Interview: To Whom It May’s Jonathan Jourdan talks new album, tour and astrophysics

Rock music and science are not an uncommon match. Joining the ranks of Queen guitarist Brian May (Ph.D. in astrophysics), Bad Religion’s Greg Gaffin (Ph.D. in geology), and Boston founder Tom Scholz (Master’s in engineering from M.I.T.) is hard rock group To Whom It May. The Texas trio’s first full-length album, The Great Filter, was named after one possible answer to the Fermi Paradox — the contradiction physicist Enrico Fermi found between a high probability of life elsewhere in the universe and the apparent lack of any sign of it. 

“It kind of ties into how long it took us to make the record,” lead singer/guitarist Jonathan Jourdan told AXS. “The Great Filter [theory] is that there are obstacles that are almost impossible to get past, and a very few get through it. And that’s what this record felt like for us. At the time we were writing it, we didn’t know if it was something that would get done, because we were trying to make the perfect album. It felt like we were finally passing that obstacle. We kind of laid the foundation of To Whom It May is.”

To Whom It May is Jourdan, bass player Robb Mars, and Dexas Villarreal on drums. The Galveston-based trio came together five years ago, out of the ashes of a previous band that had been together close to 10 years. “When that band came to an end, we decided that we wanted to keep doing something,” Jourdan said. “We didn’t know what it was going to be, and there was a time period when we were trying to figure out what our voices were, what our style would be.”

That style, according to Jourdan, is hard rock with metal and alternative influences.

The mysteries of science also influences Jourdan (whose longer term goals include earning a degree in astrophysics) and his bandmates. “We’re all just passionate about learning and knowledge, and kind of thinking about the big picture. Anywhere we can tie that to our music, it’s really special. I think a lot of those things really do parallel everyday emotions, everyday kind of problems that we all go through,” he said. “Just like that Great Filter thing, we were going through our own hurdle and [it] paralleled us pretty well. Finding those similarities that you can put into a song, it’s just really special to me.”

When The Great Filter was released last summer, it quickly reached the top 10 on both Billboard’s Heatseekers and the iTunes Metal charts. Late last year, indie rock news and podcast site named To Whom It May as one of the “Editor’s Choice 20 Bands and Artists Who Made 2018 Rock!!!”

As To Whom It May toured extensively throughout the U.S. last year — frequently with fellow Texas rockers Drowning Pool — audiences were increasingly receptive to the album. The first single off the album, “Calculate,” became familiar to concertgoers. 

Now enjoying a brief break from touring, the band will be on the road for another dozen dates, starting January 18 in Houston through March 30, in Columbus, Ohio. For much of this time, they will be guests of alt-rockers Candlebox and alt-rock/post-grunge band 10 Years.

After that, Jourdan promises that more tour dates are being planned, another video is in the works, and the band is constantly working. “We’re always working on music,” he said. “I think our goals for 2019 are to get in front of as many new ears as we can, play on as many new stages as possible, and see as much of the country as we can.”