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Heart Strings

Pete Yorn's not a downer, but he's been there.



Yorn's story is a rarity. His connections in the entertainment industry got him in front of Columbia Records execs but, as he's quick to point out, the record took it from there. "More than anything else I'd hear people say: 'I really didn't want to like this album because I heard his brother manages Leonardo DiCaprio, but I just love the record.' I know where I came from and I know what I'm about and I know that the music speaks for itself," he says.

The 26-year-old is surprisingly thoughtful and grounded: His backup band is made up of childhood friends, he hung around after his performance greeting fans, and he recognizes the emotional complexities of moving on.

Style: A lot of your songs are dark, yet you sing about love and romance. Have you been hurt a lot?

Yorn: Personally for me I think the record's a feel-good record. If you really read the lyrics and listen to the songs, I'm not whining about anything or complaining, nothing's about "Oh baby I want you back" or anything like that, it's just kind of like "All right this is what happens, it's cool, you know, I'm ready to move on."

I think that overall I keep a big picture in my head of the raw deal that everyone has. I mean, everyone gets old and dies, it's just kind of miserable, and I sometimes draw from that emotion, but I'm pretty much a happy guy. I just try to be honest.

What does "Musicforthemorningafter" mean? What morning after is the album about?

It's the morning after a breakup. It's the morning after you just graduated from high school. It's the morning after you just passed the bar. It's the morning after your father died. It's whatever. The bottom line is that life goes on, people move on, and you hopefully can accept where you're at and have learned from whatever situation you were in and move forward. It's not so much about a hangover as people might think.

But that's cool, honestly the whole record and music for me is something that makes me feel good always, and that it happens to be a career now is really cool, but I don't take it that seriously— I want people to interpret it any way they want. I'm not really trying to make a crazy statement and change the world, to be honest. I'm just trying to have fun with my friends and make music with my friends.

You have so many influences — Motley Crue to the Velvet Underground — will your next record sound completely different?

It's not so much about a direction musically really, it's kind of about the theme of the songs. Like, if this record was about moving on from relationships or how people deal with each other and all that, this has definitely more of a triumphant feel. It's about finding strength within yourself. The songs are going to be empowering. Like you're going to hear them and want to raise your arms up and be like "yeah!" It's not going to be Creed or anything but it'll be empowering, I think. What I love about music is I love melody, and I like the way sometimes sad songs make you feel good. So I'll embrace that again, and there will be those pull-your-heartstring kind of melodies, but there will also be strength in it at the same time, it's not going to be sappy or anything like that.

In a time when there's such a disparity in music between integrity and commercial appeal, your album has both. Why does it work for people?

The radio is so formatted right now. One band makes it big and then there's 50 bands that sound like them. There are a lot of great bands under the radar that if you hunt them down you can find and enjoy it but the labels haven't been pushing it.

I think because there are so many bands that sound the same, since my record's a little bit different, it makes it sound more different than it is. I'm not claiming to be some groundbreaking musician who discovered a whole new genre or anything. I don't believe that at this point, maybe someday I will. I think that I just made music that I love, in my garage. I remember when we finished the record I was like, "This thing's all over the place. Is anyone going to like this?" But it seemed to stick and people dug it and that's cool, but if I knew there was a science to it or how things happen, I'd be a millionaire. That's all I could do is make music that I like first and foremost and that comes from a place that's honest and comes from people that I respect.

What's a band that you're into?

The Doves. Their new album is good, and it's also very honest, and it has kind of a triumphant feel. I like that kind of thing right now. S

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