Thursday, November 3, 2011

Q & A: Paul DeCirce, frontman of Peace Jones

Music that transcends boundaries
of private and public life

THE INDIE: It’s almost been a decade since Peace Jones was formed here in the mountains. Was there a significant change from your inception years to current times? Did you somehow alter or modify your musical direction as per Asheville’s ever-changing or evolving persona?
DeCIRCE: Since our inception in 2004, the band has undergone an evolution towards a greater sound and vision for us. Energetically, we've gone through so many changes, it reflects. Our style is a mix of progressive and jazz rock , with the flute still at the front of the vibe.
Asheville is an integral part of the sound as PJ is seeped and created here, it is its home. But we represent the older style of Asheville, the wilder side when the scene wasn't as tourist motivated. We have and still represent the wild native spirit of this city, the original true voice that is in the wind and clouds and upon the tips of leaves. We are completely motivated for two things: jonesing for peace, and representing the true nature of our fair city.

THE INDIE: Asheville has grown so fast in the past few years, has this change somehow helped Peace Jones create a new or expanded audience or fan base? Are the clubs more open to local bands than before?
DeCIRCE: The scene is changing and evolving as well but the WNC greater region has always been excellent. We've developed fans all over the region and have been gigging downtown once a month or so. There is a lot of awesome talent in town and I keep myself up to date with all of the new acts. We like to gig with groups less known as we also represent an independent act, not part of any kind of clique -- we're open to jamming with whomever, wherever, whenever!

THE INDIE: As an individual or mainperson for Peace Jones, how do you keep up with your personal, family or married life while keeping tab with your professional musical career?
DeCIRCE: Music is first in my life and the new recording we're working on. I've been single again for about a year and half. I've been doing more work on the self and have having revelations in connection with art. Such as—the instrument, whether it be keyboard or paintbrush or woodwind instrument -- operates the same. It only 'works well' if you allow the instrument to create a resonance in your Self, your true nature. Then it works. For example, I am trying to get a good "E" note on my flute. E is not easy the flute as it's low down the scale. I blow, I get a note, but it's not a true note. I have to open. Open my throat, open my belly, open my mind. Open to the resonance of the note and then I become it…
We are the instruments. Our living blood, our living heritage. These things stroke our hands as we stroke our craft. Getting in touch with these things has allowed me to project myself, who I am, into stronger art. A deeper groove, a more insightful lyric, a move to love. This is all part of music for me, and transcends boundaries of private and public life.

THE INDIE: So what’s up ahead for Peace Jones?
DeCIRCE: We're working on a recording project which will reflect this growth. Also some special live appearances and a CD release next year.

[PEACE JONES is an innovative funk, Americana and ska-reggae band, based in Asheville. Members: Paul "P Jonesy" DeCirce: flute, leader; David Dhoop: guitar, backup vocals; Greg Terhune: bass, backup vocals; Eric "The Sizzla" Ciesla: drums and percussion. Peace Jones is the main act in the Traveling Bonfires’ “Occupy is The Word” benefit concert at the Flood Gallery on Nov 19. Band info: or find them on Facebook]