My 2 Planets

My 2 Planets have been a fixture on the pop-rock scene for a few years now. This month, they release their third full-length CD, The Other Side of Summer. PlaybackSTL sat down with frontmen Jim Ousley and Eric Wulff.

1. From a lyrical standpoint, the new album strikes me as somewhat dark. What went into the writing of it?

Ousley: We’ve always been about darker lyrics with upbeat music, but we kind of pushed that to the extreme [with this album], and it’s turned out really well. It’s the kind of thing where you’ll hear the song and you’ll enjoy the catchiness of it, but it won’t be until two or three listens later that you go, “Wow, so that’s what they’re talking about." It will give you a whole different level of enjoyment, hopefully.

Wulff: That’s one thing about Jim’s lyrics: every song is a story. But the listener can apply his or her own experiences and get something else out of it that’s all their own. “The other side of summer” is the theme of the album; you can still try to get a positive message out of even the bad things that can happen.

2. My 2 Planets has an interesting songwriting partnership in which Jim writes the words that Eric sings. Eric, do you ever ask to change any of the lyrics because you’re not comfortable singing them from your point of view?

Wulff: Sure. If the way I’m singing it doesn’t feel right or I don’t feel it’s coming across the right way, then we’ll try something else.

Ousley: It’s not only the way a lyric might feel; it might be him just liking the lyric enough. He’s got to sing that song, so I’m sensitive to that. The bottom line is it just makes the song better. The whole band sees the lyrics; we make sure everybody’s happy with them. You want everyone in the band to be able to stand behind the band’s songs. That’s usually our process, and it seems to work pretty well.

3. Are you shopping the new album around, looking to get on a label or a tour?

Ousley: We have a lawyer who’s going to be shopping the CD for us. The ideal situation for us is to get an independent deal, because they pay a little bit more attention to you. If a major label offered us a lot of money and said, “We’ll promote you,” that’d be great, but I think in this day and age that’s a fantasy that belongs to less than 1 percent of artists out there. Ideally, also, it would be great to have major-label distribution for our own label.

4. You all have day jobs and families. How would going on tour work logistically?

Ousley: All of our families understand how much music means to us; it’s always meant a lot to us, so that’s sort of the role they came into. We’re lucky that we have the support.

Wulff: It is hard, of course. Basically, our attitude at this point is we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. However, it is in long-term plans, God willing, that we would get signed or have the opportunity to go on the road. Personally, I know my wife is behind me 110 percent, and she realizes what the whole point of doing this is, and what the next step would be: obviously, to tour and get the music out to more people.

5. I’m sure this has come up before, but since it’s new to me, where did the name of the band come from?

Ousley: I was looking for a name for this new band that I was starting, and I couldn’t find a name to save my life that I was happy with and that would stick out a little bit. I had a friend who came back from Mardi Gras, and I was telling her, “I’m trying to think of a name for this band," and she said, “How about My 2 Planets?” and I said, “What does that mean?” She said, “Well, when I was in New Orleans, people were yelling at me to show them my two planets."

Wulff: Isn’t that a beautiful story? Pure rock ’n’ roll.

Ousley: I could give you the yin and yang, the dark and the light…

Wulff: It’s an exercise in duality.

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