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Less Than Jake

Lire cette interview en FRANÇAIS FR

It's in the lovely town of Winterthour, at the awesome Gaswerk venue to be more precise that my girlfriend and I have a meeting with Chris DeMakes of Less Than Jake. At 7pm we started chatting a bit with him about a couple of things.

rose Hi guys welcome to switzerland, I hope you had a nice drive and enjoyed your day, did you do something special?
I did have a nice day, actually. I went running around this area, near the forest. It was really beautiful, and that's why I'm still wearing my running shorts. It wasn't too cold neither - so that was really great.

You guys have been here for more than 20 years and always toured quite a lot. Do you still feel the same excitment about going on tour? Do you see a lot of differences with all the managing and tour booking now?
Actually now it's really easier to tour here, you know? I mean, with all this technology that we can use, everything is way faster. I also know what’s good and [what’s not] for me anymore, like staying up and partying till 5 is a really bad idea (laugh). For sure the first few times we were on tour it was a different feeling, and you'll never recapture that same vibe because it was something really new at the time, but apart from that it's still a big pleasure to tour, of course.

Do you see a lot of differences between crowds in the usa/asia and europe?
Hhmmmm not really actually.. The people that like our band are kind of the same everywhere, they're mostly good people that are here to have a good time.

You released a live record this year that was basically recorded in 2001, can you tell me more about what you did to find and assemble all the material, like tapes etc?
We used to do soundboard recording. We had everything in minidiscs so basically what you hear is a real live; there's no overdubs you know? We didn't go back to the studio to make my voice sound better. We had like hundreds of minidiscs hanging around. It's mostly our bass player roger and our drummer that kept them and roger picked the recording of our best shows and the only thing we did is cutting when we were talking too much or when there was too long silences. Other than that it was exactly what you heard at the show.

Now let's speak about the future for a bit, your last full length came out in 2013. Can we expect some new materials for 2017 like a new EP or LP? Did you guys already wrote a few new songs?
Yeah we already recored 7 new songs actually - and we'll try to release an EP in january/February, but let's say that we're definetly aiming for spring. We were on the road so much this year so we only had time to record those seven tracks really fast, but when we'll have more time we will record a new album. It will come out next year too.

That one is more for the horn players but maybe you can answer for them. Do they ever go back to old jazz records to try and find inspiration, or stylistic tricks that they could incorporate in ska songs?
Oh I don't know if they listen to those jazz songs to try to find stuff that they could add into Less Than Jake songs but I know for sure that they listen to a lot of those old stuff like jazz and blues. They possibly found some stylistic but I couldn't guarantee that, we need to ask them. (laugh)

It's kind of a stupid question and always really hard to answer but which ltj record is your favorite and for which reasons? Any funny memories about the recording?
Probably Anthem, it was a really good period for the band. There are a lot of people saying that it's either "hello rockview" or "Losing Streak". For me, when those records came out, we were still learning how to write songs as a band and we really achieved something more cohesive on "Anthem". That's one of the reason why it's my favorite but I could talk for hours about that. It's really about the songs we wrote but also about all the good times and memories that I have of that time. It's a combination of both. We recorded it in california and it was really crazy.

I know you've never been a political punk band but when you see everything that's happening at the moment, don't you feel like trying to reach out to your audience?
Absolutely not, and I'll tell you why. We've never been political ever. I respect political bands and you need to have your belief, but we don't preach about religions nor political stuff because we're a fucking party band. I don't care what you believe as long as you're not hurting anybody at one of our shows and you're here to have a good time, that's the most important for us. We've been around for so long, and when you get older everything changes. We have fans that are now 60 years old coming with their kids. To take a political stand now would feel wrong and that's not a part of who we are. It's also cool to see kids coming with their parents at our shows, we gain new audiences and that's cool!

I know you guys are quite into internet right? if I could say that, so what do you think about social media like facebook? Is it cool or not that strangers can interact that easily with you or you feel like it's way too intrusive?
I think it's okay, you know, but now people think that they're your friends and they get super mad when you don't answer on social media. In the past, there was more a barrier and it was really cool. Now it's like people writing us : "I had a car accident and I have no money you better put me on the guest list." and by the day of the concert you have 50 people that are asking you to be on that guest list and if you don't answer positively to their request, they're like posting on your feed and saying a big fuck you and write mean words about you. (laughs) But most of the time it's pretty cool yeah.

What do you think about the easy access to digital music, like spotify now? I guess you guys like collecting records ,tapes etcc.. Do you think it really affects people in a style like punk?
Oh the records industry killed itself. We were one of the first band putting an MP3 on our website. It was maybe around 1997. Our label freaked out and took our site down and asked us if we were crazy, but we saw it coming for a long time. Music started being free on the internet and you could listen to tons of MP3 etc… At the same time, labels were still selling crappy records for like 20 dollars and people started to be like ‘why should I take my car and drive through all the town when I can just stay here and type 3 words and download it?’… It's cool a lot of people are still buying vinyls though, but I don't think it's a lot of people.

I'm gonna explain it to you with an analogy though. If you're a young guy that is growing up now and you never paid a dollar to get a hamburger, and when you're 20 years old and I come to you and ask 1 dollar for the hamburger, you're gonna tell me why the fuck should I pay for that? Hamburgers are free! That's what is happening for kids that are 13-14 now. They don't understand why they should buy music because it has always been free for them. If I was 13 I would totally steal all music. Now I have to work apart from Less Than Jake, I'm selling houses in florida if you ever wanna buy one for you or your grandparents ( He gives me his contact card and we all laugh.)

Speaking about all those new technologies, would Crowfunding be an option for your band at some point?
I don't know, the guys in my band said they're totally against it, in the past. We don't feel like reaching to our fans for a project like that, we can still function as a band like that. I know lots of bands are doing that now but it's a bit tiring… That's their business, but on my twitter and our facebook it's just all the time. If you're asking for everything all the time, people just don't give a shit at some points.

Lots of international visitors are about to be in Gainesville, many for the first time, at Fest. What should they do while they're in town besides seeing Less Than Jake?
You should go to a place called Devils Millhopper, it's a bing sinkhole, there are stairs taking you down and it's totally crazy to go there!!!. Otherwise you could go to Plaines Prairie to see the alligators. Or the Harn museum near the university is pretty damn cool, but yeah for sure you have to see us and say hi! And party!

Gainesville is seen as the mecca of punk rock by so many of us and you're a big part of the identity of that town, On the song "State of florida" you're saying : “the city’s skyline hasn’t looked the same / since the boom of Florida’s real estate / it’s turning into more than I can take / too much, too soon, too little, too late." It's a theme that is super present on that gva fla record and also on a song like sunstroke on the new album. As someone that lived there and really was a part of the local scene as a teenager you sounds really pessimist about the future of the town and the state. Do you think that once great city is turning into a generic usa boring town?
Gainesville was a really hippie liberal college town and it kinda changed. On the other hand I'm not 20 years old anymore, I think differently now, I can understand why it's going that way from an economical standpoint. I understand that they're tearing down old cool buildings instead of renovating them because it costs three times the price, and that is business, but yeah for sure it stills suck and make me a bit sad. It's business per usual and that sucks.

You got back to your more old school sound since the album GNV FLA, I know a lot of people are going full crazy with punk band going on a major. Did it affect the process of writing or did you receive some orders from the label?
Oh yeah people are crazy about that but we've never been controlled by a major and no one ever told us what we should and shouldn't put in a song. In "Pezzcore", our first record we didn't put a lot of horns. It's just that horns and guitar solos don't fit in every songs.

I really enjoy all the albums artworks, can you tell us a bit more about how is drawing them? They look a bit like cartoon and it's fun.
It's often our drummer that is doing the artworks with tons of different people he met through the years, We don't have a specific person to which we refer for that.

Do you guys have a system for settling disagreements on tour? Like rock paper scissors, trivia contest?
No whoever just scream the loudest wins. ( Laughs)

Which country besides the USA and of course Italy has the best pizza?
Oh man you got me! Let me ask Roger! I really don't know man. It's sure it's not UK they're terrible. And in germany we had a couple bad experiences - you know like blue cheese pizzas (laughs). I really don't know about that one, I pass. I do have a nice dry muffin for now though!

Thanks for your time and see you soon!

Interview : Ludo-core

Plus d'infos :

Label : Fat Wreck Chords

Site Web : www.lessthanjake.com

Site du label: www.fatwreck.com


Interview cliquée : 2007 fois



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