August & J
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Take Aim: Amy Sciarretto vs. August + J

If you were not doing music, you would be…

Without question, male prostitute. It's time I start getting paid for all of this. Truthfully though, it would be continuing to build my current business and also getting expanded further into gym ownership. Outside of music, one of my biggest loves is lifting weights. And being a co-owner of a gym, I would push that even further. I really enjoy helping others to get into shape. At least those that can last longer than a week. I do like inflicting some first week agony on people.

Do you have any non-music skills, hobbies or talents?

See previous question. Sorry, too easy. I think weight lifting would be the most obvious. I don't know that it qualifies as a skill but definitely a hobby. Also dogs. Unfortunately, I lost my last dog recently to old age but for 17 years had a household. I found they don't bitch, argue, complain or talk back and they usually agree with me. I like that.

Pick ONE of your songs and share a writing or recording story - put us "in the moment."

I would have to say that would be the writing of our first single, "For Once." I was sitting in the living room watching TV and drinking a couple of beers when a riff entered my skull. I continued to sit there and figure out how and where to play it and also the key. Thought about the chords behind it, the drums and the structure. Finally, in a semi-haze I went into my studio, picked up a guitar and started playing what I was seeing in my head. It was immediate. I had the whole song. No more than 10 minutes of actual playing. The next day I cranked up the computer and recorded the whole thing. (aside: I think that was the last time I ever played the riff properly.) I did envision a chanting time vocal in what is now the guitar solo. I got over-ruled. Probably for the best. I immediately sent it off to August hoping that he would dig it. I actually wrote complete lyrics for the first time as well as a melody and as usual with the riffs I write, a title. I was thoroughly pleased when he commented that it was the most inspiring thing he had heard in a long time. Mission completed. That said, I did not tell him my lyrics or melody. That's his job. And his was light years better than anything I could have ever done. But the title stuck.

Why do you think your video for "For Once" has taken off in a bit of a viral way?

I would love to have a great answer for this but I don't. I think maybe just cause it's cool. It's got a hot girl, destruction, violence, a really cool wine bottle effect and it just looks good in reverse. So I think a good concept goes a long way, but it never hurts to have a great company supporting it and possibly a little luck.

Twitter-size your bio - 140 words or characters, your choice- of what we NEED to know about the band!

Just good music with great melodies, great vocals and unique lyrics. That goes a long way. Oh yeah, and a really pretty guitarist.

August's Answers:

If you were not doing music, you would be…

That's a tough question because writing songs comes naturally to me. It's kind of hard to wrap my head around not being inspired to write. But, if I couldn't do it, I imagine I would be climbing the corporate ladder and saving for retirement. Or, maybe I would be a dog whisperer.

Do you have any non-music skills, hobbies or talents?

I built a recording studio! I studied room designs and discovered affordable ways to mimic the expensive places. It turned out pretty good! That might make you think I'm a perfectionist, but I'm really not. I think the art of building a recording environment is the lack of perfection needed. You don't want parallel walls or the sound waves eventually cancel each other out (therefore you slant the walls). I thought, "Perfect! I couldn't make two things parallel if I tried for a month! I'm gonna build a freakin' studio!"

Pick ONE of your songs and share a writing or recording story - put us "in the moment."

We were writing the 40 album in the Fall of 2011, one day I came up with a melody and a few lyrics in my head and recorded them into the voice recorder on my phone. The lyrics were "Da de dada, De dada da Doo, don't think I don't think about you." I get a lot of idea pieces like that.

That weekend J came over and he played me some music he had written. When he got done he said, "I call it 'The Moon.' Got any ideas?"

My eyes got big and I replied,"Yeah, I think I do. Play it again." As he played the music, I started singing,"Every time you look at 'The Moon,' don't think I don't think about you." It fit perfectly with the melody I had recorded a few days earlier. I love it when stuff comes together like that…chills! We agreed the concept of the song would be that The Moon is the special place in the sky between two people.

When J left the studio that night, I settled down with my notebook to start writing the rest of the lyrics. But…I was stuck. I understood the story but i couldn't get started.

After about an hour of staring at the paper, I sent J a text message: "I'm stuck. I get the concept but I'm stuck!"

J replied: "You travel a lot with your day job. Write it about your wife missing you when you're gone"

I replied: "I thought about that, but I think she likes it when I'm gone! :-) "

J replied: "Then write it about your daughter."

I was immediately inspired. I wrote all the lyrics within 15 minutes.

Our next video was for 'The Moon.' The video portrays a lot of true things about my daughter and me.

Why do you think your video has taken off in a bit of a viral way?

It's eye candy! …a girl trashing a room? In reverse? That's pretty cool! There are a lot of great images that stick with you: the feathers floating up, breaking a mirror with a golf club, throwing a guitar through a TV, the red curtains flying up, the wine bottle collecting the wine from the carpet. Those are a lot of cool visuals people want to look at more than one time. We really had no idea it would get picked up by so many blogs, TV stations, and retail video loops. I never really thought about a retail video loop! But, when we started getting texts messages from friends saying "Hey, I just saw your video playing in Nordstrom's" or "Macy's" or "BJ's Brewhouse", that's when we started seeing the views really increase. It wound up in hundreds of retail locations and restaurants across the country.

Twitter-size your bio - 140 words or characters, your choice- of what we NEED to know about the band!

August & J wrote songs together when they were teenagers. J found out he was a father at 19. He stopped playing music and raised his son as a single father. August continued to pursue their musical dream for the next 15 years. They're writing together again now. They've released 3 EPs and a full length album. They also have a music video with millions of views. Looks like that dream is finally coming true!

How awesome are August & J?

—Amy Sciarretto
August is the singer, and J is the guitar player. Together, they are August & J. We put them both to the Take Aim test and while they outnumbered us, the playing field felt starkly equal.

Their "For Once" video went viral. That's why we wanted to talk to 'em and get them in the Take Aim ring. Check it below: