Früher war Paul Janovitz der Frontmann des Bostoner-Trios Cold Water Flat. Im Stil anderer Ikonen dieser Gegend (Buffalo Tom, The Lemonheads oder Dinosaur Jr.) spielte die Band in den 90ern zwei bärenstarke Alben ein. Leider hinterließ die Band-Chemie für Paul einen solch faden Beigeschmack, dass er dem Business Adieu sagte und seit dem Ende von Cold Water Flat sein Geld als Fotograf verdient. Richtig los ließ ihn die Musik allerdings nie und deshalb ging er Ende 2007 zurück ins Studio, um an seinem ersten Soloalbum zu arbeiten. Im Gegensatz zu seiner alten Band ist Janovitz solo eher in der Singer/Songwriter-Nähe seines Freundes Brett Dennen anzusiedeln. Eine erste Kostprobe findet ihr auf der MySpace-Seite des Songwriters. Mitte November gab es die Chance bei Paul u.a. einmal nachzufragen was er genau plant, wie er auf die Cold Water Flat-Zeit zurückblickt oder inwiefern er mit seinen Brüdern, ebenfalls Musiker, zusammenarbeitet.
Sonic-Reducer: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Paul Janovitz: Well, like every kid I was asked that question a million times and the only answer I ever had was John Bonham. He was the reason I started playing music in the first place. I had always found music to be one of only two things that ever grabbed my attention (the other being pictures either still, motion, paintings etc..). When I heard “Zeppelin II” I was floored by it and that was it for me. I never wanted to be famous…I just wanted to make music and be around it at all times.
Sonic-Reducer: You are a photographer and a musician. Is there something in particular that connects the two art forms for you personally?
Paul Janovitz: In terms of whether or not there is something that connects the two the answer is undoubtedly yes. They are obviously both very creative endeavours to undertake and to do either of them well you really need to start by just having a knack for it. Again, these were the only things that ever really grabbed my attention…kept my interest for any period of time. You find many musicians in the photography world and lot’s of photographers in the music world. I hope that answers your question.
Sonic-Reducer: Does your work as a photographer sometimes influence your song-writing or do your songs sometimes inspire your photography in a certain way?
Paul Janovitz: Well, the only way one inspires the other is that as a musician I have been in front of the camera a bit and now I’m on the other end. So I love to photograph musicians, as well as artists of any kind, because there is a common ground to work with. I know what it’s like to be in front of the camera and because of that I know how to interact with my subjects and make them feel comfortable and assure them they will enjoy the experience as well as like the pictures…God…at least I hope so.
Sonic-Reducer: You still live in Boston, a city with a vital music-scene. How did the scene change since you were an active member with Cold Water Flat in the 1990’s?
Paul Janovitz: So much has changed that I could go on forever. Let me see if I can put it simply: After the whole Nirvana thing EVERYTHING changed. When I first was living in Boston I would go to places like the Middle East and TT the Bears with a whole group of friends just to go see live bands play. And, as a result, I saw a lot of great bands before anyone really knew who they were. For example, I saw The Jesus Lizard, Helmet, Nirvana and countless others just because I happened to be there. No one does that anymore…just go, man!! Also, ever since the whole Nirvana thing, every Joe Schmo started picking up guitars and writing songs to be “Famous”. Think about all those bands from the ‘90’s who had a successful record. How many of them are still around? Not many…I could name a bunch, but that would get me in trouble…
Sonic-Reducer: You are currently in the middle of recording your first solo-record. How did that idea arise and what got you back into writing songs and to want them to be recorded?
Paul Janovitz: Well, when Cold Water Flat broke up I was pretty disillusioned by the whole scene. I also was tired of the big loud rock thing as well. My favourite music at that time, as well as now, has always been the more mellow stuff…sound wise that is. I’m a huge Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, Tom Waits…etc fan and I tend to enjoy the stripped down acoustic stuff. So that is where my head was when the band broke up. I started sitting in my kitchen re-working songs like “Magnetic North Pole” as just me and my acoustic and it was refreshing. I re-discovered what it was about music that I loved in the first place and that is the intimacy between you and just the song…not all the extra stuff on the records. I do like that stuff, or “desert” as Sean Slade calls it…keys, strings, tambourine…whatever…it’s just that I feel more genuine when I am just sitting with my guitar singing my songs. I feel that I am a much better song writer now then I ever was.
Sonic-Reducer: What can we expect song- and sound-wise? Do you take an acoustic-approach – like the song “Some Of Us” that you have on your MySpace-page –, or do you plan on incorporating some Cold Water Flat-elements?
Paul Janovitz: No CWF elements except whatever comes naturally to me. It is pretty much just me and my 1963 Gibson Hummingbird and my voice. I will add some harmonies and am going to have, hopefully, Duke Levine and Kevin Barry do their magic on guitar, but that’s pretty much it.
Sonic-Reducer: You already worked together with your brother Bill (Sänger und Gitarrist von Buffalo Tom, d. Red.) when it comes to photography. Have you lately thought about joining forces musically as well?
Paul Janovitz: Bill and I used to play in a band together in High School when I was a drummer. Last Christmas Bill, my brother Scott and I got together with some friends backing us up on bass, drums and keys and did a show of covers by bands with brothers in them…like the Everly’s, Bee Gees, Allmans and Beach Boys. That was a lot of fun, but I doubt that Bill and I will collaborate on anything unless there is a therapist involved like Metallica had. Scott and I played in a band together up until a few years ago called Dragstrip Courage that Scott was the songwriter for and that was a lot of fun. He has two new bands of his own worth mentioning…The Russians and The Great Bandini. The former just finished an EP that I absolutely love. They both have a MySpace-page.
Sonic-Reducer: Was there a time when you thought about a comeback of Cold Water Flat and are you still in contact with your old band-mates?
Paul Janovitz: No…I never thought of doing a reunion with CWF…I have nightmares about it as it is…and no I am not still in contact with either of them.
Sonic-Reducer: What bands and song-writers do you currently listen to?
Paul Janovitz: Right now I am listening to all sorts of stuff so I’ll just list them:
Ryan Adams “Easy Tiger”… great record
Dwight Yokam “Blame the Vain”… released summer of ‘06
Fleetwood Mac “Rumours”…
Anything by Tom Waits or Neil Young is always in rotation.
Dennis Brennan “Engagement” released on Hi-N-Dry records…he’s a Boston guy and not only do I love his music, but I love him as a human being.
The Russians “Self Titled EP”… (www.myspace.com/therussians)
Sonic-Reducer: Your favorite quote?
Paul Janovitz: There are so many quotes that I love, but I will leave you with something from Robert Frost.
“Somewhere ages and ages hence,
two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Sonic-Reducer: Thanks a lot for sitting down and answering these questions!