Featured on “Sweet Nothings”, “Drown Me” is a haunting and alluring single by Bomethius. The dark piano ballad is a stirring anthem to Bomethius’ own manic strain of indifference. Through his artistic delivery and sound, Bomethius is able to highlight some not so pleasant, sometimes depressing topics and make them bearable. “Drown Me” is a piece that perfectly represents his alter ego, Bomethius, because of this he’s able to be vulnerable and connect with his fans on another level.
Bomethius is the solo project of Dallas-based multi-instrumentalist and singer- songwriter Jonathan Hodges. A capable pianist, guitarist, and vocalist, Hodges has also studied the violin since he was 3 years old. Hodges graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2019 with a bachelor of music degree in violin performance. Exploring a range of styles from blues and jazz to minimalism and chamber rock, the album “Sweet Nothings” is Bomethius’ third album to date His strongest and most mature effort to date, “Sweet Nothings” is metaphorical and musical brilliance.
Check out “Drown Me” here and read more with Bomethius below!
Song Artwork by: David Gail Smith
Hey Bomethius! Welcome to BuzzMusic! Can you tell us more about your upbringing and how you got started in music?
Hello! Thanks for having me! A lot of people ask about my name, so I should probably start with that. My mom was pretty intense growing up — I was classically educated, and we started school when I was about two years old. I think we had been reading through the more accessible Greek myths when she suddenly just started calling me Bomethius. I like to say that it's somewhere between Prometheus (stealing fire from the gods and then being tortured for eternity) and Boethius (The Consolation of Philosophy), but it's actually just my childhood nickname. I started studying the violin when I was 3 years old, and my parents made it pretty clear that whether I enjoyed it or not I had to play until I was 18. I have to admit I didn't really like it very much. Violin requires intense concentration, and sometimes a mind-numbing degree of precise repetition that I simply didn't have the patience for. It makes instruments like guitar and piano very attractive by comparison because there's a certain amount of instant gratification that is simply not present for the first 10+ years of learning the violin — unless you're a prodigy or something. I think that's why I started writing songs. I remember about two weeks before going to college I had been hanging out with my friend Nate Zivin. We were messing around with a bunch of weird synths he had recently acquired, and then next thing we knew we were writing and recording songs. We finished an album together in those two weeks before I left, but once I got to college I didn't have much luck finding the time or the people to pursue recording. I never had money for equipment, and I didn't really know anything about the recording process, so I just resigned myself to recording voice memo sketches of ideas on my phone and hoping I'd get another chance some day. I transferred schools halfway through my undergrad, and I happened to discover that the garageband app on my iPhone was actually pretty good. I was able to record almost all of my first solo album, Gender is a Fluid on my phone — which was kind of insane. I managed to pick up some better equipment by the time I started working on the Bomethius albums, but not really that much better. Armed with a usb mic, and garageband (on my computer) I recorded the first two Bomethius records Intimatitudes and As Roses almost exclusively in my bathroom. Now with the new record, Sweet Nothings, I've graduated to a legitimate phantom powered condenser mic, but the budget is obviously still pretty low. The project is really quite vulnerable for me because I write, perform, record, mix, and master almost everything myself. The progression of the albums, in terms of the Bomethius story arc, is autobiographically informed, but you can also hear me growing up with each subsequent release — in terms of the quality of sound, craft, performance, intonation, etc. I got my degree in violin performance this past May, but with few exceptions I rarely feature the violin in my own recorded work. Growing up I listened to a lot of Andrew Bird, and there's no way I can discount his influence on me, but I quickly grew tired of people comparing us. I think I wanted to prove that I could create compelling music without the one instrument I actually sort of know how to play, but I also think I needed to establish a voice and a sound for myself before introducing the violin.
We love your track “Drown Me,” it’s very awakening. What emotions did you channel in order to write this song?
Thanks! Last summer I went up to New York for a music resort job, and that's where I wrote "Drown Me." I didn't have any of my recording equipment up there, so I had a lot of time to craft the songs I wrote there. I'm pretty impatient with my ideas, and I tend to record songs within a day or two of writing them... so this was a good lesson in really taking the time to get it right. I spent a lot of time on the chord progression for this song, and worked a bit with Patrick Lenz (an incredible composer) on the functionality of #9ths, crazy key changes, and stuff like that. I was separated from my girlfriend for the entirety of that summer, and then over the course of the same summer my immediate family moved from Dallas to Minnesota. I'm the oldest of 6 kids, and I've always been pretty close with a lot of my siblings, so realizing that I'd be returning to Dallas financially independent with no one but my girlfriend was kind of a lot to take in. I've always been a pretty polarizing person so I'm accustomed to alienation, but I've also almost always had my family. Realizing you're on your own, having to take responsibility for yourself and your actions, and determining who you give your time to makes you think hard about what and who is important to you. Sweet Nothings, the record "Drown Me" is off of, deals with the aftermath of losing one's concept of home — it revels in the process of attempting to rebuild. A lot of my music is generally perceived as being cynical and dark, but I'm actually an optimist deep down — I'm just wary of naivety. "Drown Me" is an attempt at channeling and capturing genuine hope, but I think it only works because it isn't naive.
Can you dive into the meaning behind your lyricism in “Drown Me”?
Sure! The premise for the opening line //"Drown me in my own glass of water "// comes from a joke I'd recently developed with my brother Charles. My whole life I've had great difficulty drinking water (or really any fluid) out of glasses. It's almost a daily occurrence that I accidentally get water down the "wrong pipe" or just plain spill the contents of the glass all over myself. Additionally, almost all of my siblings (myself included) are incapable of expressing laughter passively. If something is really funny to us we throw our heads back, flail wildly about, and stomp to and fro. The point being that Charles and I have decided that we'll probably die when our bodies are too frail and aged to recover from our reactions to things. One day, in a few decades, I'll be drinking some water, but then I'll start to choke on the water, and Charles will be laughing so hard at my inability to drink water that he'll break his neck from all the uncontrollable nonsense he's accustomed to doing when he laughs and then we'll die in the same room over nothing more than a glass of water — choking on our own laughter as we go. The next line //"This town is just like the others. Can’t you see the icebergs from their tips?"// comes from the fact that I've moved around the country a fair bit. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, spent my teenage years in Austin, Texas, started college in Seattle, Washington, and then finished my degree in Dallas, Texas... But for all my moving it seems to me that I'm just as miserable here as I am anywhere else. The "icebergs," are the deceptions that attempt (often with success) to sink the proverbial Titanic of our culture — various forms of media, porn, drugs, etc. The internet has virtually rendered our geography meaningless insofar as we are able to hurt more people anonymously in less time than ever before. //"If you stop searching like Hugh Hefner Because you think you've found the answer You’ll have little left to sell And you're definitely going to hell"// I paint Hugh Hefner as the modern image of what a self-satisfied person looks like — a person who is perfectly at home in themselves. It occurs to me that if you don't live your life yearning for something beyond yourself, then there's very little chance that you're a redeeming person. //"We’re always leaving Leaving home And rollin away from our loaned stones On this plain of never ending bones"//
The final verse describes the constant movement of people in and out of my life. Either I've moved away, or they have; we've forgotten about each other, or they've died. In the midst of that kind of upheaval you have to decide where home really is, and what it means to you. //"I want to stay with you. I want to stay with you. I want to stay with you."// I end by professing my love for another. Essentially saying, I'll go wherever, as long as you're coming too.
Do you have any musical influences that inspire your music? How so?
Absolutely! I like to say that there is no such thing as groundbreaking innovation — there is only fantastic synthesis. I attempt to synthesize Elliott Smith, Andrew Bird, Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Muse, Tom Waits, Gregory Alan Isakov, and maybe a bit of Buddy Holly in my work, but not sonically so much. Sure the nods are definitely there, but I think I synthesize the feelings I get from them more than their approaches to composition. My approach to composition is very much my own. I have a series on the Bomethius Youtube Channel called "Learning My Own Songs" where I walk my listeners through my songs and then perform them unplugged with just my guitar or keyboard, and I'm often puzzled by the bizarre forms some of my songs tend to follow. I think I get bored too easily. I've also tended to write a lot of my songs as I'm recording them — something I moved away from on this record. Even still, I tend to find that the scratch recordings I have of my writing sessions typically capture more emotionally moving performances than the final product. Pure feeling is hard to replicate. Scratch recordings aren't concerned with phrasing, counting, or the larger instrumentation etc. they are only about the moment. I think I live for moments of pure feeling. I don't think there's a single artist that captures pure feeling throughout their entire catalogue, but there are definitely artists who strike gold here and there. I think the song "Marie" is a great example of Randy Newman striking gold on a record that is already pretty golden. He almost sounds drunk the way he sings it, ya know? That's a next level performance. Not ever having been formally taught to sing or play guitar or piano, I'm often terrified that people will see that I don't really know what I'm doing. I only ever received instruction on an instrument that reminds me of my inferiority every time I pick it up, so I have trouble really putting myself out there on my performances. My musical influences inspire me to put myself out there; not to fear, but rather to embrace imperfection.
What’s next for Bomethius?
Hopefully a lot! Probably the saddest thing about being an artist who is intent upon growth is the realization that if you continue creating, whatever you are presently working on you’ll eventually tell people not to listen to — because it isn't as good as what you're working on now. I'm almost always working on a few different recording projects at a time, and right now I'm about halfway through writing the next two Bomethius albums. One will be co-written by my uncle Dave, and the other will pick up the Bomethius narrative in a completely new light. I'm calling Sweet Nothings the final entry in my first trio of albums (which includes Intimatitudes and As Roses before it), so the project with Dave will be a great segue to better things. Dave brings an element of seriousness, and unapologetic absurdity that works really well within the Bomethius narrative, so in many ways this project is quite freeing. We'll be drawing on his musical influences more, and he'll be writing the majority of the lyrics. I'm also working on a book that's written from the perspective of Bomethius, as an attempt to push and explore the boundaries of the character more. I want Bomethius to be the musical equivalent of Kierkegaard, but I suppose you can't accomplish a task that ridiculous unless there's a few hundred pages of superfluous writing to go along with it.
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