What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
My name is Jonathan Hodges, and I am a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, who records and performs under the alias Bomethius. I started recording music because I realized, about halfway through undergrad, that college was going to insist upon wasting most of my time. I was studying violin performance, but I had always wanted to record my own work. Unfortunately, I hadn’t really ever had the means, until I discovered that the Garageband app on my iPhone actually wasn’t terrible. I still didn’t have a proper mic, but my headphones had a mic for phone calls, so I just used that. I ended up basically recording my entire first solo album through that mic into the Garageband app on my phone. Eventually I was able to upgrade my equipment, but once I had figured out how to record my own work I just never stopped. I put out my first Bomethius album in 2017, and later this month I’ll be releasing my fifth album on March 26th, 2021.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Seasons of Limbo is a record that seeks to bring hope to people, but to be honest I wrote it to bring hope to myself. In the past I may have spent too much time trying to write clever songs that fed into the idiosyncratic manic indifference of my alias, on this record I endeavored to write sincere songs that made me feel better; that ministered to my hurts and anxieties; that felt like I had actually said something that could perhaps even be misconstrued as truth; and some days I like to hope that I almost succeeded. Given that I recorded, mixed, and mastered the album, I can’t really hear it anymore so I don’t know if I was successful. But what I hope this record does is exemplify the innermost struggle to remember the big picture, to love people, to be grateful, and to laugh — especially when we feel like we’re in the outermost circle of hell.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Andrew Bird, Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys), Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Randy Newman, Søren Kierkegaard, and David Bentley Hart.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I call my genre Mischievous Baroque/Folk-Pop. Which basically means that I’ve attempted to synthesize my main influences into my music.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Albums: Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, Figure 8 by Elliott Smith, Good Old Boys by Randy Newman, and Historian by Lucy Dacus
Standup Comedians: Dave Chappelle, Mike Birbiglia, and Daniel Sloss.
Books: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, The Essential Kierkegaard edited by Howard and Edna Hong, and The New Testament as translated by David Bentley Hart.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I enjoy both of them for very different reasons, so I’m not sure I prefer one over the other. I enjoy the unfettered focus of working in a studio, and capturing exactly what I want. But I enjoy the community of performing and being able to engage with other people and share my experiences and outlook. I’ve done a lot of the former, and I like to do more of the latter, but I enjoy them both.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
One time a writer insisted that I answer a question, or else he would be forced to leave the unanswered question there, instead of just deleting it and moving on. It was pretty funny, I think. (editor’s note: Hope the next time you set the questions you like and the media answers…LOL)
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Huh, I don’t know. I think “All I’ll Need,” the ninth track on the coming album, is pretty unique, particularly for Bomethius. I suppose it’s the most Bomethian, ha-ha! It’s a keyboard based song, for one (whereas almost everything on the record is guitar based). There are so many major 7th chords, an incredible sax solo from my good friend Ricky Roshell, slappin’ bass line from my buddy, Jeff Tullis, gorgeous guitar playing from my uncle, Phil Hodges, understated drums from my buddy, Matt Shaw (who also plays most of the drums on the record), a violin arrangement of the hymn “It Is Well” ends the track… I mean it’s a seriously complicated recording, but it feels kind of serene to listen to it — like everything just fits, you know?
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Sure! I’m currently writing my next album, which I hope to release sometime in 2022. I’d like to tour too, or at least go back to playing shows with Sofar Sounds, but those plans are indefinitely on hold for the time being.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Do you have any plans to write a book, besides all of the music?
I do! I’m still very much in the drafting phase, and I keep changing the scope and purpose of the book(s), but generally I want to publish my own philosophical musings, expand upon the ideas that define my music, discuss ideas that perhaps weren’t suitable for my music, and sketch something of a short auto-biography. The purpose of the book is to provide a greater and deeper context for my discography, and to further define Bomethius as my alter ego, something or someone altogether separate from Jonathan Hodges. But sometimes I think I’m just not old enough to publish it, much less finish writing it. It might be the book that I work on for the rest of my life, and it only gets published after I die… who knows.
Photo Credits: Barbara Brands
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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