JT Tollas on His Deeply Moving New Project and Latest Video
"You should never give up on your dreams because you never know what could happen if you just keep pushing forward."
An inspirational message from JT Tollas from PostScript, a new music project that faces some deep and emotional corners of our existence. Watch below for the premiere of the latest video and read on for insight into why the project is so important to him.
How did you become interested in music?
I have been interested in music for as long as I can remember. My entire family plays music. I was fortunate growing up and went to a charter Arts school from kindergarten to 9th grade. My grandmother was also a vocal coach for many years and she showed me a thing or two while I was growing up. She actually passed away when I was on tour with my band Famous Last Words. Before leaving for that tour, I had to say goodbye to her while she was in hospice, so I knew it was the last time I would see her. But she supported me till the very end. My dream when I was a kid was to travel the world playing music and it hasn't changed since then.
PostScript specifically has a fascinating backstory. Can you talk about how you started this project?
When I started PostScript, I was at a low in my life. I was contemplating giving up music entirely and just settling down with my girlfriend and my daughter. I've always been torn between my home life and my dreams, but I decided to just go for it and record a couple of songs to see how they would turn out. This is my first solo project and my first project in the pop genre, so I was a little nervous. But once I heard the final product from the studio, I KNEW I had to continue on. I hit up a good friend of mine, Charlie Anderson, who I've worked with for many years doing music videos for my other band. We decided to start a new company called The Avox Agency that is similar to a music label, but focuses on short term artistic projects rather than long term contracts that tie you down. So PostScript is kind of the Guinea pig for Avox. It's pretty incredible that two awesome projects/ companies were started by taking a chance during a pretty low point in my life. Just goes to show that you should never give up on your dreams because you never know what could happen if you just keep pushing forward.
How does PostScript differ for you from other projects with which you are involved?
PostScript is a much more personal project for me. Unlike my band, Famous Last Words, which has primarily done concept albums in the past, PostScript deals with more personal issues that I hold close to my heart. The genres are also completely different. Going from heavy rock/ metal-core music to pop is something that I've seen many heavier bands do recently, but I like to think that PostScript has a sound that stands out from other artists that have made a similar change in direction.
Your latest single is "The Witch in the Woods." This song was inspired by your personal experiences. Can you talk about that a little bit?
The song was inspired by a pretty shitty event. I was on tour once and I felt off every minute of everyday. I was at the point to where I was sobbing in my bunk for no reason at all. Trying to hide it the best I could by shoving my face in my pillow. It was a really dark and low time for me and I didn't even know why. We were playing a show in El Paso, and after load in I walked around the corner, sat down against a wall that was part of this old building. I had a knife with me and I started running it up and down my wrist barely cutting the surface of my skin. I was ready. My body shaking, ready to make a deeper and more final cut, I suddenly realized, "I don't want to die in fucking El Paso."
Suddenly thoughts of my daughter and my girlfriend went rushing through my mind. Those thoughts are what really made me hold on. In the song the character is in a dream. He is faced with a decision. He sees a dark road ahead, or an old run down cabin with a witch. He can either stay in the cabin where he knows there is shelter, but does not yet realize the consequences of staying with a horrible witch, or he can take the path of darkness which represents the unknown. To me, the witch represents the quick easy way out, and the dark path represents the path of life which is always unknown. It may be dark and un-seeable ahead, but it beats staying with a witch in a dilapidated cabin with a dead horse in the front yard.
This track seems emblematic of using music as an outlet when getting through hard times. Do you hope it inspires listeners to do the same when they are struggling?
I absolutely hope it inspires people to find a healthy and productive outlet to deal with their issues, no matter what they are. Music has been there for me in my darkest times and has helped me get through them. All I can hope for is for my music to have a similar effect for others.
What is coming up next for PostScript?
I have two more singles waiting on the back burner to be released. Each song I have recorded so far has its own unique sound, and I can not wait to reveal them to the world.
Rachel A.G. Gilman is a writer, a former radio producer, and probably the girl wearing the Kinks shirt. She is the creator of The Rational Creature and suggests you check it out. Also visit her website for more.
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