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Q&A with Jason Ross '95 of Seven Mary Three

Jason Ross ’95 from the rock band Seven Mary Three(7M3) has a new behind-the-scenes role on MTV’s MADE, as music supervisor and multi-platform content producer. Although the band is still together, Ross finds time when they are not touring to take on other creative ventures.

Degree:
B.A. English

Current Occupation:
Music supervisor and multi-platform content producer of MTV's MADE

I understand 7M3 will be releasing its sixth album soon. Has the album been named yet and has a release date been established?
The album is in the works but there is no release date as of yet. It will most likely be a digital release. We all have other responsibilities now, but we’re looking to finish the record this fall.

In what ways is the band different than it was early on? (e.g. Between the time when you were a student at William and Mary and shortly thereafter with the release of American Standard vs. now)
We signed our first record contract about a week after I graduated. About a year and half after that we’d sold a million records. So we toured incessantly for about 5 years. Then we cut it down to about six to seven months a year. For the last two years we’ve toured mainly in the summer and spent the rest of the year intermittently flying out to do shows. So life is a bit more normal now in some respects. We can sleep in our own beds instead of on a tour bus, play a few shows, and still have time for other interests.

What changes has the band’s lineup undergone since its inception?
Jason Pollock ’94, our original lead guitar player, parted ways in 2000 and was replaced by guitarist Thomas Juliano. Tommy is kind of our Ron Wood now, because he has been in the band a long time but he’s still the “new guy.”

Do you have any interesting stories that happened on the road while touring?
I’m sure they’ll come out if I ever run for public office.

What brought you back to William and Mary on Feb. 14? How long had it been since you had been to Williamsburg?
It had been 5 or 6 years. When I am touring with 7M3, we usually try and make a stop through on our way to DC or VA Beach to say hello to Dean at the Delly or to hit the Cheese Shop. I came back to W&M in February for an emergency casting call for MTV’s MADE.

What is the MTV show MADE about?
MADE is a docu-series that follows one high school or college student as they try to accomplish a dream. We find them a coach who trains them over six weeks to see if they can achieve their goal.

Were any of the William and Mary students who tried out selected for MADE?
We had close to sixty kids come to the casting. The turnout was absolutely amazing. There were several students who would have made great MADE kids, but the casting session was an “emergency” casting call. One of our subjects had to drop out of a show right before the shoot due to a death in the family, and we were looking for a specific replacement.

How did you get involved with MTV and MADE?
I was done touring last year when one of my closest friends from William and Mary, Francis Lyons '03, who is an executive producer on the show, called me to see if I could consult for an episode in which a young girl wanted to be made into a rock star. I wanted to get some experience behind the camera and ended up as a field producer for that show.

What are your primary responsibilities on MADE?
I have two main functions on the show. First, I am the music supervisor. The music supervisor licenses all the music for the series, arranges the music, and works with the editors of each episode to place the music. I am also the multi-platform content producer for the series. Multi-platform is just Viacom’s blanket buzzword for new media. I am responsible for producing all the original new media content for MADE — what goes online via our broadband channel (MTV’s Overdrive), and what is delivered to MTV Mobile and VOD (video on demand).

Between being part of a successful band and working for MTV, do you feel like you are living the Rock ‘n’ Roll dream?
The Rock ‘n’ Roll dream was never really an end-all-be-all for me — it is just one of my dreams. And it becomes a little more complicated when you are changing your kids’ diapers. My goal was, and remains, to work in some kind of creative capacity telling stories. Whether it’s writing songs or producing short-form, it’s still the creative process and collaboration with other talented people that make the job exciting.

What is something fans of 7M3 might not know about you — or know about the band?
I have very long arms. Ridiculously long. And someone tells me I have very soft feet.

Following are questions we ask on all Q&A’s …

What keeps you awake at night?
Thinking what next? Thinking about my kids. Songs that are stuck in my head.

What was your favorite study spot on campus?
Third floor of Tucker. Never saw a ghost up there though.

What do you miss most about Williamsburg?
Fall. The Band Box. Dean at the Delly. The Cheese Shop.

How do you plan to spend your retirement?
Taking photographs, writing, and enjoying life on a mountain lake with my beautiful wife.

What book are you reading now?
Cradle To Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by William McDonough and Michael Beaungart. I am fascinated by design and architecture. My friend Geoff O’Meara sent me this book after one of our recent conversations on design and creativity. The book details McDonough and Beaungart’s philosophy of sustainability and design.

Family:
Married 5 years. Heather Ross ’95 Two kids: Declan (2 1/2) and Scout (6 mos)

Source: Tribe Spotlight, Alumni Q&A: Jason Ross '95 (June 2006)