Hailing from Vancouver, BC, the experimental indie-folk band releases their latest introspective and country-infused single, "Blue."
Led by frontman Russell Gendron, Bill Jr. Jr. offers rich and warm instrumentals alongside Gendron's songwriting and charisma. With countless global supporters and collaborations, Bill Jr. Jr. strives to allow their audience to feel the same emotions and sensations that inspire their songwriting.
Diving into their recent single, "Blue," lead vocalist Russell Gendron mentioned, "'Blue' is a sort of a country song but made strange or 'off,' which is why I like it so much." Written while Gendron was forced to decide whether to stay in Vancouver or accompany his partner as she moves to Montreal, Bill Jr. Jr. places vast emotion and reflection into this piece for us to connect with.
Opening the lush and country-infused single, "Blue" is sharp electric guitar melodies and an introspective down-tempo drum beat. Alongside a plucky bassline, Russell Gendron jumps into the song with his heavily reflective lyricism. While expressing the emotions he'd feel if he stayed in Vancouver, Gendron offers an incredibly soulful and bluesy feel that takes us back in time.
We can't help but tap our toes to Bill Jr. Jr.'s heavy and melodic instrumentals, as they power through with nostalgic tones and vibes that make for a completely unique experience. Russell Gendron's compelling vocals lead the song to the end with vast soul and emotion, allowing us to feel the aches and pains of a modern romance.
Catch Bill Jr. Jr.'s latest single, "Blue," on all streaming platforms, and don't miss out on the song's accompanying music video on YouTube.
Hello Bill Jr. Jr., welcome to BuzzMusic. Let us start by saying how impressed we are with the soul and heart you've delivered through your single, "Blue." How long was this song in the making? When did you begin bringing the song to life?
I started writing “Blue” at the kitchen table one night, I think I even have a little recording of it on my phone somewhere. But the final shape of “Blue” really came together when Dan Nettles (guitarist) suggested that what I had been calling the chorus should actually be the bridge. I brought a lot of tunes to the band that was almost finished and they were key in bringing them to fruition.
Could you remind us of the members within your group and how you went about exploring the country twang and feel for your single, "Blue?"
Daniel McNamara (producer/bassist) and I were making demos of “Blue” in Montreal and then sending them to Dan Nettles in Athens, GA. He would send back ideas for his guitar part and I can recall not liking his first few tries! I think I steered him toward a sound I had heard him using on some Hank Williams tunes at the Banff Centre during a residency: they were full of volume swells and little twangs. He came back with that opening lick and that was it! I was really excited for his solo as well, he’s such a great player. Seth Hendershot got the drumbeat right and Daniel worked with Jojo Glidewell (Of Montreal), who plays keys on the track. Ansley Stewart and Claire Campbell sing back-up vocals. I’m really happy with how it all came together.
How does the music video for "Blue" accentuate the song's theme and lyrics?
The song is about feeling adrift after a separation. The separation actually never happened but “Blue” was a way for me to imagine what it might be like if it did: my girlfriend was moving away for a good job opportunity and I had to decide whether to go with her or remain at home. The video is full of props connected to my life at home—my stuff, my friends, my van—so it accentuates the themes by showing me steeped in my normal life at home if I remained. It would be familiar but narrow and unmoored. The camera work is kind of unmoored too and spins around much like I would have done, had I stayed home and not followed my girlfriend to a new city.
Seeing as "Blue" offers more country and soul-inspired instrumentals, is this the case with the rest of your discography? How would you describe your music/sound?
There’s a country vibe peppered across all my music but I think my vocals and at times my chord choices tend to drag the sound back into the indie/folk category. Assigning genres is tough I find. For me, songs usually come about when it’s nighttime and no one is around and I’m working on an idea at the kitchen table with my guitar. It’s soft, intimate and I’m being quiet so as to not wake anyone. I try to take the emotional quality that comes from that type of beginning and push it through a band to make it more enlivened and exciting (I have some serious hang-ups around the idea of leaving the songs as they are and performing just as a guy with a guitar). As a result, I gravitate to the music that gave me goosebumps as a kid—country, rock, blues, roots— and see if my song can live in any of these worlds as I flesh them out.
What's next for you?
There are three more Bill Jr. Jr. tunes that didn’t make it onto “Homebody” and they’re more country/blues-inspired. My plan is to make videos for these and release them later in the year. In the meantime, I’m trying to write more tunes!