Most artists bask in the glory of having a platinum-selling hit, but Jordan Witzigreuter isn’t someone who stops to smell the roses. While the singer -- who goes under the name The Ready Set -- is proud that his mega single “Love Like Woe” moved over a million units digitally, he is more focused on writing his next batch of songs.
“I’m pretty crazy about progression and if I feel like I’m not doing something good enough, I tend to get frustrated with myself,” the 21-year-old admits. “As soon as something good happens, my mind goes, ‘How can I make something better? How can I keep things progressing?’”
“The hardest part is taking a step back and enjoying things because I definitely have a hard time with down time. I’m always busy, so I never like to take breaks or anything. So stepping back and enjoying what is happening is something I should probably do more of.”
Witzigreuter won’t be relaxing too much on this sunny afternoon in Los Angeles, California, because he is getting ready to record a couple of new tracks he plans to unveil later this year. It won’t, however, necessarily be the same type of electro-flavored indie pop that consumed his second album “I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming,” and he’s still uncertain if the songs will appear on an album, an EP or as a singular digital download.
“Love Like Woe”
“I’m not really sure what the format is gonna be, but I think it’s gonna be a pretty rapid release of a lot of different things,” he explains. “I’m actually gonna be doing some cool different styles to go along with whatever major release. It’s also a pretty different sound that’s coming from me, so I think it’s gonna be cool.”
More Than Alive
He may be a workaholic, but Witzigreuter has always possessed this undeniable drive to be the best music artist he can possibly be.
Raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Witzigreuter -- who was influenced by indie pop rock bands such as Copeland and Saves The Day -- started playing drums in bands when he was 13 years old. Throughout the next four years, he became a member of heavy ska troupe Take Sides and respected hardcore quintet Saints Never Surrender.
In 2007, however, he was ready for something new. The talented drummer began writing his own music, messed around with a laptop and sang into a “cheap crappy mic.”
That served as the initial seed for The Ready Set, a name he chose to perform under because his last name, as he puts it, “is a little brutal to try to pronounce. Nobody can get it right. It was a natural decision, and I like the way it comes off at live shows and I like to have something to put on t-shirts. I like being able to have a steam around my projects rather than my name and face being on a shirt.”
The talented drummer began writing his own music, messed around with a laptop and sang into a “cheap crappy mic.”
Determined to take The Ready Set to the next level, Witzigreuter spent the next year and a half touring to brand his project’s name -- even releasing 2008’s “Syntax And Bright Lights” EP and 2009’s full-length debut album “Tantrum Castle.” Also, in 2009, his management company introduced him to a slew of different labels, but it was Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz and his powerhouse team at Decaydence Records that stood out the most.
Working with Pete Wentz
Ultimately, Witzigreuter signed with them that November. “Pete and Decaydence were one of the first ones to talk and were really excited about everything I was doing,” Witzigreuter says. “It just seemed like a natural place for me to end up.”
The workaholic then began working on The Ready Set’s second album and first major release, “I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming.” During the recording process, Wentz played the role of mentor by assisting Witzigreuter in every way he could.
“He definitely helped in a sense that it’s cool to have somebody in his position who knows all this stuff from the artist’s perspective,” Witzigreuter explains. “He is able to be really close on the artist side of things and the industry side of things. Like if I really wanna do something specifically, he helps to make that happen and he fights for me. He definitely helps to keep everything pretty much in my hands, which is awesome.”
“More Than Alive”
While “I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming” may be low on song quantity, the eight-track collection certainly makes up for that with song quality. Loaded with crossover appeal, the album features Witzigreuter’s natural and autotuned vocals meshing over a climactic assortment of synth-hovering powerpop melodicism, thus allowing his chilled-back compositions to gradually transition into party atmospheric delights.
Those fun, yet genuine sentiments shine brightly on the self-discovery banger “More Than Alive,” the bass-thumpin’ teenage anthem “Young Forever” and the apologetic “Upsets and Downfalls.” But the runaway favorite has been “Love Like Woe,” a key-tinged love song that has astonishingly turned platinum -- a feat few indie artists tend to achieve.
Though Witzigreuter’s success can easily be attributed to his impeccable work-at-all-costs attitude, it’s also because of The Ready Set’s musical balance. “I wanna make the catchiest, most fun songs to listen to, but still maintain sort of a lyrical integrity,” he explains.
“I wanted to make sure I wasn’t writing just mindless songs about whatever, but make sure it has some sort of message. There has to be some sort of substance to the lyrics, and balancing the pop side of things with the more artistic side of things. That’s always my goal.”
Speaking of which, it’s time for the indie artist to enter the studio to record some new tracks. Although the songs might have a different musical flavor that fans of The Ready Set might not be too familiar with, the material will contain Witzigreuter’s lyrical integrity. Perhaps he’ll premiere some of them this summer on The Warped Tour.
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