Was it easier for you guys, with all your experience, to start your own label instead of looking for another?

I worked with Fueled By Ramen for a while until almost two years ago now. Just taking that and applying that knowledge to LTJ, why go to a label to profit-share, and if you look at the ‘pie,’ so to speak, it’s much smaller these days because of file sharing and things like that.

I was reading about your venture called Paper + Plastick. Here you’re releasing albums, but the focus is to be on the visual, correct?

The visual’s lost in modern music because of the vehicle of how people get it, which is primarily through peer-to- peer, things like that. You don’t get the art, you don’t get the complete sensory overload that people use to get, you know? With Paper + Plastick, I wanted something that focused, again not only on the music, but on the art of the music. I think it’s becoming a lost art, not to be redundant, but I definitely think that it’s going to the wayside and I want to try to do things that focus themselves on that.

There’s a lot that comes in the packaging, do you think this might help, then, bring back music sales?

I don’t necessarily think that it’s the golden ticket by any means, but I think that someone who’s interested in that sort of visual aspect would rather buy the vinyl of the record and the digital download accompaniment than buy a CD by itself. It’s a sad, but true, state of affairs we live in, in that I could go online right now and steal 100 gigs of music in about two weeks and have a music collection that ranges from everything from like Jethro Tull to like Fifteen, you know? I would have this amazing music collection and know nothing visually about the band. Piracy is never going to stop, what I’m hoping with Paper + Plastick is just to have the people interested in that as an avenue for it.

I’ll actually back up for a second, too. It’s not that I really think overall that it’s a 100 percent bad thing that people download music. If someone downloads LTJ music, but becomes a fan, comes to the shows and it furthers our culture, I can’t really bum out that much on it. Sleep It Off, we’re self-financed, so the people who are stealing music, they’re not f*ing Warner Brothers, we’re spending our money to release music and if the support doesn’t happen for that, the music goes away.

Music produced today, does it seem a little stagnant and that people are gravitating more towards older records?

We’re sort of at that mid-point now and its blurring between what popular music use to be, you know, sort of underground music and now it’s sort of, it’s all become pop music. It’s just waiting for that next wave to come in. So, we’re just at that weird awkward phase that happens every four or five years and most definitely it’s stagnant. It’s as stagnant as it was when screamo was getting signed by every major label. It’s a funny thing to think about being in a band for a decade-and-a-half, you’ve seen every genre come and go. People are just waiting for that next thing to come in because once something becomes popular, everyone wants that shiny penny and it quickly goes to the wayside. And the bands that have been around forever are the bands that always stay around, it’s the late comers that get pushed away.

I may be a bit cliche, but is ska coming back for a revival?

Absolutely.

Do you think it has anything to do with the state of affairs in the country today affecting people’s attitudes?

I just know that I feel the pull, I feel the pull forward. That’s the whole thing, I think that people are just looking for something a little more real, man. And maybe it’s the elections, maybe it’s the economy, but it’s like, asymmetrical hair and a pink t-shirt, that’s not f*ing real, dude.

When you put your paycheck in your gas tank to go make another paycheck–that’s real. I think that there’s a time and a place for everything and I think that with ska and pop-punk, I think it’s catchy and it’s fun and it’s those things, but it also has a sense of ‘these are real people.’ Maybe it’s the changing of the guard, maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s whatever or maybe you know what, it’s just a cycle and that cycle’s time is right now and it’s pop-punk and ska. I feel it. I feel it for sure, there’s no doubt about it.

GNV FLA is available now. Less Than Jake will be performing at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC on June 26; they will also be doing an in-store show at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ, on June 28, as well as a show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park later that night. For more info, visit lessthanjake.com

Photo Credit: Dennis Ho

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