Photo via bandcamp.com
Young Mister, Oh Jeremiah
Thursday, Aug. 3, 7 p.m.
Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, 916 Charleston St., www.callaghanirishsocialclub.com
Tickets: Call 251-433-9374 for more information
Steven Fiore is bringing his Young Mister project back to Mobile’s Oakleigh Garden District. This seasoned veteran of the music publishing industry has crafted a sound that is more a reflection than a musical style. Having spent time in both South Carolina and California, Fiore has captured the sounds and inspirations of those locations to create a pleasing musical blend that also reflects his love of the English band Electric Light Orchestra.
While the critics want to call it Americana, Fiore’s sound is a little more complicated and diverse than this label would allow. With a new release due out in the near future, Fiore spoke with Lagniappe about splitting his time between the East and West coasts as well as how this has inspired his music.
Stephen Centanni: What made you want to call this project Young Mister?
Steven Fiore: That’s the hardest question to answer, because there’s no cool story there. It’s a name that I’ve kept in the back pocket for a long time. It always just felt like it rang true with my personality and the stuff that I do.
Centanni: You worked for years on the publishing side of the music business. What made you want to take the stage full time?
Fiore: I was doing the writing and the artist stuff back to back for a long time. I took a few years off from the artist thing, but for awhile I was doing both pretty solid at the same time. I had just got out of my publishing deal during the same year that I had signed the contract with Refresh Records. It seemed like the right thing to do. I felt like I had more to say for myself than for other people.
Centanni: In addition to writing, you’ve also done some vocal work for some folks. One of those people was Jeff Goldblum, who has a jazz project. How did you find yourself working with him?
Fiore: I got a text message from my manager that basically said, “Do you want to sing for Jeff Goldblum?” I was just about to move out to L.A., so I replied, “Yes, tell me more.” He had gotten my stuff to [Goldblum’s] manager, and he liked it. He has this jazz project where he gets a couple of guest vocalists to come up and sing a few songs at each show. I did it one time, and it kinda became an open invitation to come up. I was doing it every few weeks when I was living out there.
Centanni: You cite Electric Light Orchestra as one of your major influences, which I thought was very interesting. What is it about ELO?
Fiore: I love the way they wrote their songs almost like pop songs mixed with orchestral arrangements. I always felt like the songs had movements. That really spoke to me. They weren’t generic pop songs. You never knew which way it would go at any moment.
Centanni: Your website says you wanted to maintain an “ethos of Americana” throughout the album. With the Americana label so broad these days, how would you define the ethos of Americana? What is it?
Fiore: I don’t know, because those weren’t my words. I wouldn’t actually describe my music as Americana. There’s definitely a hint of it in my songs. I wouldn’t really put us a part of the Americana genre.
Centanni: That’s good to hear, because I wouldn’t either!
Fiore: Yeah! It kind of got lumped in through songs like “Carolina.” It has a little bit of an Americana vibe, but there’s not really much of that on the album.
Centanni: With this album, you worked with Wolfgang Zimmerman. His name keeps on coming up on my radar with a lot of up-and-coming bands these days.
Fiore: We’ve been longtime friends, and we’ve worked on singles together. We’ve always wanted to make an album together. When the budget came and the label stepped up, we wanted to get into the studio and he was the first person I called. He was like, “Let’s do it.” He’s just got an ear for creating a sound. If you have an idea, he can really make that come to life.
Centanni: To me, everything on this album is pretty consistent, musically speaking. Then, right there in the middle, you see that ELO influence with “Anybody Out There” and “Everything Has Its Place.” It’s like you drop into a different tone. Where did these two songs come from?
Fiore: There was a time period of about two years that these songs took shape. So, it was from all over. It was from personal experience mixed with outside influence. It was a mixed bag.
Centanni: “Pasadena” is my other favorite. You really do a good job portraying your longing for the West Coast. Being an East Coast guy, what is it about the West Coast that inspired this song?
Fiore: I was living out there at the time. It was more being in L.A. and wanting to get away from the noise and move to Pasadena. With the West Coast, I’ve always had a lot of friends there and always felt like I had a very supportive community. I wanted to be somewhere where I felt like it was a little more worry-free and peaceful. There’s a calming, overall good vibe that pulled me out there.
Centanni: Another thing about that song is that it’s a reminder you have a sound that mingles East Coast and West Coast attitudes. I hear Carolina and California.
Fiore: I’ve gotten that a lot. That was the idea. I wanted my sound to blend the sound that I’ve had forever from where I grew up and this new feeling that I was getting from this place that I called home for a short period of time.
Centanni: When can we expect new material?
Fiore: We’re working on a new album right now, and it’s mostly done. We’re looking to get it out in early 2018. I’m really, really excited about it. It definitely has a bigger sound to it. It’s a little more produced. In the live show, I’ve been getting the comparison of The Killers meet Ryan Adams.