RAGGED Exclusive: Rocking the Future - The Savage Pop of The Static Jacks

 

October 24, 2011

Straight from the pages of the brand new issue of RAGGED, enjoy an excerpt from our feature story with The Static Jacks here, and be sure to download your free PDF of the full issue here, for the rest of the article including additional photos from our shoot!

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Need a few frosty fist-pumpers to crank while you’re driving around aimlessly this fall? Looking for some whirlwind guitar antics? Ready to make a few fun mistakes this weekend? If You’re Young, the debut full-length from New Jersey’s The Static Jacks, should probably be your soundtrack for all of the above. All cheetah-sleek riffs, minor-key meltdowns and brash declarations, the music of this young rock mob is sure to transform even the stingiest concertgoer into a crowd-surfing maniac. Having hit the road with razor-sharp Anglo-pop champions The Futureheads and high-energy rockers White Denim, The Jacks are starting to view the world through the windshield of their tour van, and they seem to like what they see. Influenced equally by melodic punk and hard-edged pop anthems, If You’re Young is full of hard-beating hearts—both broken and mended—and the jilted-yet-hopeful wisdom that seems to come naturally from 20-something America.

Singer Ian Devaney, drummer Nick Brennan and guitarist Henry Kaye first began honing their skills in the hormone-fueled pressure-cooker of high school deep in the heart of Springsteen country in central Jersey. The fledgling band continued to rock for one semester at college before the lure of punk glory was too strong to ignore. After moving back home and acquiring second axe-slinger Mike Sue-Poi, as well as touring bassist Andrew Santora, the Jacks went into a writing frenzy, producing three EPs and the new full-length album. The band has been touring constantly over the past few years, creating a space where the beleaguered romantics of the world can get together and rock out in communal sonic bliss, trading as they do in the common themes of relationships, social alienation and weekend mischief. Never flagging under the duress of strained heartstrings, the music of If You’re Young matches the lyrics perfectly, as the band seems to find the perfect combination of chords to gird your will to celebrate in the face of life’s weighty tribulations.

RAGGED dug in deeper with Devaney to discover the roots of the band’s core, the strangeness of social alienation and the key to surviving in the scene.

 

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Were you guys really into punk music growing up?

Ian Devaney: It was different for each of us. Henry and Nick did the pop- punk thing, and I basically just listened to whatever my dad listened to, which was Weezer, The Clash and bands like that. The more-hardcore punk started coming in later, actually, which I think is kind of unusual. But the harder music definitely formed our sound a lot, our live performance especially. We also like, I guess “modern indie rock” is a good term for it—we’re huge fans of Arcade Fire and things in that vein.

When you compose songs, do you write them on an instrument? Do you write lyrics first or just jam?

When I write, it tends to be on piano or guitar, and I do not excel at either but I have enough of an understanding where I can put chords together. It’s cool because even if one person writes something, it’s generally only a basic idea that then comes to the band and we can all sit down together with it and each put in our own parts and bounce things off each other. It starts independently and then comes together in a very collaborative way.

Do you have any ideas or inspirations for your next album?

We are eager writers, so we’ve started writing a bunch [of songs] that we hope will be on the next album. For the first album, we wrote a ton of songs, and then picked the best ones to go on the album. We’ve really already started that, figuring it’ll be hard to write when we’re on tour. Plus we love writing together, so we just jumped into it right away.

“Blood Pressure” seems to be driven by the desire to be alone. Do you guys feel pretty isolated these days?

Well, it’s a periodic thing. We have our friends among whom we don’t feel that way, but you always find yourself in situations where you don’t quite feel like you’re on the same level as everyone.

(Continued in the pages of RAGGED…)

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posted by Staff