucinda Williams is playing in the main room. And I got to watch that. And I was like this...this is mind blowing. Then we got to come back and headline, that room, which so many people have, and Minneapolis is one of my favorite places to go. Not just saying that, because I'm talking to you, but to experience that was really bizarre. Very, very surreal. I think about that often.

So the next step in your Odyssey of Surreal is going to be when you hit the Oasis level of fame. And all it is is drunks singing your songs louder than you at you.

SINGER: Yeah, I can't wait. Then we'll break up and then you'll never reunite and make a lot of people sad.

If you could hang with one Gallagher or the other, which one do you think you'd have a better time with?

SINGER: I think I would used to say Noel. But I think Noel--I think Liam is a little more easygoing. They're both goofy. [to Jake] Liam or Noel?

JAKE LEMOND: I'd say Liam.

SINGER: Yeah, I think Liam would be more fun. I think Noel is a softy underneath. But I would probably choose Liam just because.

LEMOND: I feel like you're gonna get honest answers out of Liam, not honest answers out of Noel.

SINGER: Yeah, that's true.

Yeah, that's a good observation I think.

SINGER: I saw Noel once and I had him sign a--I waited up behind the venue and he signed like a CD for me. Then, this so long ago, and I remember someone said, tried to give him a beer on stage and he said, "Beer?" He's like, "I don't drink beer. Beer's for poor people." And I was like, "Oh."

Oh, great. Thanks Noel.

SINGER: And then he was drinking champagne. But I'm sure that's just--it's just a joke. It's part of his rock star quota he has to do every day. Yeah, but I love them both.

I do too. And I love that band. We're gonna talk about another band that we mutually love after you play another song. Which one are you gonna play?

SINGER: We're gonna play "Misery". Thanks for watching.

[music: "Misery" by Michigander]

SINGER: Nice chord, Jake

LEMOND: Just learned.

Was that a minor chord?

SINGER: I don't know what that is. What is that, diminished?

LEMOND: I think that's a seven maybe?

SINGER: Something Jazzy, you know?

Yeah. A little Keith Jarrett.

LEMOND: A little nod to Ella Fitzgerald, something we always listen to.

Well, I want to thank Jason Singer, Michigander. Thank you, Jake. And thank our members. And you guys, if there are questions that you would like to ask Jake and Jason, please, there's a little form down at the bottom of your screen that you can type in a question. Otherwise, you'll just have to listen to my trifling questions for the rest of the session. But one thing that immediately when I read about you, Jason that made me go, "Ope, we can be friends for the rest of our life," is that you are a fan of my favorite band.

SINGER: I'm so nervous and excited to hear. Who?


SINGER: Oh, I love spoon. So good.


SINGER: So good. Yeah. They are so good.

I have to qualify this because I feel--and I can't say that I feel that about any other band in the world, but I feel like they write every song for me, and not in a creepy way at all. But like, every record, I'm like, so excited and they have something that they--it seems really effortless and that's a really attractive thing.

SINGERL [to Jake]: Could you hear her? Spoon.

LEMOND: What about Spoon?

SINGER: She said we both like spoon.

LEMOND: Oh, yeah. We love Spoon. I feel like that's like a band who they--I feel like every album is like every album is great. It's like they're never repeating themselves.

SINGER: I heard they may have something new coming out soon. I hope so. I think I've seen on Twitter. The very first time I saw them was at a festival in Atlanta. And I had never--it was like, 2012 when I was like, "Ooh, this Spoon band..." Apparently one of the first shows back. And I was like, woah, that was amazing. And then I saw them at Eau Claire, in 2015 in Wisconsin, and I was like, "Whoa, they are so good." And I think I've seen them one other time too, but what is the--Hot Thoughts? Right? Yeah, that album I just--so good.

Gimme Fiction is--

LEMOND: I mean his voice too. And every--I don't know how he sings like that at every show.

SINGER: Yeah, I don't know. He's a--they're a very, very good band. Very intricate, like every part is important to the song. And in a similar but different way, like Death Cab. It's like all the parts are like thought out. They're not just like mindlessly strumming four chords like we do. They have like these very thought out things and it's very inspiring to hear. That's cool.

It is cool. And I mean, here's the deal. So we we don't know--everythings so unknown. We don't know exactly when, or even roughly when things might get back to a semi normalcy. But we I think most musicians in this community are thinking, well, our best chance probably to perform is going to be at an outdoor arena in some outdoor--where you could socially distance and stuff like that. What's the landscape of Detroit and your surrounding area in terms of like festival fields or places that do outdoor shows?

SINGER: Yeah, we're actually announcing our first for May, outdoor socially distanced. We're opening for a band in May. We're announcing it like next week. That'll be like our first--we did one drive in last year with Mount Joy in Chicago. That was the coolest. That was the coolest day.

LEMOND: There's definitely spots in Detroit where that's possible because we have Mo Pop Festival. It's right on the water. So it's like, it's possible to do that here. It's just, I'm sure planning it is very stressful.

SINGER: Yeah, I've heard about stuff being in the works, but I think we're gonna just play what we can. As far as things that are safe and stuff. I mean, we have plans for the fall to be back on the road and playing shows, and so hopefully that happens. But we just...fingers crossed.

For an artist that's even just starting off, and it still breaks my heart to hear you say that you felt like at the end of 2019 it was like, "This is gonna be my year." And then everything exploded. But it's like, I also feel like this might force a lot of people to just be more creative in the way they get people to hear their music, get people to know who they are, you know, and utilizing things like these Zoom sessions.Did you think in the beginning, when you started, like, "Oh, I'm gonna have to, you know, find a label, I'm gonna have to have management," and I mean, how traditional were you thinking at the time?

SINGER: Like when we like--when I started to play? Oh, yeah, like that was always, like truthfully like, that was like, I can play shows to some extent, but I like and get somewhere. But I like I need people who can open up like these opportunities and these doors to like, take things farther. I did everything by myself for so long then eventually hit a ceiling where you're like, "Okay, I can't do anything else." Then you try to find the right people. Thankfully I did find the right people to help do my music and help me release it and get me on a good track and help me get a song on the radio, which is seriously the craziest thing.

It is a crazy thing, because I'm only by proxy--I feel like I'm a catalyst to helping you and your music because when the shut the shutdown happened, I'm gonna just tell you that it was kind of a scary thing. This building that we work in, there are hundreds of employees, there's three radio stations under this umbrella. And the day we were told to leave, well, that didn't apply to me or six other of my friends who are on air. So we've been coming in every single day to do our show, which has now taken on a little bit more importance. If I might say that it feels essential. Now, I feel like an essential worker. Never would I have said that in my life before. But the fact that, just as a DJ being a catalyst to be able to still go, we've got these great new bands, and they're putting out new songs, it feels pretty good. And I don't know that, I mean, I think that online you can still get that same support. You don't have to have a DJ in your corner. But The Current's always loved Michigander and I just hope that when when things loosen up, that you follow that trajectory you were on and it's just gonna get--you were supposed to do Lollapalooza did you say?

SINGER: Yeah, and and a bunch of other festivals and things. But yeah, I mean, we will eventually but it's just just kind of like, a year off. You know? Which kinda stinks.

Do you feel like when you look out into an audience, first of all, are you one of those people? Do you close your eyes? Do you actually try to look at faces when you're performing?

SINGER: I think I try to look up look like I'm looking at everybody. But I think if I do--

Just above their head?

SINGER: Yeah I think I heard Brandon Flowers say that once. He says he used to like look at the ground all the time while he sang. But then he said he would look above their head and like, look like he's looking. Or my trick is I like to--even if we're playing like a tiny little slow stage club or whatever, which is typical for us. If I look up, I pretend like I'm looking up into like, the stands of like a theater or something. Yeah. Obviously, there's no one up there. But it makes me look more engaged. I get I would get nervous if I was making eye contact with a bunch of people every night.

Yeah, well, and that's the thing is, it's like when when big bands get big and play these huge stadiums and all of a sudden your guitar player is like 100 miles off that way. It's very disorienting. But then inevitably, a big band like that will go, "Well let's go back and play some clubs." But how much you feed off of a smaller room and an audience is, I mean, that's got to be really important to you.

SINGER: Yeah, I think that's true. I think we did a tour at the end of 2019. That was like a headlining tour and some shows were amazing. Like, some shows were very, very bad. And those nights where they're really very bad, I was like, You can't...there's not even really a crowd to feed off of. Then I was like, how do I deal with this? And then as we, I think I've become a lot more comfortable with the guys on stage. And so like, I'm now playing the music with my friends. That's how I look at it. This could be a really bad show, but I'm like, doing what--we're in another city or another state playing songs with each other. And it's just like, if there's some people watching cool. So that's kind of like--we did a drive-in show. And we were like, how do we cope with like the fact that there are--there's 1000 people here! But they're very far away, and they're all spaced out. And some are sitting on top of cars, and some are sitting inside cars, how do we connect with them? And I was like, I don't think we need to try to connect with them, I think by connecting with each other on stage, and really taking that for advantage, like that'll automatically impact the people that are watching and listening. They'll know that we're having a good time and hopefully, they will have a good time.

What constitutes a bad show to you?

SINGER: We played a show in a place called Eureka Springs, Arkansas. And that should say enough but to be--

LEMOND: It was is a cool town, but it was strange. Me and Jason were--we were laughing so hard. We cried on stage.

SINGER: A lady--there was like nobody really there to see us. But we were playing. And a lady was using a hula hoop that lit up and right in front of us. And it was like, like during a sad song. Like it was so bizarre. And me and Jake, we could not make it through this and we were like crying laughing.

LEMOND: And the funniest thing too, is that like I was opening up for those sets on those shows and like, when I was doing a soundcheck that got that sound guy literally I said, "Can I get some reverb on my vocals?" The guy literally said to me, "We don't have that here."

SINGER: We don't have that.

LEMOND: I've never heard that before ever. And I just--I was like, alright, this is gonna be a fun night.

SINGER: They also spread the ashes of the owner--


SINGER: --underneath the stage, and they told us that as we were loading in.

LEMOND: It was probably one of the most interesting shows.

SINGER: Definitely interesting. Jake got hit by a car on that tour. And he spilled hot, hot Starbucks water all over his leg.


SINGER: So there were some bad--those were some bad times.

Let's go back to the ashes under the stage--was it like right after this person had passed?

SINGER: I don't know if it was right after they passed. But it was--I can't--the only way to explain this place is you know in Beauty and the Beast, when Gaston is like singing and they're all like doing that musical. And they're, like popping out of like windows and doors--that whole thing. That is what that room felt like. It felt like a bunch of people are just gonna like pop out of it.

LEMOND: It was like an outdoor venue, inside. Very strange.

SINGER: Yeah. It's very hard to explain. But hopefully we don't have to go back there again.

Maybe you could put it on your resume is that you've played a funeral pyre.

SINGER: That is true.

LEMOND: Yeah. It was interesting.

SINGER: Yeah, it was very, very weird.

What shows--when you were younger--did they have all a lot of all ages show some Michigan?

SINGER: Oh, yeah, everything, or most things are all ages. Yeah.

So what were the bands that you would the in the smaller venues that you would push up to be in the very front? Or are you not a very front guy.

SINGER: I was a very front guy for like big shows, I used to wait in line. I saw Brandon Flowers and I waited in line in November. I got there at like 9am, 8am and I waited there for the first time Alt-J had played the states. I like that first record and I remember we waited very long. One time waiting for Coldplay for like eight--like get there at eight in the morning. Those are the kind of bands that I mean, there was a lot of local bands that we saw it a lot. But seeing like those big shows, I think I waited in line for like 19 hours to see U2. I was like up against the barricade for that.

I think I totally understand that feeling of wanting--there are certain people that you will wait 19 hours for. You will stand pressed up against a barricade. I just want to relay something to you, Patti Smith was playing in town and she was performing at this beautiful theater on the university campus called Northrop Auditorium and I got front row tickets somebody gave them to me, I have never had front row tickets in my life. I've never really even aspired to have a front row ticket. And can I tell you? It was the single most uncomfortable I've ever been in my life because it was a seated event. But with the stage lights, I mean, I felt like I was in the show, because I was sitting there and her stage light was on the front row. And it was so intimate that I was almost embarrassed. I literally, I kind of had a panic attack. I was like, I am way too close to her. She is way too cool. And I am like just this moron and I'm engulfed in her spotlight. It was so--anyway, there's the converse side of being in the front row for someone you really love.

SINGER: It's very interesting to see. I think I front row for the National once. And like the first time I ever saw them, and they're one of my favorite bands and that and I like held hands with Matt while he was singing. And I was like, "Woahh, this is cool."

Here's a quiz. What is what is Matt's last name?

SINGER: Berninger, right?

That's what we thought for about the last 55 years, but apparently it's Berninger.

SINGER: Yes, that's right. Yeah. Matt Berninger.

We've said it wrong for 16 years, and he never corrected anyone.

LEMOND: He finally had to release his solo album.

SINGER: That solo album ruins everything.

Yeah, he's another one who definitely connects to his audience in a way that's just really magical too. So I just want to say again, how grateful I am to to both of you, Jason, Jake. It's so nice to be able to sit down. I mean, I used to do this a couple times a week, you know, sit down and chat with a band--and a band that I like, it's even better. I'm so happy to do this. And I want to sort of have some of your optimism rub off on me that it will be sooner than later before we can actually be in a room together.

SINGER: It'll happen.

Yeah, and have you just done the thing? Have you done the thing where it's like, you know, I'm not going home for Thanksgiving.

SINGER: Actually, my family all had COVID and they got through it. And I also had it. Luckily, yeah, but back in like October. And so luckily, I mean, the only bright side. We all made it through but we felt cool with seeing family. And then actually, my friend's a nurse and the other night they were doing she's doing the vaccines and she and they have like a--so they they give out all the vaccines, then they call a waitlist. And after that there's people who don't show up still. And so after that the nurses can call friends and family and I was the only person that my friend knew in Kalamazoo. And she said we have an extra dose. Whoa. And I got to like I yeah, crazy. And I got to go get it. It's like the weirdest like, historical thing I've like felt a part of. So thankfully, Jake, Jake hasn't got it.

LEMOND: I haven't got it yet.

SINGER: Or Jake hasn't got sick or the vaccine. But I'm feeling--the nurses and everybody there were so great and they felt very optimistic about everything. That made me even more optimistic. And now that we have like a different President, I think things will be a little better.

Can I just ask morbidly, did you lose your sense of taste and smell right away?

SINGER: I didn't. So my roommates had it. They horribly lost everything. I was like eating very clean and health around the time I got it and continuing to and on a very like high vitamin thing so I don't know if that's why I didn't lose it. But I think that could have been a good part of it, that I was eating super healthy and taking a lot of vitamins that it could have, like helped negate some of the side effects. But yeah, but I'm fortunate. It was the scariest thing to get that, get my callback for my test.


SINGER: Yeah, I was like, "Okay, everyone's been safe. We can go to have a little tiny dinner." Jake was there. And then after dinner one of my friends was like, "Hey, guys, I don't feel good. I'm going to get tested." And they were like, "Oh shoot."

LEMOND: I somehow didn't get it. I was stressing. I was. I stayed in my room for two weeks. I didn't go around anybody.

Oh, I'm sure you thought you had it. 100 times a day.

JAKE LEMOND: Oh, yeah, in my head I was sick. I was so sick and I felt like my body and then I was like, I got tested three times and I never was sick. It's all it was all in my head.

Yeah. So the EP, Hooray comes out officially tomorrow.

SINGER: Well that we announce it tomorrow, yeah.

You announce it tomorrow, and will there be any fanfare or anything for your fans to be paying attention to?

SINGER: There's a single, the song we played, "Okay," will be out tomorrow. We're super excited. I'm so excited to get music. I mean, release day is just the best day, especially when we're announcing like an EP and then in a couple weeks, we'll get the vinyl preorder out and everything in the new merch. And yeah, it's--I'm so--we're both very excited. Everybody who's involved is super excited.

LEMOND: We've been waiting for it.

SINGER: Yeah, it was supposed to come out like in the summer, so of last year.

LEMOND: It was weird. Like we started recording it around this time last year.

SINGER: So a year later it's done.

You're different people completely, than you were before. Probably.

SINGER: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

I just again, thank you so much. I want to thank all the members who are on this Zoom session. These sessions aren't possible without your support. So we thank you so much. And I want to thank you, Jason and Jake. Thank you so much for taking an hour of your day and talking to a big fan.

SINGER: Thank you.


06:54 Let Down
14:51 Okay
27:58 Misery
"Let Down" and "OK" appear on Michigander's 2021 EP,OK. "Misery" appears on their 2019 EP Where Do We Go From Here.


Mary Lucia - Host
Derrick Stevens - Producer
Eric Romani - Technical Director
Jesse Wiza - Digital Producer

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