The Point sat down with singer/songwriter Joel P. West, organizer of the band The Tree Ring, to discuss their final live performance, his experience and his advice for other aspiring musicians. The Tree Ring can be seen for the last time live this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Irenic in San Diego. Tickets and directions can be found at http://theirenic.com/events/
The Point: How would you describe The Tree Ring as a band internally and within the San Diego community?Joel P. West: We’ve never really fit the mold of a traditional band because…we’ve never had intention to grow our music into the realm of national touring. Instead, it’s a network of musicians that have wound up creating a restful home to return to whenever we have time and feel inspired to get together and do some writing. [This network] has always existed almost exclusively to San Diego, and [The Tree Ring] would never have been possible without this city because of the extensive list of people who have contributed to the band creatively or supported it.
What are two points of advice you would give someone looking to start their own band? Joel P. West: Study your favorite records and try and decipher the intention behind them, and see if you can learn how to be influenced by their approach more than the actual aesthetic of the music. Find what you love about the music-making process and focus all of your effort there; it’s probably possible to make a hit record without putting your heart and soul into it, but it’s not possible to make a great, memorable record without loving the music and approaching it wildly and vulnerably. Loving what you do is the best way to increase the chance of other people loving it too.