Helen Doug 19/12/2005
The first thing you notice about Jont is that he's fairly tall. The second is that he wears a really cool fedora-ish hat. God Is In The TV Zine meets singer songwriter Jont before his plays Birmingham , his last gig of this UK tour. We exchange pleasantries and he tells us that the tour went well and that the London gig was completely sold out so not even his parents could get in. There's a lot to talk about and once we find a quiet spot to do this interview, the questioning begins.
His story begins London , where he is originally from, and moves across the pond to America , a country that Jont had visited on many occasions as a youngster. He's now based in LA but at the age of seventeen Jont had gone there to meet and interviewed American poets such as Allan Ginsberg. Like a plot straight out of a Hollywood rom-com the decision over to the States was also inspired in part by a girl he'd met at his local pub. “I was thinking of going to LA and she was like I'm going to New York and then I was like oh, I'm going to New York as well”. This is was the girl who he says inspired five songs. He must have had it bad “It was a bit silly”, he laughs. “I was just inspired, it was a good inspiration. I did see her the other day though. She's back in England now”. This period of upheaval inspired many of the songs on the One Long Song EP. “It was part of this surreal six month adventure that I had with this amazing man that I met who was my manager at the time. It ended with a sort sadness, I guess and to a certain extent and epiphany,” says the 32 year old.
The young Jont set his sights on being a musician or writer early on and formed bands while still at school. “I got a band together called Positive Vibes and Happy Times, and we were all different hippies, I was morning dew my other friends were morning skies and Evening Sunshine and we wrote a song called Taking Care Of Your Hair or some stupid shit like that. At my first year of uni I wrote a song that meant something, I was inspired by some girl then just carried on writing songs and at a certain stage it was like 'wow, maybe I want to do this'”.
He may have had his mind firmly set on the long rough road to musical success, but did Jont ever have anything else in mind? “I'm doing this because I didn't want to have a job. I wanted something to do with my life which was just what my life was,” he asserts. “You just back yourself don't you? You say to yourself I know this works, what's why this many people are into it, these people like it. All the time I've done it, I've always had people around me, it's taken a long time to get there, but there's always been some manager here, or this person here, or this person about to sign you or this amount of people always coming to see your gigs. So that's one side of it, but also, you know inside if you're doing it right. You know if you're writing something that's good or not. That's why some people should just give up because they're rubbish, and gradually they do. They get less enamoured with the wrong reasons of performing”.
If there's more to Jont than meets the eye, he's not telling. Asked what inspires him he simply says, “I expect that if it wasn't the same things that inspire you then it wouldn't work would it as a song.” Pressed further on the autobiographical nature of his songs he insists that there are only elements from his real life that have ended up being written about in his songs. “Songs are fiction anyway. There's a lot things I end up writing about are things that are absolutely based on things that have happened to me, but how I articulate that and how that comes out … it's not like I'm giving you a very clear picture. I'm not saying I have to write a song that's about this or whatever”.
We haven't long before he has to go on stage. Is there anything he's looking forward to, brining things to a close. “Tonight's gig” he replies. He's not giving too much away but that's probably what makes him an interesting character.