Brook Jones, 17.
What school do you go to?
I go to stadium.
What is your advice to students who don’t have the privilege of going to a school that supports them?
I’d say that asking-and just being in public, in general, and you’ll start to notice or hear conversations. And, just making sure that you’re out in public all the time and try to be a part of the community. [It] will help you do any of your art successful[ly].
What do you consider to be music?
Music is abstract, it’s whatever noise makes you feel something. But I don’t think that screaming is always music. I guess that’s my answer, just noise that makes sense to you. It doesn’t have to make sense to someone else.
How did you start music?
I just started playing piano by myself in third grade, just messing around. Then I took guitar lessons in fifth grade, and from then it’s just been figuring out whatever I feel and doing whatever since then.
What genre is your favorite?
I think it just depends on the time of day and the mood. Of course I listen to what I play, which is indie-rock type of stuff. I also listen to a lot of jazz, and… I enjoy all types of music. You have bluegrass, jazz, rock, indie-rock…I don’t really like classic rock, that’s the only thing I don’t really like [laughs].
“Music is abstract, it’s whatever noise makes you feel something.”
Are you a solo artist or are you in a group?
It’s kinda both. I have my own solo thing but even that is with a band. I’m in quite a few others with friends.
How many bands are you in and what are their names?
Bath Toys is the most obvious answer, and then I have my own group which is Fantastic Fogman. And, then my friend Christian’s group, which doesn’t play a lot, is Baja Boy. [Christian] He’s the drummer of Bath Toys and then I play bass in a band called Slog, with Zach. And, then I have a band with my friends Croix and Christian where I play bass and sing, and that’s Heathers Sweater. Then, my friend Peter and I, we rarely do things, but we have one [a band] called the Six String Guitar Fish.
What type of music do you cover?
In these specific bands…Bath Toys is indie-rock type deal, very modern. Fogman is more folky and jazzy, but also rock sometimes. And Heathers Sweater is kind of, like acid rock, like Black Sabbath kind of stuff, and Slog is just a hardcore punk band. Six String Guitar Fish is more folky. And then I play bass in general, so I play jazz gigs occasionally, and just playing bass for random people too.
Describe playing in a band in three words.
What’s the difference between being solo and being in a band?
I think that when you’re doing things by yourself you may still feel like…The ‘arg’ is supposed to be like anger and ‘wow’ is amazement, and ‘cool’ obviously means that it’s cool. So, you feel all of those being solo and in a band but when you’re in a band its [emotions] are very noticeable and tend to be more outward because you’re with others. But, if you’re by yourself it’s more internal thoughts.
We interviewed another musician. He’s a solo artist and in a band. He mentioned that being solo means you feel your own emotions, and when you’re in a band you feel everyone else’s. Is that true?
Yeah, I think that’s true. When you are a solo artist, even if you are playing with a band, you’re usually directing everyone and the songs are much more personal. So, when I play in my solo band I definitely feel more of my own emotions. And, when I play in a band and I’m playing, like, Zach’s song, it’s definitely feeling more of his emotions.
Why do you continue to do music?
I kind of said this earlier with what being an artist means, I write songs and music to try to figure out my own emotions. Whether that’s writing a song to try and figure out how I feel… a lot of times I won’t really figure out the song that I’m writing until months later, and then I can better understand my emotions. Or, I’ll switch instruments. Playing drums gets out a different emotion than guitar. Or, I started playing clarinet a little bit ago because I thought guitar had gotten boring, so I just try to apply different types of music to try to figure out myself.
What do you define as art?
I think art is just…any sort of expression of the soul. That’s a simple way to put it.
How have you been able to share your art with others?
This also goes back to a question earlier, just being involved with the community. You need to do that to share your art. Any sort of community, like I said, just getting out of your house but, being in a community online, following artists on instagram, or making tags on your Bandcamp. You have to be involved. It’s very uplifting and helps a lot with art.
Do you have a place in Tacoma that significantly supports teen art?
I think as far as music goes, Real Art, is an obvious one. They really support teens, and everyone because it’s an all ages venue, but especially teens because it’s a really good beginning place to go if you’re in a band and just getting started. Also King’s Books, there’s a lot of shows there that I’ve gotten to be a part of too, where I can do visual art and music.
“I think art is just…any sort of expression of the soul. That’s a simple way to put it.”
How can teenagers or others help expand the art community in Tacoma?
I think reaching out. Also it’s a different kind of being part of a community, instead of just being in a community for yourself, being in it for others.
Why is it important that Tacoma supports teen artists?
Because, we are building the future and art is the most important thing.
Do you have plans for what you’ll do in the future?
I think I’ll just continue to figure myself out. Maybe I won’t be a musician, maybe I’ll end up making hella t-shirts. But, whatever happens I’ll always be doing art. By either staying in Tacoma and recording a lot and/or touring, or maybe I’ll just be a studio musician living in LA, and that’s the last of my hopes. But if that’s where it takes me, then that’s where it takes me. Wherever I find myself comfortable to keep doing my art, then that’s what I’ll do.
Make sure to come to Teen Night!
Follow Brooke @bonkuskat on Instagram! And make sure to come to our Art Show on the 19th at TAM!