“Audio Paint Job is a title that has multiple meanings for me,” Ayron says. “It’s a story about my mental and spiritual transformation through music.” That internal movement can be found in the dizzying array of styles and sounds through the album’s confessional narrative arc. Whether it’s a ferocious heavy rock or honeyed nuanced ballads. Audio Paint Job evokes a wide range of expression in songs that Jones feels will speak to the diverse musical taste of the current times.
Professionally, Ayron Jones and The Way have had a stellar past couple of years. They have built a passionate following as a result of his backing band hitting a stride “that only keeps getting stronger.” This has enabled Jones to craft an astonishing cycle of songs detailing his emotions through a painful divorce, a life inundated by the spotlight, and the painful loss of his mother to drug and alcohol addiction. “Audio Paint Job is the story of the personal struggles I had to endure to find my voice and define my identity.”
This helps explain the huge differences both lyrically and compositionally from their debut Dream. Jones credits previous producer Sir Mix A Lot with introducing him to professional songwriting and eventually moving him ahead to better compositions. It was co-crafting the sophomore release with Barrett Martin (Mad Season, Screaming Trees, Tuatara) and Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Gits) that elevated him to a musical level to match the seriousness of the song topics.
“I grew up in Seattle so I knew Jack Endino and Barrett Martin were Seattle Rock gods,” Ayron says. After he released Dream he sought out Jack to ask if he would be interested in recording his next album. In doing so he ended up recording a project with Martin and a band Barrett played in called The Levee Walkers. The Seattle super group is based on the Mad Season creative template, but has five different singers from around the world replacing Layne Satley — which included Jones. Barrett had also listened to Jones’ previous record and loved what he had done. He offered to record Audio Paint Job and Jones went for it. “Luckily for me he was best friends with Jack, who ended up doing the mixes.”
For fans of Jones And The Way, they are bound to notice some differences between their first and second record. Working with Barrett really helped Jones develop in crafting tracks, and his steady hand in collaboration is felt throughout APJ. The differences in production can be attributed to Mix A Lot working digitally, while APJ has that deep, analog-driven traditional Seattle rock sound. But sonic influences included Motown, Michael Jackson, and Dr. Dre, as well as grunge.
The first single is “Love Is The Answer” which Ayron urgently feels has a message of peace the world needs to hear right now. Next will be “Take Me Away” which epitomizes his band’s sound, a perfect mashup of blues, grunge, and hip hop. “It’s about my troubled upbringing and how music became my way out of the pain.”
APJ also explores Ayron’s hometown music scene, “Boys From The Puget Sound”: “For a while when we first started we were playing places that our band was way too loud for,” Ayron says. “I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had the cops called on us because of a noise complaint. Being born and raised in the city of Seattle is super rare. I wanted to write a song that summed up my feelings on gentrification and gave people from my hometown a song they could call their own.”
If playing in city venues is sometimes a hassle, he gets a lot of thrills performing at festivals like SXSW, Sasquatch, and Bumbershoot, all of which the band has done. Ayron describes the feeling like no other, being on stage front and center with thousands of people watching and digging it. “It’s the kind of thing you dream of as an artist,” he says. It took him awhile, but he fell in love with it and especially found
Sasquatch a culture shock. “I’d never been gorge before. My first time there was to play on the Main Stage. The show went great and about halfway through the second day I realized what a big deal the festival was and I broke down crying. That was a really special experience.”
APJ itself was made as Jones and his band kept getting calls to open for major acts like B.B. King, Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, Rahkim, Jeff Beck, Robin Trower, Spearhead, and many more. Earlier this year Ayron Jones And The Way got picked up by the Agency for the Performing Arts and thus Ayron feels it will be a break out year for his music. “I’m extremely grateful and anxious to see what’s next.” So are a lot of music fans!