CMJ Spotlight (and Interview): The Static Jacks

Throughout the last year, we’ve noticed that many of the shows we’ve been to happened to have this really cool band playing support for the headliners though we’re pretty sure that they should have been closing out the night. This band, The Static Jacks are about to hit the road next week with the famous British rock band The Wombats. Before the tour, however, The Static Jacks will be playing the CMJ Music Festival, more importantly our day party on Wednesday.

Our writer Kathryn Nasto had a few minutes on Friday to speak with the band’s frontman Henry Kaye. Check out the interview below:

Kathryn: So your album came out in August, and I am a huge fan. I really love it. It’s really refreshing to hear that sound in a young band, it’s great.

Henry: Thank you. That means a lot.

K: What fascinates me the most is the album art. It has a fantastic connection to Pop Art and I was wondering what inspired you to use that.

H: It’s a good thing I’m doing this interview then! I created that artwork, I drew it. It’s just the way that I’ve always been drawing. I’ve just been drawing – for the past year, I’ve been doing these drawings of people that I’ve seen or just friends, or whatever. I take just one solid color marker and I do the line drawings around it. But yeah, at the time I was just kind of drawing various women and I was keeping them together on my computer. I thought it looked really cool and I showed the rest of the guys like “here is something that I did,” and they were the ones that saw it as the album art. I wasn’t even thinking about it at the time but they suggested that we should use it.

K: Oh wow. That’s really cool. What are your art influences, if you have any? ‘Cause I see a lot of 1960’s Pop Art and Andy Warhol, so are you inspired by any particular artist?

H: Definitely the Pop Art and also a lot of it is comic book inspired. I always read, well not really read comic books growing up but, I was always drawing since I was a little baby, haha. I always had these comic books around the house that I would get because of the images in them. So a lot of it is comic book related, like Mad Magazine, and animated movies.

K: How long were you in the studio recording the album before it was finished?

H: It was actually a pretty brief time. We were in the studio for three and a half weeks, which I guess is a pretty limited amount of time to make an album. But we had no struggle with it. We had been writing the album for about a year beforehand. We didn’t really have plans to make an album when we started writing. But we put out an EP in 2009 and once that came out we continued writing as much as we could. Then Fearless Records got involved and pushed us to make an album right away.

K: What’s your favorite song off the album?

H: Uhmmm, I’d have to say “Drano-Ears,” the last track. It’s one of the ones that still stands out to me as really – the way the aesthetic of that recording came out I’m most pleased with.

K: I’d have to say that my favorite is “This Is Me Dancing.”

H: Really?! Cool!

K: Yeah, do you not get that a lot?

H: That’s awesome. That was the last one we actually wrote for the album. We had about 25 songs to choose from and it was about two weeks before we had to record. That song kind of jut happened. So, it’s weird to think about. It’s always hard to remove myself from it and hard to consider certain things real.

K: It’s the fastest song you’ve ever written and put together?

H: Yeah! It really kind of just came together in a day. It was so immediate. It was so shocking to have that happen and then immediately go into the studio to record it – and then it was done, complete. But I love that song. It’s so different from how we usually write or the feeling of the songs.

K: So what did you learn recording this album that you want to bring with you the next time you go into the studio?

H: Oh wow. Let me think about that! We did it in a very limited amount of time, so there wasn’t that space to overanalyze things and meticulously focus on minute details. Which I really liked, because it didn’t allow ourselves to kill the energy that we were trying to achieve. The whole point of the album that wanted was to live up to, or have the same impact as, our live show because we’re so aggressive and loud on stage.

K: Oh yeah. I’ve seen you live and there’s such a strong energy that you have.

H: Really?! Where did you see us?

K: I think it was September of 2010 when you opened for Biffy Clyro. Were you fans of them before they asked you to play with them?

H: Yeah, that album – the newest one. I’m blanking on the title.

K: Oh, Only Revolutions.

H: Yeah! A lot of my friends had it and I was hearing it through them. I wasn’t really familiar with their earlier stuff, but I’d always known the name. We had just come off a tour with The Futureheads, and they’re kind of buddies I think. So I was hearing about them a lot, but just before we got that I was just getting to the album. It was pretty unbelievable.

K: You’ve opened for Biffy and now you’ll be touring with The Wombats, so you have this interesting connection to the UK music scene. Do you have a really strong fan-base in the UK? WIll you be heading over there soon?

H: I don’t know if we do at this point, we have yet to go over there. But I’m so desperate to get there because I think that the music scene for what we’re doing is, unfortunately, a lot stronger over there than it is here. We toured with Young The Giant for a little bit and that was the first tour we ever did where one of the bands wasn’t from the UK. Every other tour we’ve been on has had one haha! We toured with We Were Promised Jetpacks and they’re Scottish. We weren’t even trying for that but it was perfect cause we love all these bands! I’ve never been to the England in the first place so just to go to London, I can’t wait.

K: Your CMJ shows are coming up, which is super exciting. I love that festival. Have you ever been?

H: We played it last year, we did a number of shows. But it’s always tough because, for the most part, we all turned 21 this year. And New York is so primarily 21+ shows, so up until this year I haven’t really been able to get in anywhere. Like last year, there were a number of shows we played at CMJ that once we finished our set, security was like “alright you guys have to leave now.” I was like “are you kidding? This is our show!” So that was a bummer. But this year we’re playing two shows and then immediately have to run off to The Wombats tour, but hopefully the days that we’re there we can enjoy it and try to catch some other stuff.

K: What bands have you been listening to lately? Do you have a favorite album of 2011?

H: Favorite album….I love that Smith Westerns album that came out earlier this year, Dye It Blonde. I’m still playing that since it came out. The Arctic Monkeys album, Suck It And See. They’re one of my favorite bands, so I couldn’t deny anything from them. But yeah those two albums. There’s an album that came out last week by this band Future Islands that’s really good so far. I’m trying to save it. I got it last week and I’ve listened to it a few times and I think it will make a really good road album. So I’m trying not to kill it before we leave.

K: Do you have a playlist that you take with you on the road? Any particular songs you listen to when you tour?

H: It changes tour to tour. This last week we just got back from doing a two week run with Tapes N’ Tapes and there was a lot of Kiss being played in the van that may or may not have been my doing haha. Usually the music that we play in the van for all to hear is very different from the music that we listen to individually on headphones. We kind of keep the van music light and entertaining to keep everyone happy and on good terms. There’s a lot of Kiss and disco tracks going on. A lot of 80’s David Bowie, the Labyrinth Soundtrack is always being played.

K: I love the Labyrinth Soundtrack!

H: It’s incredible! “As The World Falls Down” is one of the best songs! We’ve actually been walking out on stage to “Magic Dance,” and we’ll be doing that at the CMJ shows!

K: That is brilliant intro music!

H: It’s great haha.

K: Well, I wish you the best. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Best of luck on your tour and your CMJ showcases especially.

H: Thank you very much, I appreciate it. Take care.

Catch The Static Jacks at CMJ at the shows below:

Wednesday October 19th
4PM – The Audio Perv and Some Kind of Awesome’s Unofficial CMJ Day Party @ The Delancey

Along with Sleeper Agent, Cassettes Won’t Listen, Viva Brother, A Lull, TAB The Band

Thursday October 20th
7PM – 10 Years of Fenway Recordings Presents: Sessions at CMJ @ Studio at Webster Hall

Along with We Are Scientists, Recover, The Damn Personals, Waters

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