We’re really excited to be teaming up with the Make It Funky SF collective to put on a series of showcases in California highlighting local talent. Launching this Saturday, February 21st at El Rio in San Francisco, the first installment will feature experimental indie band Feed Me Jack and the folky, electronic vibes of Mosaics with support from acoustic soul duo, The Kakaroaches making for an eclectic mix of styles. As part of the series, we’ll be catching up with some of the performers to shed light on up ‘n coming musicians. RSVP at the link below.
Since we were first introduced to Oakland-based Feed Me Jack a couple years back, they’ve quickly become one of our favorite up ‘n coming indie bands. The collective musical talents of the group have allowed them to perfect, and build on, a broad range of musical styles and influences. Their 2012 debut, Chumpfrey, recorded during their time at UC Santa Cruz, embodies their prowess and versatility, but the follow-up Anatolia EP saw FMJ combining their skill set with a seemingly endless amount of creativity for a cohesive, flowing sound all their own. We caught up with Sven Gamsky (guitar/vocals), Cameron Lampert (bass/vocals) and Jake Thornton (keyboard), 3 of the 5 members of Feed Me Jack (Robert Luisi on guitar/vocals and Eric Lawson on drums are the other two), in advance of their upcoming show. Enjoy the interview below, head to FMJ’s website to grab a bunch of great music and catch them at our showcase at El Rio this Saturday, it’s not one you’ll want to miss!
TMN: So, you all first met at UC Santa Cruz. Can you talk a bit about how you all got together?
Sven: It was freshman year when I first met Robert. I was just in the quad, around the dorms, and heard some beautiful guitar wafting down from up high. I just kind of followed my ears and found the room where the guitar was coming from. I didn’t know Robert before that but I introduced myself and showed him a song that I had written. He recorded it and wrote a bass line for that song. That later became “Pirate Muse.”
Then, we added a friend of ours who was our old drummer. So we had him and two guitar players, but we played one of the guitars out of a bass amp and had a sub-octave pedal to lower it to that range.
Cameron: So, the original bass player was not actually a bass player, it was just a pedal.
Sven: From that point on, we were kind of moving around until we found the right sound and group. We added Cameron as a permanent bass player and collaborator along with Eric as our new drummer.
Feed Me Jack
TMN: There are so many different styles infused in your sound—ska/reggae, jam bands and sometimes even stuff like The Strokes just to name a few. Who are some of the bands and artists that influenced your sound?
Cameron: The Strokes are definitely an influence and Grizzly Bear. But really, music is derivative and we definitely acknowledge that. I think we love listening to all sorts of different stuff and really, I hate to use the classification of World music because all music comes from the world, but all music finds its place in our sound. Especially guitar music, plus The Beatles and classics like that.
Jake: I would say the first album, Chumpfrey, draws on a lot more of the influences that you mentioned first. We all think that was more of an accessible sound, a little more pop influenced, than some of our more recent stuff. We’ve really been striving to come with different sounds and go in more of an experimental direction while maintaining the influences that are still with us.
TMN: How did that process of putting together something as cohesive as Anatolia compare with the experiences behind Chumpfrey? Was that shift a conscious effort?
Sven: Yeah, I think it was kind of a conscious effort. The Anatolia EP was an attempt to go with a little more of an atmospheric and visceral sound focused more on the composition, which is just writing a song that doesn’t have any recurring parts. It was kind of a journey from beginning to end. We’ve been messing with the idea that we want to have one piece of music as an album with all the songs bleeding into each other. So, we kind of tried to create transitions that connect the songs to make one larger piece of music—basically like a twenty minute song.
Jake: It was definitely more of a concept album for us and it also marked our transition from college, house-party type of music into a more identifiable sound. Continue reading