Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Jared & The Mill have been together since 2011. Their moniker – at least the “Mill” part of it – is twofold in meaning. All the band members met as students at Arizona State University in Tempe, and Mill Avenue is the biggest street and the “center of college culture.” The name also refers to the act of completing a song by running it “through the mill” after lead singer Jared Kolesar writes the lyrics, melody, and chords.
The band’s style has been described as a mix of indie rock, folk, and Americana, with occasional hints of jazz and blues touches. Kolesar cites the influence of country artists Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson in giving Jared & The Mill their decidedly western flair. To date they have produced two major releases, following up 2013 debut album Western Expansion with the six-song EP Life We Chose, first made available back in April.
“[Life We Chose] is more mature…more true to who we are as musicians than as a band,” says Kolesar. “It’s about what we’ve given up to pursue this crazy dream of ours.”
He goes on to explain that the band’s fateful decision to pursue music has led to them losing contact with friends, missing weddings and family members being born, and even losing girlfriends.
“It puts a lot stress on our personal lives. In doing what we love and pursuing this dream, there’s the realization now that since we’ve made the decision…we have to make the best of the life we chose.”
Jared & The Mill are currently on tour supporting their new EP with an appearance coming up on December 18 at Velvet Jones. Having spent nine out of twelve months in 2014 on tour, Kolesar opened up about what it’s like to be constantly on the road.
“We see a lot of this nation that most people don’t. The exposure to the underbelly of America makes you grow in such a way that we’re really starting to appreciate who we are as individuals and as friends. I know there are bands that go on the road that don’t really get along, and that just sounds like a weird version of Hell to me,” he says.
“So to be on this big adventure with our friends, there’s no negative energy. We grow as brothers and as men, together shaping our culture as a band and our character as individuals. There’s definitely an ‘American boy’ kind of vibe.”
Jared & The Mill play Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Friday, December 18 at 7 p.m. Visit velvet-jones.com for more information.