Tales From A Small, Dark Closet
An Interview with The Static Jacks
Words by Emilia D’Albero
Photo Credit: Michael Nika
A week before their sophomore album, In Blue, was released, New Jersey’s own The Static Jacks played an album release show at the Studio at Webster Hall. Before the show, I was lucky enough to stand in a small, dark closet with drummer Nick Brennan, guitarists Henry Kaye and Michael Sue-Poi, and touring bassist Sam Goldfine to ask them some questions and talk about their upcoming tour in support of In Blue.
How is In Blue different from If You’re Young in terms of thought processes, themes, etc.?
NB: In Blue is different from If You’re Young because I think it’s a reactionary record to If You’re Young and our experience writing and performing the first album. I think we felt that we maybe…not made poor decisions at all, but just, we wanted to do better and we wanted to take more time to reflect and, uh, kind of be a little more honest and thoughtful about what we were writing. We definitely took a lot of time on the sonic landscape of In Blue. Henry can talk more about the process of figuring out tones and pedals…we really expanded our pedalboards quite significantly. So yeah, it came from a place of frustration, this album, I would say, whereas If You’re Young came from a pretty enthusiastic and excitable place, so naturally I think that made for better writing.
I guess we’ll see. I mean, I’ve heard it so I definitely agree, but we’ll see. Second question, what were some of the influences for the album? Obviously you talked about frustration but is there anything more than that? Like certain people, bands, stuff like that?
HK: A lot of Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer…we say Christian Death, which is a pretty cool one. Uh, I don’t know. I guess like, 90s stuff, stuff from when we were real young and discovering music.
Cool. What is one thing that you want people to get out of this album?
NB: I think I would like people to…I think we feel like we’re succeeding when people feel like they can have a good time celebrating. Like I said, frustration or disappointment…I think the vibe of our music is kind of like, at least this record is like, sometimes we don’t always get or achieve…
HK: You can’t always get what you want.
NB: Yeah, you can’t always get what you want, and that’s life. And I think everybody feels that in every aspect of their everyday life a lot of times. So I think it’s fun to come together and just celebrate, like, have fun with this music. I think that’s the goal, is to make people feel good.
That’s usually what I say when I write about your stuff, like “It’s so much fun to dance to!”
NB: Well that’s perfect then.
So I know you just started, but how is the tour going? Any memorable moments so far?
NB: I mean last night we played in Boston, that was the second night of the tour and it was phenomenal. A lot of people came, we sold merch and a lot of people knew the words and it was really, really fantastic. For memorable moments, I think it’s too early to tell but I’m sure we’ll have some fucking weird memorable moments out west, we usually do. Out in Ohio or Chicago we’ll probably have some.
That’s where the weird shit happens.
NB: Yeah, once you leave the northeast, things get strange and we’re looking forward to that.
What is your favorite song off this album?
NB: My personal favorite song off the album might be ‘Decoder Ring’, which is one that Henry wrote. I think it’s a really heartfelt song, I think it’s like, definitely the most emotional song we’ve ever written, I think it’s very pretty.
HK: ‘We’re Alrigh’t, that’s my favorite song.
NB: Yeah, that kind of sums it up.
HK: (To SG) What’s your favorite song?
SG: I think I like ‘Katie Said’.
NB: That’s a good one.
SG: I’ll stick with that.
MSP: I’ll stick with ‘Wallflowers’.
Something I have to ask…what’s your favorite tour snack?
NB: Oh man…let me think about this for a second. Lately I’ve been really feeling those, like, Ritz cheese crackers, or even like, Keebler. Just plain crackers with spread…that has been really solid.
Those are the best though, fuck the peanut butter ones.
NB: The peanut butter ones, they’re okay, but I’ve been craving the cheese ones. But ultimate tour snack? I would just say….(sigh) oh man. Candy is great, Take 5’s are phenomenal. Some nuts are good but people keep buying almonds on this tour and fuck that, we’re all about cashews.
Sounds good. I have to ask this, I ask this to every single band I interview. Which one of you looks the best in drag?
NB: Oh, that’s a good question. I’ve only ever seen me and Ian in drag, but I think Mike would probably be the winner of that one. I mean, I look really good in drag, you can check that on my Facebook, there’s a picture, but I have a feeling that Mike would be a real pretty girl. (to MSP) Hey Mike, you’d be a pretty girl! (to ED) Yeah, he’d be a pretty girl, Mike.
ED: I guess we’ll have to find out.
NB: Yeah, let’s dress him up.
Alright, last one. Why should people buy In Blue?
NB: People should buy our album because I promise the songs are catchy and heartfelt, and everybody will get something out of it. We worked hard on it so you should enjoy it, and it’s good for all occasions, and I think it’s just a good guitar rock album…a GREAT guitar rock album. I hope people will put it on at a party or when they’re feeling angry or wanna dance…so, I think all of it’s in there.
Yeah, so they’ll put it on somewhere in between the Britney Spears and the Zedd?
NB: Exactly. Somewhere in there. Somewhere in between.
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