Photo by Michael Nika
The Static Jacks is a punky, garage- and angst-laced quartet from New Jersey. Their upcoming album If You’re Young will be released August 30th, and is now available for pre-order here. I spoke to lead vocalist Ian Devaney on the phone last week, and we talked about the suggestive title and what to expect from the album. We also discussed what the group learned from the making of the album, their future tour plans, and the larger-than-life stereotypes of our respective homes on either coast.
Laurel Kathleen: You guys are back in New Jersey right? How did you like L.A.?
Ian Devaney: Yeah, we were in L.A. and Huntington Beach last week. As a band, it was our first time. I had been out there when I was like, six years old. I’m not totally sure if the other guys had been there or not. It was pretty awesome. Definitely weird, coming from the suburbs of a city like New York where everything is so contained. There’s always a subway or bus to catch to go somewhere. But in L.A., we had to take a highway to get everywhere, because of the spread out nature of things. The weather was beautiful though, and the people were really nice. I had a great time.
LK: Who has more real-life stereotypes: Los Angeles or New Jersey?
ID: I’m gonna go with LA, only cause I’m from here [laughs]. The stereotype for New Jersey is now Jersey Shore, though no one on the show is actually from there. When we were in Huntington Beach during this surfing competition, it was beyond what my stereotype of what Huntington might be. It was just... surfer people everywhere. Clogged in the streets, you couldn’t go anywhere.
LK: Tell me about your upcoming album If You’re Young. What are you getting at with the title?
ID: It’s mostly saying “if you’re young-or if you ever were- you’ll know where we’re coming from with these songs.” These are pretty universal experiences that most people experience from their late teens and early twenties. It’s such a transition period, figuring out what you want to do and where you want to go. Youthful anxiety, I suppose.LK: What are you doing to celebrate the album’s release?
ID: There’s no show…right now our plan is on August 20th, we’re going to go to a bar and just have a party with our friends and anyone else who wants to come. That’s the plan right now; that, and just playing the record for everyone.
LK: What did the recording process teach you about where you guys are headed as a band? Specifically, are there any themes or production techniques you will continue to use for upcoming albums?
ID: Hmm. I think we’ve sort of gone with a lot of ideas that we’ve been developing, because we’ve been demoing on our own for so long. We learned a lot from the producer Chris Shaw about getting crazier tones and layering things differently. Various ways to take the basic song and twist it to make it much more interesting.
LK: When did you wrap up recording?
ID: Jeez, when was that…March maybe? We did the whole thing in like, two and a half weeks in New York City. It was a pretty quick in-and-out of the studio, and it must have been March because we didn’t go to South by Southwest.
LK: You guys are on a little touring break until October, correct?
ID: Right now, the next big thing is in October. We’re kind of filling in September with dates around the Northeast. That’s what we’re focused on right now. Packing in as many shows as possible.
LK: Is there a specific spot along the way that you’re particularly excited about?
ID: Besides DC and Philly, we’ve never played in any of these cities. We’ve never played the Southeast, the middle states. We played in Texas once, and we’re really excited to go back. The Pacific Northwest, et cetera. We’re just trying to fill in the gaps, play where we haven’t played before.
LK: What’s the toughest part about being a touring musician these days?
ID: Well, for me personally it’s staying connected to the outside world. I’m the only one in the band without a smart phone. So I’m blissfully unaware of all goings-on when we go out. But the other thing that comes to mind is the price of everything: gas prices, hotel prices. In Huntington Beach, it was the second time we’ve ever stayed in a hotel, because after gas money it’s a struggle.
LK: I read an interview where drummer Nick Brennan described the band growing angrier with the world over time. Can you expand on that?
ID: I would say that we’ve probably gotten angrier over time…it’s probably just when we were younger, there weren’t really relationship issues to deal with. We weren’t as aware of society around us as a whole, and things that were going on. Not that the album is really political in nature, but as we’ve developed we’ve been exposed to more issues and struggles, whether they be internal or external.
The Static Jacks will be kicking off their fall tour on Friday, October 21st at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. Until then, stay tuned for dates in September around the Northeastern United States. Their album If You're Young will be released August 30th, and is currently available for pre-order here. For tickets and more information on The Static Jacks, please visit their website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.