Engine Room Audio
October, 2007

Interview with Jerry Cherry

“Life Is Sweeter…”
By Chris McMillen

I first met Jerry Cherry (born Jerry James Giamundo) early winter 2006. He was walking into the Engine Room Recording Studio with a paper bag full of red wine. He told me he was getting ready to finish his vocal tracking, the red wine fueling his inspiration and relaxing his mind and body. He struck me as an interesting man, full of healthy light-hearted conversation wrapped in a dark, almost icy exterior. A walking paradox, a cherry, so to speak, covered in bittersweet chocolate.

As spring came and went, I got a chance to get to know a bit about Jerry. During breaks in his mixing, we would converse about things like old Bowie records, such as “Scary Monsters” and “The Man Who Sold the World”, and top 40 hits of the 90’s. He was all art and pop, art versus pop.

On the cusp of his debut album release, Jerry opens up about “Life is Sweeter…” and his future as an East Village Artist.

ENGINE ROOM AUDIO: Born in Brooklyn, growing up in Florida, what made you want to come back to NYC?
JERRY CHERRY: I moved to Florida when I was 6. I guess I retired early. Kidding. I played in a few bands throughout my life there and met some really great talent. I had no idea really what the New York scene was all about till I checked it out and saw that there was a real community of artists, musicians, actors, and filmmakers. The endless inspiration that is available is what made me come back.

ERA: How did your Florida life influence your music? How about the move to NYC?
JC: I got into my first band when I was 15. We were called No Reazen. The guitarist and drummer I played with were amazing players. They were a few years older than me. They also know a lot of musicians that later became great friends and, in my opinion, some of the most amazing talents I've ever heard. That triggered me to be better. Ultimately, there is no scene there like there is here in NYC. Everything is so spread out in Florida. I love New York for its small, intimate places to its larger venues, where someone is playing somewhere every night.

ERA: What drew you to Engine Room to record your album?
JC: Two of my good friends recorded their album there (at Engine Room), Jamie Rae, and Dan Torres. I liked the way their album sounded and I knew I could get the job done here. I didn’t want to deal with some flaky company I didn’t know. I wanted to work at a place where I knew I could get in and get it done.

ERA: What was the most difficult part of your creative process?
JC: Realizing that I had to re-sing most of the record. Once the mixing process took place, I noticed that everything sounded amazing, except for the vocals. They weren’t good enough to me. I had to hear the music mixed the way it was to finally realize how the vocals should sound and how they should blend with everything. Much like another instrument. It was easier to re-sing everything knowing how I needed to approach it. It’s like recording guitar, once you get your sound you just play. It’s the same as singing. Once you get your sound, you just sing. I had to learn patience. Recording though the winter was easy. I felt like I could schedule anytime, everyday.

ERA: You said to me that you think it’s ironic that now that your record is done, you’ve already changed; that the same Jerry Cherry who is on “Life is Sweeter…” is now a different person, and that the music (creatively speaking) is behind where you are now. So where are you now? Can your current self relate to the album? If not, what does that mean to your creative ambition?
JC: "Life Is Sweeter..." was my first record. I learned so much from that process. I put everything into that record. Those songs mean a lot to me. I needed the record to be as perfect as I could make it. Perfect meaning that if I'm an artist, here is my work. Do you feel the emotion in these songs? Can you relate to them? These songs were all I had for 9 months. I lived in them. Now they’re done. Now, I’m different. I felt like I was a bit safe with the songs and the performances. That had a lot to do with the writing of them. I will grow as a songwriter and by doing that I will become braver with my approach. Push it to the limit. I need to leave my mark on this world. Make a big explosion and let the cherries fall where they may. I'm trying to figure out how to perform these songs live. They’re so emotional. You have to put everything into it to make it go over. I do very much relate to "Life Is Sweeter..." now, and I always will. I have to live. That’s the only thing that can make you creative. Something has to happen in your life, something sweeter, something you don’t ever expect. Next thing you know you’re in it.

ERA: What’s the next step for Jerry Cherry?
JC: Prey that people like my album. Get as many people to hear it. All I can do is put it out there. There’s no denying it. People love it so far. I've gotten nothing but positive feedback on it. I know the industry's much more than being creative. Unfortunately, I have to put on my business hat and sell, sell, sell. I’m playing shows around town, fine-tuning the band. Getting the act down tight. Someone told me once that it’s better to be prepared and never get a chance than to get a chance and not be ready. Either way I'm ready.

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