Behind The Music: Interview With Jack of None – Musical Prodigies (Part 3)

08/29/2017 01:19 pm ET
Photo Credit: Jack Of None

Continued from part 2.

Q: How would you describe your style of music?

A.G.: I’ve asked myself this question in anticipation of an interview like this. I haven’t come up with a good answer, unfortunately. I feel like we have a sound of our own because we’re terrible at sounding like anybody else. I know this personally because I’ve tried.

Maxine: It’s a fusion of music and poetry, heavily influenced by rock and fueled by experimentation. We’ve never concerned ourselves with “what” we wanted to be as much as “how” we wanted to create something truly meaningful. The wonderful thing about approaching music this way is that we remain free to express ourselves entirely without restrictions. See, we’re not creating music to make money or garner millions of tween followers. We’re creating music to empower Art, to express ourselves, and to celebrate the human spirit in all its deep and intricate complexities.

Q: Stylistically, how does Who Shot Bukowski? differ from Who’s Listening to Van Gogh’s Ear?

A.G.: I’m proud of “Who’s Listening to Van Gogh’s Ear?” because we figured out how to make it work despite living on opposite sides of the world. I feel like we learned a lot of lessons though – what worked well and what didn’t when unable to operate in the same physical space, for instance. I think the result of that really comes through in this new album – not just in the production value, but in the “sound” we were able to craft for ourselves. I think that’s the biggest difference. I feel like the band has a “sound” to call its own in this record. We were still in the process of figuring that out in the first record, which makes it charming in its own way I suppose.

Maxine: It’s sexier, smoother, and definitely more daring.

Lyrically, I wrote each song on “Who Shot Bukowski?” from scratch. Unlike on “Who’s Listening to Van Gogh’s Ear?” where I used existing poems from my book of poetry, “A Secret Life.” As a result, I believe there’s a more rhythmic (almost rap-like) quality to the style in which the vocals are delivered.

Musically, I find that A.G.’s compositions on this album have a more bass-heavy groove. This enabled me to smoothly weave my vocals in and out of the audible currents.

Q: I really like Who Shot Bukowski? What inspired the album?

Maxine: Like Jack of None, Charles Bukowski was concerned with dissecting the human condition. He often expressed his fear of dying— not physically, but spiritually— from humanity’s lack of depth and conscience. By posing the question – “Who Shot Bukowski?” – we’re asking our listeners to look within themselves to see if, perhaps, they might be holding their “guns of superficialities” between the eyes of our withering humanity. Perhaps, as Bukowski had feared, we are our own worst enemies.

Q: How have your fans and reviewers responded to Who Shot Bukowski? Has the response been positive?

A.G.: We’re hoping to get it in front of more people, but so far, the response has been nothing but extremely positive!

Just the other day, we had a kid in Manila reach out to us on Facebook. He said he was doing a review of the album for a school project. He wanted to know what the words meant on some of the tracks. That really moved me because it made me feel like we’re able to influence some of these kids – hopefully in a positive way.

Maxine: We are blessed to have a fan base comprised of daring and courageous individuals who are seeking as much depth and meaning in life as we are. As such, they have been very pleased with our second album— often commenting that they take pride in listening to music that isn’t just concerned with “feeding the system”, but is, on the contrary, giving voice to a dying breed of deeply artistic and soulful individuals.

Q: Are you happy with the way the album came together?

A.G.: Very happy, yes. Do I feel like we can do better? I don’t know, but I’m excited to try.

Maxine: 101% because it’s made of pure heart and soul.

Q: Who produced the album?

Maxine: A.G. mixed, mastered and produced the entire album.

Q: Are you working on any new songs?

A.G.: Nothing formal, but I have the makings of new compositions in my cellphone. If my cellphone ever got lost and somebody heard what I have in there, I would die of embarrassment. It’s a lot of terrible guitar playing and even worse humming. There are even some guttural noises I make as placeholders for sequences I plan to program eventually.

Maxine: I’ll admit that we’re workaholics. I don’t think we ever really stop working. In terms of our music, simply waking up in the morning and opening our eyes can be thought of as “working” because what we create is born of human existence. New songs are constantly floating around in the air we breathe. It’s just a matter of deciding whether to take them in, or spit them out.

Q: Any plans to tour in the future?

A.G.: Not currently. We were doing art events in Manila when we all lived there some years ago. There was always this sense of danger and uncertainty in those live performances because the crowd and the other artists could be so unpredictable. We actually decided to do these albums because we missed those days and wanted to find a way to continue to work together despite the geographic challenges. That being said, we’re not ruling out the possibility if a really good opportunity comes along in the future.

Find out more about Jack of None here.

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