Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Static Jacks interview

Right before Halloween, I had a chat over the phone with The Static Jacks' guitarist, Henry Kaye before he played a sold-out show at Johnny Brendas opening for The Wombats. The New Jersey band recently released their debut album, If You're Young on Fearless Records; for a taste of their music, check out the new video for "Into the Sun" above!

Take Aim Zine: How was CMJ?
Henry Kaye: It was good, though pretty brief because we had to leave right away to start the tour we're on now with The Wombats. We played two shows, both went really well.
T.A.Z.: One was with We Are Scientists, right?
H.K.: Yeah, that was a really good one! It was a party for our management company, all these incredible bands. Quite the show to end on before starting this tour.
T.A.Z.: I know it's only a day in, but how is the tour going?
H.K.: Incredible! Last night we played in D.C. at the 9:30 Club. It's a pretty funny story, it was an early show, our start time was at 5:30, so the morning we left Jersey for D.C. we had van trouble and couldn't leave until the afternoon. After flooring it down to the show, we pulled up to the venue at 5:32, two minutes into our set, ran onstage and immediately started playing. The place was already packed with loads of people, we played a great show and everyone loved it. It was a crazy, whirlwind day. An interesting start, but so far, so good!
T.A.Z.: Oh phew, glad you guys made it! So, you guys are signed to Fearless and have a very different sound than other bands on the label.
H.K.: Oh, definitely.
T.A.Z.: What was the reaction when people found out you signed with them?
H.K.: I think Fearless fans don't mind. So far they seem to be into it, because we pull from early punk influences that a lot of these kids seem to like... We've gotten a number of new, younger fans at shows that treat us really well, give us candy bars and stuff. *laughs*
T.A.Z.: Had you heard of Fearless or were familiar with any of their bands before you signed to them?
H.K.: I never really listened to any of their current bands, but I love their earlier bands like At the Drive In. That had an impact on me. Oh, and Eve 6, who I really liked when I was younger.
T.A.Z.: Fearless is pretty famous for their 'Pop Goes...' series, would you ever do a cover for one of those in the future?
H.K.: Oh wow, I never really thought about that... It would be fun, but we never talked about it.
T.A.Z.: One of The Static Jacks' t-shirt designs is a play on The Misfits skull logo, are you big Misfits fans?
H.K.: They're one of our favourites, especially since they're from New Jersey as well. Ian, our singer, his voice always gets compared to Glenn Danzig's vocals and it's the greatest compliment ever.
T.A.Z.: Heck yeah, New Jersey! Is that how all of you met, in high school there?
H.K.: Myself, Nick (our drummer), and Ian are from Westfield, New Jersey. We started playing music together when we were 14, Freshman year of high school... Then after we graduated high school, we brought on Mike, our bass player who grew up a town over from us. So we're all from the same county in New Jersey.
T.A.Z.: Did you come to Philly a lot or were you more the New York type?
H.K.: We got our start playing in New York, but we went to Philly plenty of times. We're at Johnny Brendas now, we've also played World Cafe Live a few times. New York City is closer to us, but Philly is still only an hour and a half away.
T.A.Z.: You said on your Twitter that you're a big fan of Halloween, what are some of your favourite scary movies?
H.K.: It's not a movie, but I just downloaded all the Simpsons 'Treehouse of Horror' episodes.
T.A.Z.: Oh man, those are the best!
H.K: Yeah! I just like all those cartoon Halloween specials from the 90s. And the 'Boy Meets World' Halloween episode, you know, where it's a 'Scream' parody.
T.A.Z.: Yes! The one kid's name is Kenny and he gets killed with a pencil through the head!
H.K.: "They killed Kenny!"
T.A.Z.: The best line in the whole episode is where Corey points at the mark the pencil left behind and says, "We'll always remember he was this tall!"
H.K.: Classic television.
T.A.Z.: In one of your music videos, it shows you busking on the street, do you do that a lot?
H.K.: It's been a while, but there was a year or year and a half period where we would busk at Union Square in New York on a regular basis, like a few times a week. We just thought it was a really good way to get the word out and have people exposed to our in a different way from usual.
T.A.Z.: It is a pretty unique way of being heard.
H.K.: It's a great community and we got good responses. We did it when we were down at SXSW and in Montreal, we try to do it as much as we can.
T.A.Z.: I read a while back that The Static Jacks did a Daytrotter session, but I can't find it. Did they have to scrap it? What happened with that?
H.K.: *laughing* What happened was we got there to do it and unfortunately, after three hours of set-up and whatever, the engineer spilled coffee all over the mixing board, ruining all the tracking and everything we'd worked on.
T.A.Z.: Oh no!
H.K.: I can say though, that on Halloween we're doing another one in Austin, where they set up a new studio. So we're going back to do another one that will hopefully not have any problems and that will be online shortly.
T.A.Z.: Are you doing a show that night too?
H.K.: Sadly, no. We tried to get a Halloween show.... We're playing VooDoo Fest in New Orleans, so we're going to celebrate that weekend.
T.A.Z.: Are you working on any new material?
H.K.: Right after we made the album, we recorded an EP together, so it was around the same time of the creation of If You're Young.... I'm not even sure what the plan is for putting that out, but I imagine it'll be in a number of months and that'll be our follow-up. We're already prepared and one step ahead.
T.A.Z.: Another thing I saw on your Twitter is that you guys went to Marvel Comics headquarters. I'm super jealous! How'd you manage to get in there?
H.K.: Their website director, the editor for, he got our CD somehow and Tweeted about it as a thank you. We just got to talking and our publicist put us in touch, so we got to go to the headquarters and hang out for the day. Ian and I went over and did a short interview with them, got to meet the staff, and got a lot of free comics. It was one of the best days of my life.
T.A.Z.: Who's your favourite Marvel character or what's your favourite series?
H.K.: I have to say I like Spiderman best. There's one volume called 'Spiderman Blue' by Tim Sale, that's the best. And the early stuff with Gwen Stacy that Stan Lee wrote. So, I'm excited about the new movie coming out.
T.A.Z.: Oh yeah, because she's in it. Have you seen the preview for 'The Avengers?'
H.K.: Yes I have, they showed it to us when we were at the headquarters that day, before they prepared the world for that.
T.A.Z.: Wow, before anyone else! Well, that's about all the questions I have for today, thanks for talking with me and have a great show!
H.K.: Thanks, take care!

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