Originally from Georgia, Vermont, John Renaud may have been raised in a SMALL town but he had BIG plans! Renaud is the sole captain steering the ship that is Bridgework. A lot of interesting history surrounds Bridgework, as a band, where the group even got to play at the legendary Whiskey A Go Go and according to John it may have been their “best show” ever! John Renaud continues to carry on the name of Bridgework handling everything and anything you could think of. The hard work & determination has definitely paid off because Bridgework has just released its first full-length album titled ‘Every Now And Then’. Most of the songs on the new record were already written by Renaud with some re-recordings added into the mix. ‘Every Now And Then’ is pretty much the guts & glory behind John Renaud over the last 10 years. Prepare yourself for something very special because this highly dedicated artist had this to say: “I’ve never worked so hard on any one project in my whole life.”
“The Game” Acoustic Live:
J Rae: So this may be lame but I just have to ask anyway; do you have any prior experience working on bridges and how many bridges crossed lately? Hopefully none being burned!
Bridgework: I made a bridge out of popsicle sticks once, for my high school physics class. Does that count? Haha!
When we were deciding on a band name, it was the only one of our ideas that we didn’t immediately hate. I think it had more to do with working on the bridges of songs. And so it came to be that we called ourselves Bridgework. Then there are the obvious metaphorical connotations, which I think lend it a little substance.
J Rae: I thought it was very interesting to find out that Bridgework, as a full band, initially formed in 2006 but shortly after the debut release of the EP ‘World Disappears’ in 2008 the band disbanded except for one. The founding member and the only one left holding the torch in honor of Bridgework’s name was John Renaud. Renaud still continues to carry on the Bridgework name handling everything from recording, producing & promoting to laying down all of the vocal parts and instrumentals. And so in reality Bridgework is solely John Renaud who we are talking to today. So my question is to John aka Bridgework and that is how do you find time to fit it all in between covering all operations of Bridgework and work a regular job?
Bridgework: It’s tough. It would be really easy to do music all day, every day, whether it’s writing, practicing, recording, promoting, etc. There’s always a lot to do. I just do the best I can, like everyone else, to make time for the things that are important to me.
J Rae: By the way what is your occupation besides being a musician if you don’t mind me asking?
Bridgework: Yeah, no problem. I teach art in an afterschool program for kids. I’ve been doing that for the last eight years or so. I also work mornings at a small commercial diving company. I’m the office computer geek, and reports guy.
J Rae: I think it’s quite impressive that Bridgework still continued to make music even after all of the members left thanks to John Renaud’s heart & determination. So John you never quit and even toured to Cali, NYC, Burlington, VT, Richmond, VA and Austin, TX performing solo acoustic sets between 2009 and 2010. You even found time to record a new EP fittingly titled ‘No Turning Back’ that was released in 2009. ‘No Turning Back’ says it all for me but I have to ask what was going through your head during this period?
Bridgework: The majority of my musical “career” has been a solo endeavor, so when Bridgework dissolved I just slipped back into a mode that I was already familiar and comfortable with. In some ways, it is more efficient when you’re going at it alone. I just took the opportunity to push ahead as hard as I could. I’m still friends with all the Bridgework guys, and they are all still incredibly supportive of my music.
J Rae: And so I see that the Bridgework magic continued because in 2011 you started a Kickstarter campaign to help raise money for a brand new album. And happy ending to the story because everything panned out and the latest Bridgework record was released in November of 2012! First off congratulations on that feat and second would you mind telling us more about the full-length album ‘Every Now And Then’. What does this particular recording mean to you personally and could you tell all of the Skope viewers what went into the making of this record?
Bridgework: Thanks! Yeah, ‘Every Now And Then’ was a labor of love for sure. All of the songs were pretty much already written. Some of them were re-recordings of songs that I had originally released in 2002. Others were songs that just hadn’t been recorded yet. A few were ones that we played regularly as a band, and then there were a handful of songs that I had been performing in my solo acoustic shows that I wanted to bring to life with a full-band sound. I guess it kind of tells a story about my progression as a songwriter over the last ten years or so. And it was also a process of growing as a producer and recording engineer. I worked really hard to make the recordings sound as professional as I possibly could. There were a lot of late nights and several all-nighters involved. I’ve never worked so hard on any one project in my whole life.
J Rae: So I have to say that Bridgework has a very cool & rockin’, alternative sound and would love to know where the inspiration comes from musically?
Bridgework: I’m nothing if not a product of 90s alternative, punk, and emo. When I really started getting into music, and learning how to play, and experimenting with my own songs, I was listening to a lot of Jawbreaker, J Church, Bad Religion, Face to Face, Sense Field, Texas Is The Reason, Jawbox, Sunny Day Real Estate, Pearl Jam, and The Tragically Hip, to name but a few. I still get a lot of influence from these bands.
J Rae: I couldn’t help but notice that you received a B.F.A. in Illustration from Syracuse and so the Skope Universe, I’m sure, would like to hear more about this side of John Renaud. How does this fit into your current life and does illustration tie in with your music? And does it make you a stronger artist giving you more creativity perhaps?
Bridgework: As a kid growing up I was always drawing and doing art. It was one of those things that I just seemed to be good at. When the time came to start thinking about college, it was the natural thing for me to do. As my passion for music developed more and more, it wasn’t hard to make connections between the process of visual art, and making music. I don’t know if it makes me a stronger artist or anything like that, but I do enjoy both. Outside of teaching art though, I haven’t done much of my own painting in a while. There’s just not enough time I guess. I did do the artwork for both
Bridgework releases, so that’s something.
J Rae: Will Bridgework continue to be just a one-man band or are their plans to expand and maybe add new members in the near future?
Bridgework: It’s hard to say. I stopped playing shows to focus on making the album, so I haven’t performed live in a while. Part of me really wants to have a band again. Part of me is content to just record my songs and put them out, and have that be it. If my recordings were to gain some momentum, and enough people were interested, I would definitely get a band together to play live again.
J Rae: In terms of the history of Bridgework thus far what is the most interesting thing that has happened to this point? What lies ahead if you had to be a physic for just a second and predict the future of Bridgework?
Bridgework: The most interesting thing that has happened? Hmm. Bridgework definitely had some memorable moments, haha, but they weren’t exactly glorious. We played a show once where the only people there were my younger brother and his girlfriend. And then there was the BB King incident. I won’t get into that.
I suppose the highlight of our time together was when we played at the Whiskey A Go Go. It was the third round of a battle of the bands thing. The sound was good, we all felt good, the audience was gracious, and we put on a good show. Maybe our best show.
As for the future of Bridgework? I will definitely put out some more music under the Bridgework name. I don’t know when that will be, but it will happen.
And so the plans are all drawn up now as Bridgework will continue to build upon the momentum. This project is far from complete as Bridgework has much unfinished business in store for us. For more updated information on John Renaud and his mighty Bridgework please SKOPE out: http://bridgeworkmusic.blogspot.com/.
James Rae Jr. – firstname.lastname@example.org