Jonas Sees In Color
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Jonas Sees In Color

Greensboro, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Greensboro, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Jonas Sees in Color"

In our recent interview, we sat down with Jonas Sees in Color, a 4-piece rock band from Greensboro, North Carolina. The band, consisting of John (drums), Ryan (vocals), Mikey (bass), and Owens (guitar), have 2 albums and an EP under their belts, along with a Battle of the Bands win. After playing Vans Warped Tour in 2013, they’ve been on a regular touring schedule in the Carolinas and surrounding areas. We caught them in Columbia, South Carolina as they opened up for American Idol winner Caleb Johnson.

AMBY: Hey guys, we’re here with Jonas Sees in Color! How are you guys?

JSIC (Owens): Awful.

JSIC (Ryan): We’re stuck here eating burritos with you. *all laugh*

AMBY: How has touring been? You’ve been doing it for quite a while, so how does it treat you?

JSIC (Mikey): It’s part of the week we look forward to.

JSIC (Ryan): It’s really cool. We get to play all kinds of different venues. Normally we have a string of shows at venues that are all bigger or all smaller, and now we’re bouncing back in forth while we’re touring, which is really awesome. Like, the sound of the shows is totally different. Some days we’re playing in a five-foot tiny stage venue and the next we’re playing huge stages. It’s fun for us because it’s a really diverse variety of shows.

AMBY: You guys are pretty well-known for bringing powerful and energetic performances to the Carolinas, do you put extra effort into your stages, or is it all in the moment; going with the flow?

JSIC (Mikey): It’s just kinda how it happens. We don’t really choreograph anything necessarily, but it’s definitely the same type of thing every time. We’re just catching the spirit.

JSIC (Ryan): It depends on the show. It’s not like we don’t know completely what’s coming, but we write a setlist right before we play so it’s not in the same order. But at the same time, we don’t know what’s going to happen on stage-which is the fun part. You have to be very very aware of what’s going on onstage otherwise you could slam into someone. But it keeps it fresh for us! *all laugh*

AMBY: When you are performing, there’s a huge lack of electronic equipment that’s usually used nowadays. Why is that?

JSIC (Owens): We like to rely on each other for our sound. Only kind of relying on that human element allows us to have an expansive set. Where we don’t have to be locked into something. We can make whatever set we want happen. We could change our minds mid-song if we want to.

JSIC (Mikey): Too much electronics turns it into a karaoke show instead of a performance.

JSIC (Ryan): All my favorite songs are played by real people not computers. I guess that’s an old-school view now, which is kinda sad. Playing instruments is really important.

AMBY: Bringing that back around, do you think that digital music is creating a void between bands and fans?

JSIC (Ryan): On some levels, yes. It’s harder to make money via selling music, so there might be fans living further away, and now it’s a lot harder to get to them because you can’t pay for gas. But also, The internet has allowed independent music to become so widespread so quickly, that you get to meet people and show people your music who wouldn’t otherwise have heard of it-like people on the other side of the world. So I think that’s kinda worth the trade. I know everyone’s kinda scared with what’s happening in the music industry, but I kinda like it.

JSIC (Owens): The accessibility has grown exponentially, and you can get anything anywhere now.

JSIC (Ryan): I don’t want someone to be able to have one of our songs because they can’t afford it-that’s a sad reason to not be able to have music you like.

AMBY: Between the two medias, do you guys prefer CDs/digital files or vinyls?

JSIC (Ryan): Vinyl.

JSIC (Owens): Definitely Vinyls because we all like listening to vinyls personally.

JSIC (Mikey): CDs are a little easier for the van rides though *all laugh*, but for home, definitely the vinyl.

JSIC (Ryan): That’s the thing. It’s not that digital files and CDs are bad-they make it so convenient so it’s great-its just that when you have the choice to listen to a vinyl, you’re making a higher quality choice.

JSIC (Mikey): We don’t have enough suspension in the van to have a turntable *laughs*

JSIC (Ryan): It’s a little bit about nostalgia too. There’s nothing like pulling the sleeve off the shelf and holding that big thing of artwork.

AMBY: You are really close with your fans, how important do you think a deep personal connection with your fans is?

JSIC (Mikey): It’s the most important. If you’re not doing it for them, who are you doing it for?

JSIC (Owens): I think when you make a personal connection with your music, you also tend to do that in a personal manner with fans. It’s all two-sided.

JSIC (Ryan): As you’ve said, you’ve met people because you showed up for a concert and they happened to be the other person in line, music just naturally and organically connects people so often. It’s only natural for a band to really establish a connection with their fans. They’re the people you’re going to see the most and most likely, going to be the people who think most like you in the world. They’re going to be your best friends if you let them.

AMBY: Your music videos are quite different from the standard performance videos, is this from you guys putting your personalities into them, or is it just inspired directly by the song?

JSIC (Ryan): A little bit of both. And what’s different about us from a lot of bands is that we make our own music videos. So, this means that there’s nothing that’s off the table-no matter how crazy the idea is. If we think of it, we’re gonna go for it.

JSIC (Owens): Usually the weirder the idea is, the better. Putting us in powder blue tuxes that don’t fit and everyone is just like ‘Yes that’s what I want!’

JSIC (Ryan): If you could be a fly on the wall when we bring up the video ideas, when we say ‘We all need to be in tuxedos and doing shoo-bop dancing, and then we’re going to build a forest in a storage unit and somebody’s going to swing on chains through it!’ It sounds like the craziest shit in the world.

JSIC (Owens): We know how to clean up messes like nobody’s business.

JSIC (Mikey): It’s always fun.

AMBY: Which one of your music videos was most fun to make/shoot? Do you have any funny stories from the sets?

JSIC (Mikey): I think that All My Friends was a fun one.

JSIC (Ryan): I thought that the Help! Help! video was great. We built this giant set, and for the last shot, we blasted Break On Through by The Doors and just smashed everything. Literally everything. We took everything off the walls and just destroyed it. That was one of the most fun experiences I have ever had.

JSIC (Owens): Give Me Mine was fun too. We were out throwing a bunch of colored powder around in the middle of the woods and the cops rolled up on us and they were not happy.

JSIC (Mikey): They were like ‘You guys are all half-naked in tie-dye, what are you doing?!’ *all laugh*

AMBY: When you’re writing music, do you guys do what you want, or do you focus on what’s popular in the industry?

JSIC (Mikey): We write for the-well not even really for-the album. Just however we feel. Sometimes we write all of our left-field songs first and then bring it around into the middle, or we’ll have a core of songs that we really need to expand.

JSIC (Owens): Music can be cohesive without sounding the same. You just have to make it happen.

JSIC (Ryan): I think that, it’s never cool to try to be cool. So if you’re trying to follow a trend, you’re already too late to get on. So there’s just no point. Plus we’ve just never been cool, so we’ve accepted that-Which sounds like a negative thing, but it lets us have more freedom. We’re not really worried about anybody judging us and the choices we make. Musically or otherwise.

AMBY: How do you all write? Do you all go off on your own and write whatever and then converge and work on it, or do you all sit down together and bust out songs?

JSIC (Owens): Sit down together and just go. We might bring in a riff or something to work on to see what it expands to, but it never comes out how you want or think it will. Once everyone else starts putting their flavor in it, it changes immensely.

JSIC (Ryan): And when you do, this happens a lot (someone bringing a piece of an idea), it never ends where you think it’s going to end. I’ve had lyrics in my head and thought ‘Oh it’s going to sound just like this!’ and then 2 hours later, it’s a completely different song. We like letting our songs grow organically.

AMBY: What artists do you think helped to shape your sound? Or even just your outlook on music in general?

JSIC (Owens): It’s a massively wide variety.

JSIC (Mikey): A lot of those old guys. At least we like how their instruments sound.

JSIC (Ryan): Yeah, a lot of 70s records were a huge influence for us. It was when sound recording quality made a huge jump and everything started to sound better and you could hear more clearly what everyone was doing, not just the singer. But also at the same time, it wasn’t as developed as it is now, where you can use computers and fix things, so you still had to truly master an instrument. I think that’s why most of those 70s rock & roll records are so great to listen to. You’re listening to someone who plays all day so you’re hearing a master of that instrument. But there was also shitty music just like there’s shitty music now. People try to act like there wasn’t shitty music, but that’s not true.

JSIC (Mikey): That’s kinda just how it goes. There’s some fantastic music coming out now.

AMBY: Alright, that just about wraps it up! Thank you guys so much for coming out!

JSIC: No problem! Thank you! - A Music Blog, Yea?

"Greensboro rock band Jonas Sees in Color also sees the big picture"

A lot can change in a decade. Just ask Jonas Sees in Color, a hard-rocking quartet from Greensboro that has watched the bottom fall out of the music business.

Record labels are struggling, streaming has replaced CDs, touring has been affected by fuel prices and fan inertia — and Jonas Sees in Color is rocking in the ruins.

The band members have survived by adapting new strategies rather than fighting the changes.

Instead of complaining about illegal downloading, they’ve been known to put songs up on their website for free, including “Soul Food,” a four-track EP of new material.

They tour smart, planning itineraries so they’re not wasting gas zigzagging all over from show to show. Most fundamental of all, they’ve forged a loyal relationship with fans, knocking out the middle men.
It was different back in 2009 when they were signed to Glassnote Records, a label with offices in London and New York. Their peers at Glassnote included high-profile acts such as Mumford & Sons and Phoenix.

Their self-titled debut was produced by Aaron Johnson, whose credits include an album by The Fray that sold 3 million copies.
But they butted heads with Glassnote over matters such as giving away a few songs to their fans, and they severed ties with the label while finishing up “Give Me Mine,” their sophomore album.

An unrelenting set of raw, fiery rockers, “Give Me Mine” came out last year on the band’s own unnamed label. To all outward appearances there is no label, because Jonas Sees in Color does not want anything that smacks of “business” coming between them and their fans.
Ryan Downing, the group’s strapping lead singer, is nursing a drink at Greensboro’s 913 Whiskey Bar.

He reflects on the group’s experience with a big-deal label and the road they’ve chosen to navigate without it.

“It really was a good learning experience for us to see how people run bands as a business,” he says. “To an extent, that’s necessary to survive. Like, we have to think how to make sure everybody’s fed and sleeping under a roof.

“But we’ve realized we don’t need to run our band the traditional way. Things are changing, and instead of being scared of it the way these corporations are telling you to be, if you just embrace it, then it opens up so many more opportunities.”

“We were terrified at first,” he continues. “But once we figured out how to do it, we just liked it better. It’s the freedom, man!”

The bluish Mohawk crowning his shaved head belies Downing’s earnest, amiable demeanor. He holds an English degree from UNC-Greensboro and is a voracious reader who chats knowingly about writers including Jack Kerouac and David Foster Wallace.

He and his bandmates — guitarist Jonathan Owens, bassist Mikey Deming and drummer John Chester — are all on the same page. So is their manager, Danny Fonorow, who would prefer not to be called that.
“I am not their manager,” he says. “I am their No. 1 fan.”

“We refer to him not as a manager but as our guru,” says Downing with a grin.

Fonorow himself once fronted a band called Stickboy and also worked behind the counter at the late, lamented BB’s Compact Discs in Quaker Village.

After a stint selling advertising in the corporate world (“Never been so unhappy,” he says), Fonorow decided to re-engage with music from the management side, “doing everything I learned from my experiences to help somebody else.”

He has been with Jonas Sees in Color for nine years.

One of the group’s mottos is, “If there’s a stage, we’re gonna play it.” Downing estimates that they’ve performed well over a thousand shows.

“We play a lot,” he says, “so that we can stay connected with our fans. Once in a while, we’ll even play in a basement or a house or a civic center like we used to do when we were kids. We still love it; it’s so much fun.”

In fact, one of their favorite venues is an old VFW Hall in Tacoma Park, Md.

“It’s like a home away from home,” says Fonorow. “It’s all do-it-yourself: the parents are collecting money at the door, the daughter’s band opens up for the guys, and the kids go crazy. It’s great!”

“Because we’ve stayed together so long,” said Downing, “we’ve been able to meet so many incredible people all over. That web of relationships is like an underlying safety net. I think we’re pretty lucky to have that.” - Go Triad

"POZ Showcase"

Jonas Sees in Color is a Rock n’ Roll band; no gimmicks, no frills, no bull-shit. The Greensboro, North Carolina quartet harken back to an era when groups like Led Zeppelin, the Velvet Underground, and The Beatles were ruling the charts. Their brand of heart-on-their-sleeves raucous rock music leaves nothing to the imagination. The guys in Jonas Sees in Color are as legitimate as they come…and that is evident after one listen to their fun, over-the-top jams. - Property of Zack


"Listening to Jonas Sees in Color, a band of six musicians from North Carolina, brings to mind great alternative bands from the nineties while introducing a fresh palette of sound that blends a splatter of punk with a subtle pop vibe. And, once you listen to the lyrics, it's obvious this band isn't just about making superficial music." - Channel One


"The heat from the lights, the crowded room and the energy... up and coming band Jonas Sees in Color tightened its grip on a mesmerized audience." - The Clarion Call


"...really can't be described as anything but just plain, raw energy." - Skin Deep


Interview 10/5/11 - The Sound Alarm


“Jonas Sees In Color released one of the year's best debuts and continue to spread their pleasantly accessible brand of aggressive pop to every nook and cranny the country has to offer.”

- Origivation Magazine


“They've restored my recently shaken faith in emerging bands to do something original.”
- Absolute Punk


“A sense of realness and authenticity...what makes great songs so universal.” - AOL


“An indie rock band in the truest sense of the word...showcasing a versatile and delicious knack for infectious melodies and poignant lyricism.”



Avalanche EP (Right Hook Records) - 2007
Self-Titled LP (Glassnote Records) - 2009

Give Me Mine LP (Self-released) - 2013

Full-length LP (Self-released, 2015)



Great music isn't about perfection and cleanliness, it's about emotion and desire; that's what makes a great record. Using this mindset, Jonas Sees in Color (Greensboro, NC) headed into the studio to record their sophomore album, GIVE ME MINE. Recorded on 2-inch reel-to-reel tape, the band pushed themselves to their limits for that one great take. GIVE ME MINE is a collection of honest, dirty, pretty and weird stories, “just the way we like it” says singer Ryan Downing. Highlights include the album’s lead single “Give Me Mine” (hitting digital retailers on April 6th), the rowdy rocker “Dirty Little Sunshine” and the haunting “Harvest” saga. “We stretched our brains and emptied our hearts to write these songs and you can feel that in the music” adds Downing. 

Their relentless touring schedule over the past six years have started paying off too. In January of 2013, the band was flown out to Los Angeles to participate in Ernie Ball’s annual Battle of the Bands competition. The band has also landed a stint on this year’s installment of the Vans Warped Tour. 

Music isn’t the band’s only passion though; the band has been known to bend over backwards for their fans. Whether it be making masks to give out before a show, mailing out free stickers or inviting fans to be in their music videos, JONAS SEES IN COLOR prides themselves in the relationship they share with their fans. 

The name JONAS SEES IN COLOR comes from acclaimed novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry. The book tells the story of a boy named Jonas who lives in an emotionless, colorless utopian society. In this black-and-white world, Jonas is chosen to endure the burden of the dreams, hopes, and thoughts of his entire village. As he connects with these memories, he begins to see color for the very first time. Downing adds “Our hope is that the listener will unite with the song and see the colors inside it, keeping the song as a memory of their own.”

JONAS SEES IN COLOR’s self-released sophomore album, GIVE ME MINE is out now!

Band Members