Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
pictures by Jordan Beckett
words by @FaleneNurse
I threw caution to the wind recently, by interviewing someone I had actually met in person. I attended a (straight to DVD) screening and afterwards they like to give you lots of wine and snacks. Namely an assortment of fancy cheeses. You sort of get tipsy and chit chat with people that you don’t really know and will probably never see again.
While chugging Pinot and nibbling on a slice of prime English cheddar (with caramelized onions), I came across a young man who looked uncomfortable, slightly awkward and a tad out of place. Not because he didn’t fit in with the dazzling smiles and athletic physiques (er, that would be me, looking like a beige puddle). Or that like most there he hadn’t already won the genetic lottery. Alas, he had, but for whatever reason he didn’t carry the putrid stench of vanity. He leant more towards the confused type, one who had been forced to attend West Point by his overbearing father. Who secretly just wanted to live the rest of his days in a cabin in the woods, with only the wolves as his friends. Or maybe I just made up that backstory because I was a bit bored and slightly drunk, I don’t recall.
So after stalking him in the foyer, I cornered him by the Gruyère. As it turns out, one of his songs was in the movie. His name was (*and still is) Jordan Beckett, he’s frontman of Bootstraps, who were recently feature asAmazon'sband to watch. He’s a professional writer of words and in his spare time, composes music for TV and film. He smokes far too many cigarettes, gets agitated by my nosiness, won a Naxos Award for Best Film Music and you probably listened to him singing in an episode of Elementary, Monday Mornings or Parenthood. He also likes to swim in pools, at night. Two months after finding Jordan by the cheeses, he returned my call. Here’s what he had to say.
Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner.
Are you though, are you really?
No, not really.
Well there you go(I like honesty, as unnerving as he makes it)
I’m still not really sure what you want to interview me about?
Music, your band, composing and stuff.
Well we can get into that later, how did you get started in music?
I got a guitar when I was 18 for my high school graduation and I took it to college with me, where I had a baseball scholarship. Then I was hit by a pitch, which broke my arm. So that took me out of baseball and I learned to play the guitar instead, with a cast on. With all that down time and healing, I kind of became obsessed with learning the guitar. I never formally went to music school, or anything like that.
Before that, what did you do in baseball?
I was a pitcher. What American sports do you know?
(I sense a grin, at least I hope so)
I know some of them (lol)
OK, I was a left handed pitcher then.
Let me rephrase that, I know what the games are called, I just don’t know any of the rules or the positions involved.
OK then, so when you get an athletic scholarship it might be something you would pursue professionally. I don’t think I had the passion for the sport to turn it into a career, even if I hadn’t busted my arm. I think if I hadn’t had an aptitude for sports, I might have gotten into the arts, sooner. I dunno, maybe.
Nathan Warkentin and David Quon from “We Barbarians?” are in Bootstraps also. Are you all from Portland, Oregon?
No that’s a typo.
(ah good to know)
You are misinformed Miss Nurse!!
No it really is a typo, but it’s everywhere online! I met them in California, they are from California, I live in California, but I did go to high school in Portland, Oregon. I feel like I’m doing a check up at the doctor, have you ever had measles? When was your last tetanus shot?
(At this point, like when I first approached him by the cheeses, I’m made aware that Jordan can be a bit odd)
Just give me a diagnosis at the end, ok?
(erm, your mad?)
Can you like a person’s talent, if they commit questionable acts? Like skateboard legend Jay Adams, Chris Brown or Michael Vick.
Yeah if you can separate the two, if they are very talented and you can see them for what they do and just enjoy that, while still possibly disliking them as a human being. I think it’s possible. I’m not saying I do, but I could.
(Jordan doesn’t seem very comfortable giving his opinions on, well anything, in fact he doesn’t seem that comfortable talking about himself at all. Which is again, a bit odd in a frontman. Refreshing though.)
I appreciate people that can excel at anything, to a degree. So you can respect that, but not necessarily want to get a meal with them. Would you so strongly dislike Michael Vick, if he had been fighting rats?
How about gerbils?
Well gerbils can’t quite do the same amount of damage, but it would still be “not good.” I wish I could forgive him, like PETA did.
Well, I think in America pretty much anything is forgivable if you are successful at it. People find your vices less forgivable, if you start losing as well.
Are you planning to do any kind of tour?
Well (deep breath) mmm, I guess the album was officially released in September.
(Jordan’s tone of voice it that of a person who doesn’t seem 100% sure, of anything).
This would be the first time that I’ve had any label or press behind the album, so we haven’t really decided. There’s things we have to figure out still.
Your tracks have been featured on Parenthood, Private Practice, with "Guiltfree" on No Ordinary Family and “Fortyfive” used recently on Elementary. How did that happen?
Well I composed the soundtrack forTake Me Home, which was directed by Sam Jaeger, an actor from Parenthood. He pulled in the music supervisor Liza Richardson and so she heard my music through him. Then they placed a song while we were still working on Take Me Home's score. Then “Guiltfree” was a rough mix, from something else. I wasn't really sending it to anyone, I just gave songs to Sam, while I was creating music for his movie. So it was bittersweet when they ended up on TV. I was really grateful and happy, but at the same time a little nervous that so many people were going to hear what I'd done.
(Nervous? He sounds positively terrified, which I can relate to completely).
It was kind of a hobby, then I was being asked for rates, to play a song on TV. I never had that aspiration, or wanted Madonna type world domination, it was kind of a private thing I did at home. If people responded to it, that does make me feel really good, but I didn’t care too deeply about it being a huge success. I genuinely enjoy the process, song writing and then hearing if something turns out how I imagined in my mind. That’s not always a recipe for commercial success, you know? Beyond that anything in that area is all icing.
So if this is a bit of a hobby, what do you do professionally?
Well it’s started to become more of a profession, as I become more comfortable. I’ve made my living so far as a writer for different media, where I wanna take that and in what area, I’m not really sure yet.
You enjoyed the process of doing a soundtrack?
Oh definitely, I’ve done that for a couple of independent films. I like the end result of it. It can be difficult if you have a specific idea, along the way it never feels quite good enough. I compose the music too, so I get really critical.
Are you uncomfortable talking about yourself?
Sorry, I’m getting more comfortable(laughing). It’s hard to do, you still have to take my blood right?
I’m trying to sensitively guide you through our bloody chat!
Maybe I’m projecting because I’m not very good at it! OK that’s all gonna change right now, I’m going to be completely forthcoming and open(giggling).
Your biggest vice.
You smoke and sing?
Yes but I’m quitting next week. Honest.
Oh well that’s alright then.
Adele smokes, it doesn’t seem to harm her voice too much. Why is that different?
Cause she was already raised in a culture that’s unhealthy, trust me, I know. I’m assuming you are a healthier sort?
Based on what? I’m not completely unhealthy, but could I go out tomorrow and run a 7 minute mile? No.
Could you get up tomorrow and run?
Yeah well I couldn’t and I’m guessing neither could Adele.
Well that’s good that you have embraced that about yourself.
(Cheeky little sod!)
I play a bit of basketball too. Do you know anything about that American sport. Honestly now?
Honestly? No, I don’t.
I swim. That’s more because I feel better in or around water. No one is in my building’s pool when I swim. I tend to swim at night.
I tried swimming at the Y, didn’t really work out, so I gave up.
It’s OK though, because you are English and you can use that “we are an unhealthy people” line as an excuse to quit.
Which I do, often.
I feel this particular segment is very informative.
Have you looked @MIMP, anyone particular stand out to you?
The girls (laughing).
OK, what else?
I think the photographer is amazing. There’s a real knack, to get something slightly sexual, a little touch of softcore, but still tastefully done. MIMP is what the internet was created for, don’t you think?
Any particular girl stand out?
The pictures of Nina Dobrev, because she’s her and also because she reminds me of a girl I know.
Perhaps you fantasize about seeing "that girl," posing in that way?
Mmmm, enjoyable was it?
I don’t know what I should say now?
And what did you say her name was, your friend?
(just laughter, nothing else)
No, wait. Stop. I will say there’s something sexy about a woman getting a little nude, but not completely. I don’t really care for fancy lingerie either, there’s something better about a girl in her own personal stuff. I mean I know they didn’t get dressed in the dark, but it seems more natural the way MIMP shoots them.
The best 3 movie soundtracks of all time?
Oh God!! The Graduate is one, also Garden State was kind of a landmark soundtrack wasn’t it?
One more and you win a prize!
There Will Be Blood by Jonny Greenwood, I’ve been listening to that a lot recently.
Best 3 albums ever recorded, in your opinion?
Neil Young - Harvest
Radiohead - OK Computer
Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
Wow, you knew those immediately. Good job.
I’m getting better.
What is your true hearts desire?
That’s a fucking ridiculous question.
It might be, but it’s really not. Or just say cake.
That my hot water would never run out. So I could take an infinite shower.
A shower over a bath?
Of course. Always a shower over a bath.
Biggest disappointment in life so far.
I can answer that, one was the first time I recorded an album in a studio. It was a complete disaster. The worst version of myself, 180 degrees in the opposite direction of what I wanted to sound like. All because I got in with the wrong producers, giving over all the control to them. Which was stupid for a control freak to do (breaking into nervous laughter again).
A control freak, you, never.
Are you being sarcastic?
No, no, well not 100%.
Why would you think that?
Based on a random meeting and this call. You seem like you could be that way inclined.
OK we will run with that.
What song are you currently obsessed with?
I like Lord Huron’s - Lonesome Dreams.
If you were a woman for the day, who would you like to be?
(This usually goes 1 of 2 ways, if he can find a different way I’ll be impressed).
That’s very Freudian. Rupaul.
I am impressed! You can download “Fortyfive” for free and listen to more of Bootstraps music here.