SPB: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned about performance since moving to a solo approach?
Stevenson: So the biggest thing I've learned about performance since I began a solo-approach. I'd have to say pacing. I used to be oblivious to how important that is, and I would fly through songs when I played solo because I was nervous and not focusing on the whole. I was just like, in my head, "Okay you got through that verse and didn't forget anything, next verse hope that'll be okay"…and that would be my internal monologue throughout the entire set which is a really bad thing. Not only does it distract you from the experience, but it disconnects you from the audience and from the words you're singing and helps to feed anxiety and it just basically turns you into a nervous, sweaty, twitchy person and makes you wonder why people paid money to come and see you act crazy in front of them.
Anyway, two years ago my band was on a tour that really changed everything for me. The headliner was Tim Kasher, who is the best, and Jake Bellows opened about a week of the shows. It was crazy to watch Jake play solo every night and be the most incredible, engaging, magnetic singer I had ever seen. And he never rushed it, he just had the best pacing. Everything was so controlled but also really loose and honest. He's kind of the model for what I wish I could do and how I wish I could perform. He just sucks you right in and makes you feel so lucky to be watching him play. So, yeah, pacing. Just play the song and get in it every time and don't worry about anything else. If you fuck up, chances are everyone will be on your side.