The Static Jacks have come a long way since forming in 2009. Since their debut EP, Laces, this NJ quartet have shared the stage with countless musicians and have had their music featured on various shows on MTV. The indie pop four-piece, will also be touring with The Wombats and will be part of this year’s CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival. I had the opportunity to speak to the band’s drummer, Nick Brennan, who was able to give me insight into how the band has changed over the past couple of years.
You guys have a bunch of tour dates coming up. Where are you most excited to play?
I think we’re really excited to be going down to Louisiana to play Voodoo Fest with The Wombats, that’s going to be a lot of fun. And anytime we play The Bowery Ballroom or Maxwell’s, which is in our backyard and it’s a good time. It’s always nice to be home, but we’re also excited to be going new places on the road, like Voodoo Fest in Louisiana.
Why are you so excited to play Voodoo Fest?
It’s Halloween, in the middle of New Orleans. I know that everyone gets dressed up. My Chemical Romance is playing—and Snoop Dogg. It’s such an eclectic group of people and it just seems like it’s going to be a funky, weird time. So we’re pretty excited. Also, it’s the biggest festival we’ve ever played, so that will be a great experience for us.
Are you guys planning on dressing up?
Yeah! I think we are going to dress up. We were talking about a few different things. The guys are telling me that I can’t tell you what we’re dressing up as but we are going to dress up. There definitely will be pictures.
Has If You’re Young met your expectations as far as how it has been received?
So far everyone who has heard it has really enjoyed it, which is all that we aim for. I think we always knew that it would be a slow build as far as getting it out to as many people as we can. And a large part of that has to do with touring and being on the road, which we are doing. Our expectations are set low for a better payoff. I don’t think we could be disappointed because we worked really hard on making the record and it came out exactly how we wanted it, so we’re really proud of that and hopefully anyone who can hear it will appreciate it on some level and that’s good enough for us.
What’s your personal favorite track off the album?
My personal favorite off the album? Geez, you’re putting me on the spot here. I don’t want to say one of the ones I’m closely attached to so I’ll say one of Ian’s: “Drano-Ears,” the closing track on the album, is definitely one of my favorites. It was one of the last songs we wrote to put on the album, and I just think it’s really fabulous. Honestly, my answer changes every time someone asks me. It’s like choosing children!
That’s an interesting comparison.
I mean you work on them for so long and you try to raise them right. Then they’re out there in the world and you can’t really choose what your favorite one is. They’re all very personal for you—at least for me. All the songs are so close to me, it’s hard to differentiate.
How has being from New Jersey shaped the band?
I guess I would say that growing up in New Jersey influenced us by the music we play; how we all were friends just hanging around in the suburbs of New Jersey. When we decided to form a band, we just went into my basement and kind of, as clichéd as it sounds, played rock music. We grew up together like brothers pretty much, and I think that the sense of community is present in New Jersey.
We’re also influenced by a lot of the bands that come from New Jersey; The Misfits, who are maybe the most important American punk band of all time. I’m a huge Springsteen fan. There’s a very big, romantic quality that comes out of music from New Jersey, I don’t know why people love making big, fast songs from New Jersey. I like to think that we’re following in that tradition.
How does Laces differ from If You’re Young?
I think the biggest difference is probably that we got older and got better at writing music and at knowing how to write songs. We just got better at what we did I think, we were 17, 18 when we wrote those songs and recorded them and now some of us are pushing more than 22. We’ve been writing together for a long, long time. I think the biggest changes were natural ones. Otherwise we really haven’t changed that much when it comes to how the songs feel or how we play them.
Your music was featured on MTV, how did that make you feel?
It was great. MTV isn’t what it was when I was younger, but they gave us one of the first big opportunities to get our music heard by many people. Not only that but it helped us financially, we were a start up band that had no money, which made them an important piece of the puzzle as to where we are now. As weird as it is, it was pretty funny to have our friends call us up the next day and say, “Oh, I heard your music on Teen Mom,” and we’d be like, “Really?” They don’t tell us when they’re going to place our music, they just do it. So it’s always a surprise to hear what shows played our music the next day. But they were pretty crucial to helping us financially and getting our music out into the world outside of our own doing.
Speaking of music, what do you guys listen to on the road?
That’s a really interesting question. Lately we’ve been listening to a lot of KISS. One song, not their whole career even. It’s a song called “I Was Made For Loving You,” it was made in the KISS disco-era where they took their face makeup off, and it’s really bad but really, really good. And we usually listen to a lot of weird David Bowie music. We’ve been listening to a lot of Future Islands, out of Baltimore. Otherwise it’s just novelty music that makes us laugh half the time.
What are your plans after the tour?
I dunno. More tours probably. We’re on the road until early December and then we might go to the U.K., but I don’t know if that’s happening yet. Then Christmas happens, but once spring starts—or even in January, we’re going right back out again—we have to. I don’t see us not touring until like next fall even, I mean, it could be over a year of straight touring before we record anything new. I think that’s the only plan we have right now.
Did you always want to be a musician?
No, I wanted to be some sort of actor or comedian when I was really young. Only in late middle school to early high school did I think, “Oh, I can sort of play music and I’m sort of good at it.” The idea didn’t crystallize that we could do it until our freshman year of college. I know Henry, who plays guitar, wanted to be the starting center for the New York Knicks. He wanted to be the first draft pick—that was his actual dream until he started to play guitar. Ian didn’t think much about his future (and he still doesn’t really) until we started the band. Andrew, our bass player, has had literally a million jobs. He was a 9-1-1 operator, he wanted to be a garbage man when he was younger because he enjoyed the benefits. The idea that we could do this for our lives crystallized only a few years ago.
The Static Jack’s full-length album, If You’re Young, is out now on Fearless Records. The Static Jacks will play a free show Oct. 19 at The Delancey in NYC. For more information, go to thestaticjacks.com.