I recently shot Phoenix-based chaotic, indie noise pop band AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad) at the San Francisco stop on their tour for their newest studio album “The Bible 2”. I had the opportunity to interview their main man and songwriter, Sean Bonnette (SB) on his inspirations, meanings behind the brutally honest lyrics, and other details behind the music.
Who are you? Why do you do what you do every day?
SB – I’m Sean. Instinct and joy.
In the track “No One”, you use the term “People Pound.” What do you consider to be a “People Pound”? Literally or metaphorically.
SB – A homeless shelter.
I asked you what your most impactful song had been and you said it was “Big Bird”. Why do you think that is?
SB – It feels the best to sing.
How would you describe your music if you had to?
SB – Garbage pop with good lyrics.
How did AJJ start?
SB – I played some of my first songs for Ben and he left the room and came back with and upright bass and asked me to teach them to him.
How did your musicality begin?
SB – My earliest musical memory is plunking around as a baby on my mom’s old upright piano and jumping on the bed to the Beastie Boys.
What is “Big Bird”‘s “Big Red Bird” to you?
SB – The parts of Phoenix, Arizona that break my heart.
Who are your favorite lyricists and how do you pull inspiration from anyone else?
SB – Berman, Neely, Biggie, Nicki. Bowie. Yes, Murakami and Vonnegut, Wayne White, Mark Gonzales, Andy Warhol.
Your new album is titled “The Bible 2”. Why did you choose this and do the songs correlate with that at all? How so?
SB – We’ll have to wait and see!
If you were to ensure that the entire world could understand one message that your music pursues, what would that be?
SB – Try to be at least neutral to the world.