Paul Janeway and Jesse Phillips started St. Paul & the Broken Bones four years ago in Birmingham, Ala., as a "last hurrah."
The two had played together in other bands, including the Secret Dangers, and were at the point where real-life concerns were trumping their musical ambitions. "Jesse was like, 'Lets record one last time. Let's just record our musical relationship,'" Janeway, 33, who studied accounting, says by phone from Minneapolis. "So I figured 'Let's do it,' and that became this band."
St. Paul & the Broken Bones is certainly a full-time and potent concern, with two critically lauded albums -- including this year's "Sea Of Noise" -- and an EP behind it, and plenty of touring and international festival appearances, as well as a couple of opening slots for the Rolling Stones Zip Code Tour in 2015. With "Sea Of Noise" the eight-piece soul-rock group has set sail on the road again, with plenty of wind in its sails...
The group is playing larger shows and selling more albums than ever, and getting plenty of media attention to go with it. But Janeway is only mildly `cognizant of the buzz. "All I know is we play shows and more people show up; That's really kind of how I see it," he explains. "Do I love making a living at this? Absolutely. That's what it's about for me. As long as I continue to do that, I'll be happy."
Making "Sea Of Noise" was different, and better, for the group than 2014's "Half The City, which was produced by Ben Tanner of the Alabama Shakes. "People care this time -- that's one difference," Janeway notes. "That was not the case the first time. For this one there was an anticipation, which was bizarre. I feel a lot better about this record than I did the last one, but there are still things I wish I would've explored a little more. That's always gonna happen, though, so you just have to come to peace with that."
Janeway says plenty of touring in support of "Half The City" made a significant impact on "Sea Of Noise," too. "The first record we made, we were only a band about four months and this record we had about 500 shows under our belt, so it's a totally different band," he says. "I just wanted to do better and expand the sound, and that's what we did. We just had time to think about developing harmonies, about what I was saying in the lyrics. And I was able to really explore my voice more, see what limits where there. We just didn't have time to do that on the first album, so that was really nice."
The soul that's indigenous to St. Paul & the Broken Bones' sound is the product of osmosis, according to Janeway. "When I was little I grew up singing in church, and my mother was into gospel music and a little bit of soul," he says. "There's a lot of things I think have soul. It's happening less and less nowadays, but to me, that's my origins. There's all sorts of influences, and I think that's going to continue to happen and make their way into (the music)."
Besides working with the Broken Bones, Janeway is fielding calls to do some guest singing for other artists -- a list that recently includes the Chemical Brothers and British DJ Sigala. "To me it's part of jsut exploring and see if it's something I can get down with," Janeway says. "It was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I think it'll be interesting to see how that works out. I'm kind of testing the waters with that kind of stuff, 'cause that is definitely not what I do."
St. Paul & the Broken Bones and Diane Coffee
Wednesday, Nov. 2. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.
Tickets are $25 and $40.
Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.
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