Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Static Jacks

Static Jacks
Photo by Jessica Lehrman

Westfield, New Jersey’s garage-pop makers Static Jacks release their new album In Blue on September 30th. With the record’s release just around the corner, A Music Blog, Yea? caught up with the humourous and talented quartet to talk about working out the kinks, In Blue, mini-movies, eating all of the Big Macs, and more!

AMBY: Hello Static Jacks, what’s the band been up to recently?

Henry: Hello! We’ve been tweeting.  We’ve been instagramming. We’ve been facebooking. But really, we have been preparing for this headlining run of shows we’re doing for the next few weeks.  You know, getting the live show in order. Working out the kinks.

AMBY: How would you describe each member of the band in one word?

Nick: Henry- Careful, Mike-Mystical, Ian-Pensive, Nick (myself)-Loud

AMBY: Your new album In Blue comes out on September 30th. How excited are you to share it with everyone?

Henry:  I cannot wait to finally have this album out.  It has felt like an eternity already since we recorded it.  But I think the wait is going to be worth it though, for us and for our listeners.  We definitely did not want to rush the album out, just for the sake of having it out.  We took our time, you know, making sure each song that made it was quality enough.  But also we wanted to find the right people to work with and make sure everyone involved would be invested as we are.

AMBY: The record’s lead single Wallflowers has a fetching chorus, and the video has reached over 30, 000 views. Did you expect such a positive reaction to the song and video?

Nick: Thank you! Fetching is a fun word.  With Wallflowers we really wanted the chorus  to have that sort of impact.  It had  to be a song that people could sing a long to and have a good time. The goal in my mind was like a “Buddy Holly” by Weezer vibe…everyone has a good time to that song.  I don’t think any of us expected this many views in one day. The video is nearing 60k views right now and it’s barely been 24 hours.  We had hopes, but usually those hopes are dashed pretty quickly, so this caught us off guard, ha-ha. Our last video only ever reached about 65k and it’s been 2 years so I guess we did something right this time.

AMBY: The video is like a mini-movie. How did you come up with the cheeky concept for it?

Henry:  After we had finished recording the album, we started talking about music videos and how if there was a time to go all out and do something outrageous it would be now.  We started talking about the John Hughes movie Weird Science and how ridiculous it was.  And we were just  messing around with the idea of making a robot-dream-girl, and maybe there’d be some sort of counterpart of a robot-dream-guy and all of this ridiculous stuff.  But then it really all came together when we were put in touch with this director Zak Stoltz, who is around our age, lives out in California and makes these really incredible short films.  I mean before we even spoke to him, I knew right after seeing his a few of his videos that this guy has to be the guy to make our video.  It already seemed like we shared a sense of humor and a common base of inspiration.  So we started talking to him and he put together this pitch for the video where he just expanded on our idea ten-fold, and he presented it like this classic 90s Microsoft Powerpoint school presentation.  It was hysterical.  There was no question.  Zak Stoltz is our video guy.  And still, even after being so confident before actually making the video together, we were all completely blown away by the final product.

AMBY: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration?

Nick: I think we pull inspiration from right out of our personal lives. This album feels quite personal to all of us. This go around we were pretty concerned about the choices we had made in our career and personal life. We were also frustrated from the circumstances of feeling like we had made a lack of progress. Couple that with STILL living in your hometown and boom, you get “In Blue”.

AMBY: Our favourite song off the album is Decoder Ring. How did the song come to be?

Henry:  That was a song that I basically brought totally completed to the band, and was like “I know this is a bit different, but I think in the mix of all of these other songs on the album, it could fit really nicely. Give it a chance.”  I was basically trying to create a slower-tempo’d Robyn song, with a pulsating bass, and shimmering quality.  I’m a sucker for a good emotional pop song.

AMBY: What are the top five things to do on your bucket list?

Nick: 1. Eat all of the Big Macs

2. Play at Madison Square Garden

3. Advise a sitting President (preferably on snack choice)

4. Bungee Jump

5. Write a song/ Play on stage with Alex Turner or Julian Casablancas

6. Bonus: Have my future son be way cooler and cleaner than Henry’s shitty future son.

AMBY: What are your rehearsals usually like? Does the band have a set time to practice or are rehearsals more off-the-cuff?

Henry:  We’ve actually been practicing more than ever recently.  It might be out of necessity because these new songs are much more complex than we’re used to, but I’d say up until a few months ago we were a little too relaxed about practice.  It’s funny, we’ll be practicing today and feeling really good and a certain ease with everything and it’s like “oh, this is how real bands work.” You actually have to be really good at playing your songs. Who knew?

AMBY: If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

Nick: This is a tough question. The little flamboyant boy inside me wants to shout PETER PAN, but the cool teenage inside of me is saying “Marty Mcfly”…. Although there were a lot of holes in the story of Back to the Future and Marty pretty much had a strange time with his mom. I’m gonna play it safe and say Jareth from Labrynth.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Static Jacks that nobody knows yet?

Henry:  This new music video is going to win us a VMA. Nobody knows that yet.  Not even MTV.

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Thank you Static Jacks, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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