In Los Angeles, when you meet people you want to make music with, you should make them move into your house. That’s what Jeffertitti did when he found his current bandmates, Evan Snyder and Eric Lodwick.
The band is called The Entire Universe, and they started playing together about a month before they started paying rent together. Jeffertitti, who’s also worked with Father John Misty and Corners, had a handful of songs he’d written, recorded and produced. The guys were able to perfect them through a series of residencies in both Los Angeles and New York (and probably some noodling around in their shared living room).
The Entire Universe recently released a string of singles from their first album, Freedom and Weep, set to release in full this spring. Listening to songs like “Everyone Knows,” you can hear the Brit-pop influence, though Jeffertitti says he’s more motivated by the women in Fleetwood Mac and badass singers like Patti Smith. Watch band’s video for “Revolving Sun” here and read our interview with Jeffertitti below.
The Entire Universe lives together. Could you have this band if that weren’t the case?
I could have a band, and I could have this music and the name, but this actual group, no. It feels really special and all of us are really aware of that. We’ve literally cried in each other’s arms, tears of joy like, how did we meet each other and what the hell is going on? If we weren’t together, things wouldn’t be happening the way they’re happening.
What’s one thing you learned from being a touring musician in a band like Father John Misty that helped you prepare for the leadership role you have in this band?
With the Father John Misty thing, I wouldn’t have done that if Josh [Tillman] wasn’t my best friend at the time. For better or worse, I shun away business opportunities when they don’t resonate with my heart. What I learned from that specific experience was professionality. In that case, everyone was getting paid because it was their job. But I learned you can do that no matter what. Everyone should take themselves that seriously, whether money is involved or not.
“For better or worse, I shun away business opportunities when they don’t resonate with my heart.”
You wrote and recorded a good chunk of the songs on this album before Eric and Evan joined in. How did you find musicians who could translate your work in a live setting?
Logistically, both these guys can sing so well and play so well, I couldn’t be any luckier to find them. Also, it’s kind of funny, but the universe was kind of showing things to me at the time. I was paying attention to little signs. For example, Eric was already in the wheelhouse for this band and I was playing phone tag with him a lot. One day I woke up and considered calling him [to ask him about joining], but I didn’t. I took a few mushrooms that day and went for a walk, and all the sudden I see him walking down the street. In my heart and head, I was like, holy shit, that’s gotta be the guy.
“We’ve literally cried in each other’s arms, tears of joy like, how did we meet each other and what the hell is going on?”
Speaking of walking, your single, “Can They Hear?” talks a lot about walking through life being glued to a phone. Can you talk about what you were experiencing when you wrote that?
It’s almost like an autobiography in a way. I’m making fun of the way things are, but it’s also me. I mean, the day I wrote that song I was probably on Instagram trying to watch a movie yet simultaneously not even paying attention to that movie because I’m looking at my phone.
Now, when I sing that song, I think about my girlfriend who lives in New York. I Facetime with her every day — that’s my romance for the evening. It’s really twisted, but it’s also beautiful. I can see her face and hear her voice because we live in today’s society. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even be able to know how the hell she was that day. At the end of the day, there are really good things and really poisonous things about technology, but we have the power to use it for good or evil.
“it’s kind of funny, but the universe was kind of showing things to me at the time. I was paying attention to little signs.”
Last thing: What separates The Entire Universe from other contemporary garage rock bands?
What separates us is that we’re not trying to jump on any current trends. We didn’t set out to rehash old ideas, live in the past or hide behind a wall of reverb, delay or sonic trickery. Although all that stuff is actually quite lovely, really.