Words – Izzy Church

Jason Robert Quever is an American songwriter/producer who began recording at the age of fifteen. He was brought up in a commune in Humboldt, California though, he has been a long time resident of San Francisco. Jason is the only permanent member in the indie-pop band named, Papercuts and he produces his work out of his home studio called, Tiny Telephone Studios. His lyrics are often thoughtful and melancholy, though he aims to create an uplifting experience.

 

When did you start playing?

I started writing songs and recording music in 2004 in my recording studio, Tiny Telephone Studios.

 

When did you write the song, “Still Knocking at the Door?”

I wrote it about a year and a half ago. It was one of my most memorable collaborations.

 

Can you elaborate on that?

Sure. I wrote it with my good friend, Donovan Quinn from the band New Bums. He came over my house and we drank a bunch of whiskey together before we started writing the song. You can never really control how things will work out so, it’s great when you can create a special memory with the person you are collaborating with.

 

What is the song about?

The song, Still Knocking at the door, is about never quite feeling like you are where you want to be, which creates a feeling of exasperation in you. It’s also about being hopeful when things seem bleak. We were going for that college vibe.

 

What is your writing process like?

I start out shouting into a handheld recorder and then I begin the editing process. I’ve learned to become a harsh editor in order to keep things moving in the right direction. I’m always trying to create balance in my songs. It seems that my natural state is gloomy, melancholy, or perhaps that is just where I tend to land naturally. I try to be uplifting, although it is not perceived that way, so I often have to keep trying to make a positive stab at things.

 

Are you ever completely satisfied with your work?

No! No! No! No! That’s four No’s maybe five. I’m not sure. I think most people are like that, right? I get really into something at the moment, it seems intuitive, but then I just can’t relax about it. I have an idea and it works, which is really exciting, but it never last. I guess that’s what keeps me going. Never quite being satisfied with what I’ve done or thinking that I’m going to do something I like in the future. People seem to have this illusion that songs just naturally pour out of a songwriter, but it is a constant work in process. I try to create positive memories and to have fun while I’m working at it.

 

Do you prefer to play in small venues or larger venues and why?

I guess smaller venues. Playing in a larger venue might not be that conducive with my personality although, it’s more about esthetics and feeling welcomed.

 

What is one unforgettable tour or tour memory?

During 2010-2012 I had a super good time on the road. Going to Europe was unforgettable; driving through a totally different country was super stimulating and overwhelming. It was great to see what was Universal about people and what was cultural. I remember walking into a bar in Spain and people turning to say hello to me. Little things like that really stick out in my mind, more than the actual show itself.

 

Who are you music heroes?

David Berman from the Silver Jews. He doesn’t get that much attention, but he should. I also really admire, Dean Wareham from Galaxie 500. I produced their record, Emancipated Hearts last year. Lastly, I’m still amazed by the record, Loveless, by Kevin Shields.

 

Why do you think you have found success in a field that so many others have failed?

Everyone measure success differently. I’m where I want to be in that I can continue. I survived the process. I believe, any amount of world that you carve out for yourself honestly has to count for something.

 

When you say you survived the process…what do you mean?

I guess in the past, I looked at things differently. People would write something positive and I wouldn’t perceive it that way. It gives you a crazy drive and makes you productive when you think that you suck. Now I’m happy just to know someone took something away from my work.

 

If you had to listen to one artist for the rest of your life who would it be?

That’s easy…it would be the Beatles. I’ve listened to the White album one thousand times more than any other record. I never get sick of it.

 

How often do you practice?

I don’t practice with a live band a lot. Mainly, I practice writing songs. You have to be like a boxer and get into shape. Sometimes, I write a song and it is constantly in my head…it consumes me. Other times, I have to hover around it. It’s hard to say what will happen. I just really want to be a good songwriter. It’s not a discipline – it’s a need. You don’t know when something is going to strike you and make sense. That’s why it’s nice to have a lot of things floating around. I collect songs.

 

What advice would you give to a beginner?

I don’t know… just be your self.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

Producing other bands work. I never really stop thinking about music. Lately, I’ve been getting into film, watching Cassavetes and other great filmmakers. I would love to make movies. Also, I’m working on a video for the band, something that is fresh and novice. It’s not supposed to be good, it’s supposed to be fun, but when you get into a new medium you realize how technical it is.

 

What song is the video for?

It’s going to be for the title track, “Life among the Savages.”

 

If you weren’t a musician what would you be doing and why?

I’d probably a surfer or skateboarder. I’ve skateboarded a little, but I don’t really surf because it’s to cold up here.

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