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Michigander perform songs from 'It Will Never Be the Same' in The Current studio

Michigander – studio session at The Current (music + interview) The Current
  Play Now [15:32]

by Mac Wilson

May 20, 2023

Perseverance is paying off for Jason Singer of the band Michigander. Having sunk to what he describes as one of the lowest points in his life following a broken leg — not to mention a global pandemic — Singer and his band are back on the road touring in support of their latest EP, It Will Never Be the Same.

Now reconnecting with fans and playing sold-out rooms, it may never be the same for Michigander — and that’s a good thing. The band visited The Current studio to perform tracks from the EP, after which lead vocalist and songwriter Jason Singer sat down for a friendly chat with host Mac Wilson.

Watch and listen to the complete studio session above, and read a transcript below.

Michigander studio session at The Current
Michigander performing in The Current studio on Thursday, April 13, 2023.
Evan Clark | MPR

Interview Transcript

Mac Wilson: Hello friends, I'm Mac Wilson from The Current from Minnesota Public Radio, and I am joined with Michigander in The Current studio. This is Jason from Michigander, you you came in with your band today, and it's good to have you in.

Jason Singer: It's great to be here.

Mac Wilson: So, Jason, Michigander you played at the Turf Club last night in St. Paul. And I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, and I had a couple of friends who were at the show, and at one point I saw, like, "Is this person walking through the Turf Club?" and I'm like, I realized it was you.

Jason Singer: It was me, yeah.

Mac Wilson: Singing "Let Down" with that. So is that a traditional part of your set where you go out in the crowd now?

Jason Singer: It wasn't always a traditional part of the set. But I think I've had this like distance from like the audience for so long, because of like, COVID and the pandemic. Yeah. And so I kind of feel like, this is the first time I feel like pretty connected with folks. And I think that this, like, it happened one night, and I was like, "Oh, this is kind of neat." It's kind of cool to like go — see, for like, so long, we played to nobody, and we could see the back of the room. But now there's like, you know, there's the bright lights, you can't really see everybody in the back. So now I'm kind of like, trying to figure out a way how to go back and like, you know, see the people in the back of the room. So that has kind of been, it's kind of been a little bit of a tradition, four-show tradition, I guess.

Mac Wilson: Now I'm curious, the very first time that you did that, went out in the crowd, was there a part of in the back of your mind where you're like, "This is it, I'm gonna get COVID from doing this."

Jason Singer: Yeah, definitely. I did it in Portland the first time, which I thought was probably one of the safer cities to go in the crowd. And, and then yeah, we probably, yeah, well, it's a little nerve wracking. But I think it's I think it's really fun. It's a moment in the set, I think.

Michigander studio session at The Current
Jason Singer of Michigander chatting with host Mac Wilson in The Current studio on Thursday, April 13, 2023.
Evan Clark | MPR

Mac Wilson: Well, you sold out the Turf Club last night, and you got a poster up on the wall; that's an exciting honor for the Turf Club.

Jason Singer: Very surreal, we've been coming to the Twin Cities for so long playing to nobody; like, last night it was sold out before we got there. And it's, it's very, it's just weird. It feels weird, but it's really cool. You know, like, this is what you always dream of when you like, start making music, that people are going to show up. And it feels like it's working in a way. Yeah. It's pretty neat.

Mac Wilson: A couple of nights ago, you posted a picture of you and your band out on the road very, very late at night out at a certain chain restaurant, that you regretted the decision later in your mind. And we got in talking about fast food chains. So in Nashville, what's your recommendation? If somebody is there, whether it's a chain or something else, a treasure, where should we go?

Jason Singer: OK, there's a couple places. Down where I live. There's a Thai restaurant called Deg, D-E-G, Deg Thai. It's the best like Thai food that I've ever had, which I don't, I haven't had a ton, but it's one of my favorites. There's a brewery slash pizza place called Smith & Lentz. I think it's the best pizza I've ever had. And there's just so many good little coffee shops and stuff, too. I really love it there.

Mac Wilson: Well, you might be a while before you're home, because you're out on on tour right now with a new EP out, called It Will Never Be The Same. It was a long time coming, getting this EP out, after the injuries both to yourself and your wife over the last couple of months.

Jason Singer: Yeah.

A building with a banner reading "it will never be the same"
Michigander, 'It Will Never Be The Same'
C3 Records

Mac Wilson: After you broke your leg during the video shoot and you were laid up for a while, in the back of your mind were you like, "I can't wait to get out and about," and were you balancing that at the same time with, "It actually is kind of nice to get some peace and quiet." How did you balance those two ideas in your head?

Jason Singer: It was the worst, because like, you know, I broke my leg. A few weeks later, my wife got in a pretty bad wreck. And it was like the lowest point of my life. I don't think, I mean, it was the first time I really experienced like panic attacks and like sleep paralysis and like horrible nightmares and just a lot of terrible things. And it was, I was like, the lowest time in my life. It didn't feel like creative at all; I like felt like should I even be doing this thing at all? Like, it took a long time for me to like be able to like walk again. Like it takes like eight weeks or something; six, eight weeks. And you're just stuck at home while everyone else is living their life. Like during the pandemic, everybody was put on hold and kind of like together, you know? But for me, it was just like I'm put on hold and all these great plans that we had kind of got pushed aside. And I was just stuck at home while all my friends were doing their lives normally.

And also dealing with like some pretty, like intense depression. And I haven't really experienced that ever in my life. And luckily, I got like help with a therapist and a counselor and everything, and it's been awesome in that regard because now I feel better than ever. You know, it's kind of weird. Like I feel like as humans, we don't try to make change until we're like forced to do so. And like post pandemic, like, we hopefully, we unearthed a bunch of crappy things that are wrong with our society, and are making active change to work, make those better, and was like same for me with this whole thing; it was like I had some issues I needed to deal with, but I didn't have to deal with them until I was like forced to. And that's kind of like, it's weird that the record is about that, because the record was done before any of this stuff happened to me. And yeah, it's just a strange coincidence.

Mac Wilson: Well, that's one of the things I've always noticed about Michigander's music, where there's this real sense of vulnerability that's in everything. It's really refreshing and candid in all of your songs. I want you to think specifically, role model-wise, who are some of the male musicians whom you've listened to who expressed that sort of vulnerability that you are able to convey in your music?

Jason Singer: I think Matt Berninger from the National. Like, he's like, the National are like my favorite band, and they're just one of those all-time bands I love, and I think his lyrics are so... I mean, a lot of times, they're very interesting, and like, what is he talking about? But a lot of times he's just like talking about his life and how, like, you know he's talking about like, his wife, or, you know, he's talking about his daughter. And those are like, really intimate personal things to talk about, especially for a band that's that size, you know, like, there's millions of people listening to that band, and like attaching to every word that is brought out by them. Yeah, he's an artist that I like really look up to.

The National perform at Rock the Garden 2019
Matt Berninger of The National performing at Rock the Garden 2019.
Nate Ryan | MPR

Ben Gibbard is another songwriter, and Conor Oberst, I think are like some of those really vulnerable songwriters that... Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes. Yeah, those are all specific artists that I, I think, have inspired me to be more vulnerable, because the more vulnerable you are, the more people attach to it, and more people feel like it's real.

And if you're just kind of pulling something out of you, but then it's like not going to, it's not going to work. I feel like in the long term, people care about the story. People don't just want another band; there's already a ton of great bands, we don't need any more bands. We need people that are saying something. We need people who are like, normalizing horrible things that feel bad, you know? Normalizing horrible feelings. And knowing that that's okay to feel that way, and then figuring out a way to cope with it.

Mac Wilson: We're in The Current studio with Michigander. And you worked with Tony Hoffer on this new one? He seems like a guy who brings out the very best in whoever he's working with. Like he made one of my favorite Belle & Sebastian albums. Fitz and the Tantrums jumps to mind. What's the what's the day to day working with Tony?

Jason Singer: Tony made me slow down and take things a little more seriously. I've always taken like, the craft somewhat seriously, I thought. And I've always like, worked hard is what I thought, but Tony really pushed me to like refine things and not overdo things, and take things slow and seriously. And find the best, you know, like dial in that tone. Like if we're spending the time on it, let's make it sound good. And vice versa. Like, if we have a cool tone, let's make the part good. And like dialing that all in, and he's very meticulous and he's like a wizard behind a computer, and he's turning all his knobs. And it was a very cool experience. 

Mac Wilson: So when you say slowing things down a little bit, does that play in at all with the decision to just continue to release EPs while working on eventually towards a full-length album? Like not feeling rushed to put out a full-length record, but just sort of releasing the music as it comes?

Jason Singer: Yeah, I mean, that was kind of like how it was supposed to be; like, I would just want — I never felt ready enough to make full-length album. I do now. Now I don't know if it's just because I completed like, this cycle of like, four seasons, there's four EPs, so it like kind of feels like a complete circle, you know? And like, there's threads that go through them all. And it's like, kind of like this complete, you know, there's, I don't know, like twenty-some songs from, from all four EPs, and they all feel really great. But now it's like, oh, I actually feel like I'm competent enough artist to make a full-length record that is actually solid. Like all my favorite bands, their first records are so important. You think of like [the Killers’] Hot Fuss and [Coldplay’s] Parachutes and like all these like great records that were like, too many to name. But they're, the first records are just so important to me. And so when I make my debut record, I want that to be in that, like, that quality of a record. And it's just really, really daunting to put — it's hard enough to put five or six songs together, but then you think about 10 or 12 songs? That's like, people do it, but it's just really scary. 

Mac Wilson: Jason, I appreciate sort of the millennial perspective on that, because you were talking about debut albums. Like we did a countdown a couple of years back of the essential debut albums, and Pearl Jam's 10 was number one, so I expected it to be you know, Pearl Jam and Led Zeppelin, and then you, The Killers and Coldplay. I'm like, "Absolutely!" Those are foundational records for people our age.

Jason Singer: Yeah, definitely.

Mac Wilson: Yeah. So it's neat to get that perspective. Jason from Michigander, thank you for stopping by The Current studio today, and I'm sure we'll chat again soon.

Jason Singer: Thanks for having me.

Mac Wilson: Thank you.

Video segments

00:00:00 Superglue
00:04:09 The Other Way
00:07:02 Stay Out Of It
00:10:20 Interview with host Mac Wilson

All songs from Michigander’s 2023 EP, It Will Never Be The Same, available on C3 Records.


Jason Singer – lead vocals, guitar
Aaron Senor – guitar, vocals
Jake LeMond – bass, vocals
Connor Robertson – drums, vocals


Guests – Michigander
Host – Mac Wilson
Producer – Derrick Stevens
Video Director – Evan Clark
Camera Operators – Evan Clark, Peter Ecklund
Audio – Eric Xu Romani
Graphics – Natalia Toledo
Digital Producer – Luke Taylor

Michigander - official site