This is your captain speaking

Joseph Airport lands in Dayton for show at Blind Bob’s

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: [l-r] Joe Patterson, Jason Short, Matthew Cutter and Ben Penry of Joseph Airport perform Saturday, Jan. 23 at Bob’s

Joseph Airport is a multi-city music project made up of six young men who are friends first and bandmates second.  With members in Cincinnati, Dayton, Detroit, Virginia and Maryland, the band, under the guidance of Dayton’s own Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices, layers their songs together piece by piece, each member spending months with the material before passing it on to the next.  The result is something that’s part new and part timeless.

Joseph Airport will be playing a show a Blind Bob’s this Saturday. Dayton City Paper spoke with founding member and lyricist, Matthew Cutter, about how they get anything done and where the band will be flying next.

Can you describe to our readers what Joseph Airport’s process is for writing songs?

Matthew Cutter: In general, our two main composers are Jereme Sanborn and Ben Penry, and the two will come up with original songs. Jeremy  … He’ll just sit down and record six, seven, eight song sketches, all at once, and then send those down. I get the song sketches, and whichever ones really speak to me, I’ll add lyrics and titles onto those—and then I’ll do a rough version where I’ll sing, how those are generally going to go. And then, once we have that demo down of just music and the vocals, we’d send that back down to Ben Penry and he would do everything else that needed to be done on the track or he’d say, “That sounds great the way it is. It’s done,” and we’d leave it like that in some cases.

This time, we’re bringing in new guys. It’s more of a challenge to do that long distance because everyone’s recording their own parts, but it’s … very collaborative because the entire creative process is someone says, “Here’s my idea,” and the next person says, “yes, let me add this.” And then the next person says, “Yes AND let me add that.” And we kind of build these songs piece by piece and in layers and whoever’s doing the mixing and the mastering gets involved in it.

It sounds like you guys have a really good working relationship as far as not butting heads. Do you think that being in different cities helps that?

MC: I think the biggest factor involved in that is that we were all pretty close friends before the whole band thing happened. It wasn’t like we were trying to put together a band and then learn how to live together. It was more like, “Let’s get our friends,” and we put together the whole band. And everything we’ve done has pretty much been spurred by Bob Pollard [Guided By Voices] in one way or another.  We were planning on being just a back room, recording-only kind of band. We were going to do things long distance and it was going to be just for fun and just for us. But once Bob invited us to open for Guided by Voices we were like, “Shit, we better get our act together if we’re going to do that!”

Talk about your relationship with Bob Pollard. Are you guys ever surprised by the songs that he selects for you or the order in which he sequences them?

MC: Always, actually. We give him so many songs. For Recording Lake Superior, I think we gave him between 50 and 60 songs to choose from, and we give him a lyrics packet, too, so he can go through and see what all the words are. He told me that his method is to go through and listen to all the songs, and he’ll put a checkmark next to the ones he likes that, like, you know this one has potential. Or if it’s a shoe-in, he’ll put two check marks. And once he decides all the songs he likes it’s …you know, he’s the master sequencer. You know, he gets a lot of credit for a lot of things, but I’m not sure he always gets the proper credit for how he arranges the songs on the record.

So what’s next? Any tour plans?

MC: We don’t have any tour plans. We might have something coming together in the spring or early summer, but we’re kind of waiting on a few other things. Right now, we have a show planned Jan. 23 at Blind Bob’s, but then in June, our bass player Blake is getting married so we have been assigned to play his wedding party in June in D.C. So, it’ll be our first eastern show ever, so we’re excited to get the band out there. I’m going to try to find a gig for us in D.C. on Friday night, so that whole weekend, we’ll be playing on the East Coast. We have our new CD, Joseph Airport in 8-Mile Blowout at Hot Wheel City, which is going to be released at Blind Bob’s. That’ll be the release party for that. … our next full-length release will be another CD release, and it’s going to be a lot of the songs that didn’t get on to Recording Lake Superior. It’s called Curators of Earth.

Joseph Airport performs Saturday, Jan. 23 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth Street in the Oregon District. Big Baby and M. Ross Perkins are also on the bill. Doors are at 9 p.m.  Admission is $5 for patrons 21 and over.  For more information, please visit josephairport.bandcamp.com.

Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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