Where PJ Feels At Home: An Interview With PJ Bond
By: Karen Mitchell
Hailing out of New Brunswick, New Jersey PJ Bond has an acoustic indie-folk sound that has been spreading to the ears of hardcore, punk and emo fans all over the world. Coming from a family that has been playing music for years and being in bands such as Marigold, The Color Fred and Out Smarting Simon, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to see PJ Bond live just a few weeks ago at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I was so intrigued by his presence and his performance I wanted to learn more about him. I was lucky enough to have an hour and a half conversation with PJ going over his background and his lifestyle. I can honestly say PJ is genuine, honest and has a strong passion for the music he writes and plays.
(Here is part 1 of the interview. Part 2 will be coming out soon!)
To be completely honest with you the first time I actually heard about you was when I saw you live at the Court Tavern a few weeks ago. I wanted to say you played a great live set. Can you tell me about your background in music? Has anyone else in your family played music?
My father plays a little guitar and piano so growing up we did have instruments in the house.
My younger brother Brian Bond plays both solo and also plays in a band called Communipaw, which is one of the best bands I’ve heard. My older brother plays in a band called Sirius B and they are a great band to go see live as they are a lot of fun. Sirius B is almost hard to categorize because they have a very original sound, but people tend to lean towards giving them a Middle Eastern rock sound.
I’ve pretty much been around music my whole life in that respect. I wanted to fully embrace it.
Growing up what were some of your main influences as far as groups and solo artists?
I’ve always been heavily into rock music. As a really young kid and in Elementary school I was big into Guns N Roses and I got into Nirvana around Middle School. Around High school is when I got into what was called ‘emo.’ I know the term is ridiculous but I respected bands like Sunny Day Real Estate. Through out all of that, I can say that scene is where I felt at home. One of my favorite bands was called Penfold, which is a band from my hometown. They kind of had that 90’s sound. It was cool to hear that sound that I loved so much coming from a band that not only lived down the street from me but also came from my hometown.
As far as solo artists I remember being young and hating Tom Taylor. I thought his voice was really annoying and I never got into artists like Neil Young. Although I can say now, as I got older I can really appreciate and love artists like Neil Young. I love the music and can really appreciate the song writing.
What was it about emo music that made you feel at home?
You can’t always describe why you love things. But there are certain elements that you can pick out that really appeal to you. When I was in Middle School, my older brother actually took me to go see a band called Penfold, which they were playing at the Battle of the Bands at the local High school. It was real exciting because I would be hanging out with my older brother and other older kids. To me there was something really cool about that. We got to see this band play and my brother had said that the singer had only been playing guitar for about a year or so. After hearing that it was an inspiration. I thought if he could do it, and that I have been playing guitar I could do it too. I wanted to make this happen.
But Penfold, they had that sound that I loved. I don’t know if I loved the sound because it totally appealed to me, or if I just liked the fact that a local band was writing their own songs. I’ll never forget when I got into Sunny Day Real Estate.
In my head I could hear Penfold sounded like the Smashing Pumpkins and some other band mixed together, but I couldn’t figure out who that other band was. So, when I finally heard Sunny Day Real Estate, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. That was the sound that I’ve been waiting to hear. You know that was really where I felt at home. The other things about it were I have always loved Nirvana, but I never had the anger that was associated with it or the angst and the sense of loss. I grew up in a nice town with a good family. I didn’t have a lot of negative aspects that some people grew up with.
Emo was more or so about eternal despair or some feeling of like a fulfillment. Obviously there are the cliche and heartbreak songs. But as a whole I think that it kind of got washed with this broken heart. Their are plenty of songs and plenty of bands that all of their songs are about heartbreak. I think I found a lot of comfort in that because those were the feelings that I was feeling. I didn’t have the “I hate my parents,” attitude that Nirvana exceeded, but I did have that same feeling of knowing that I wanted something more.