Friday, January 25, 2008

Releasing Jukebox The Ghost

Jukebox The Ghost is releasing Let Live and Let Ghosts tomorrow night at Black Cat. Yesterday, we caught up with Ben and Tommy and talked about the album, their touring and their infamous fansite.

IA: 2007 was a crazy year for you. You released your debut EP, graduated college and spent the majority of the fall on the road. Recently, you've had a little time off from the road. How has that been?

TOMMY: Still quite crazy, actually. Work, scattered shows, and family visits ended up taking most of the time...But we're psyched for a few more weeks off coming up to do some more writing, we have a pretty big backlog of unfinished songs right now.

IA: What side jobs do you partake in for extra cash?

TOMMY: Well, I work at a furniture store, Jesse works at a pizza place, and Ben gives piano lessons. We're also all bounty hunters on the side.

IA: So, you drop the full length this weekend. Tell us a little but about it.

TOMMY: I'm really excited for people to hear the full album ---- The EP was really meant as a teaser. The last five songs on the full-length are what I'm most excited about. "My Heart's the Same"/"Lighting Myself on Fire" were written by Ben and really show off his classical influences, it's an epic two-song sequence about love and lighting himself on fire in downtown D.C. The three tracks after that are part of the 'End of the World' sequence, a series of songs I wrote inspired by the Book of Revelations. It's a three-song narrative about the apocalypse, ending with "A Matter of Time", which was on the EP, but is a lot better in context.

IA: You have actually had the album recorded for some time now. Have you been working on new material or have you just spent the time getting ready for the release?

BEN: Always working on new material - - and in truth, most of our time has been spent travelling, working and writing songs away from the band - - which is what we usually do before a huge band-centered creative outburst (due early 2008).

IA: How does the songwriting process go down? Since both Tommy and Ben sing lead, is there a way you present songs to each other or is it more of an organic jam type thing where songs and lyrics just flow during sessions?

TOMMY: Both Ben and I write songs independently of the band, and bring them to the table only when we're completely done, or totally stuck in a dead end. The arrangement process is very democratic though --- We always make sure to leave some textures up in the air to play with when we write together.

IA: Do either of you ever write songs with the other one in mind?

BEN: Are you asking if we write songs for each other, in order to express our deep undying love for one another? If so, then yes. But if you mean do we write songs specifically for the other to sing - - no, I don't believe so. But I do think that one writes songs with a purpose... and I think we both write songs with the overall sound and style of Jukebox The Ghost in mind.

IA: How do you incorporate Jesse into the process?

TOMMY: Jesse is the 'producer' of the band, in my opinion...He has a great ear for arrangement. I would say that he ties our songs together in a way that makes them Jukebox the Ghost songs, rather than independently-written songs.
BEN: Which one is Jesse?

IA: You have some interesting lyrics. What do you draw from when you come up with them?

BEN: Most of my lyrics are written improvisationally while I write a song and then edited to be more lyrical or coherent. Therefore, most of my lyrics come from words I use in every day speech. That said, I try to incorporate into both my lyrics and speech, new phrases, words and idea's that I get from music or literature or life in general.
TOMMY: Mad libs.

IA: You guys have been touring incessantly. Describe the typical day on the road. Has it ever reached the point you wanted to throw the others out onto the highway from the moving vehicle?

BEN: Only a few times have we come to blows, but Jesse likes road-head.

IA: We remember that little scrape that you had before The Khyber show last fall. Are there any more battle scars on your vehicle?

TOMMY: Oh God, don't remind me... nothing since then. Nice of you to call it 'little'.

IA: What are your favorite places (cities, venues, etc.) to play?

BEN: DC, definitely --- And #1 would go to the Black Cat. We also loved the Mercury Lounge in NYC, when we were there in December.

IA: You have been compared to bands like Queen, Ben Folds Five and They Might Be Giants. Did any of those bands actually influence you?

TOMMY: Ben and I definitely listened to Ben Folds Five growing up, but he definitely doesn't have any influence on our songwriting. We've had Queen comparisons (usually on Ben's songs), but he doesn't really listen to Queen. Ben definitely has a similar kind of command over his voice, so I can totally understand where people see the parallel. As far as They Might Be Giants, we only started getting into them after people said we sounded like them. I'm a die-hard fan of theirs now....We saw them in Athens, GA in the fall and it was one of my favorite shows last year.

IA: Who are your favorite bands to play shows with?

TOMMY: Exit Clov, Le Loup, Travis Morrison, and the Winter Sounds all come to mind for me....Some of my favorite people in the planet are in those bands.

IA: You play quite a bit of covers, what are some of your favorites?

TOMMY: Ben picked out Danny Elfman's "What's This?" from the Nightmare Before Christmas, and that was a fun one to do, people really reacted to it in hilarious ways when we played it. We used to cover "Guerilla Radio" by Rage Against the Machine, which was fun while the gimmick lasted. We covered "Bohemian Rhapsody" in college a few times, and that's always fun even though it's hard as hell to play and sing (can't really replicate 8-part harmony with two singers....). "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by the aforementioned Giants was one of my favorite covers we've done too.

IA: Now that the new album is ready, what are your touring plans for 2008?

TOMMY: Tons and tons of shows courtesy of our enterprising manager Seth Kallen and South By Southwest! There's going to be some awesome DC-related cooperative shows going on relating to that, you should stay tuned.

IA: Finally, can any of you explain what the hell Pukebox the Joke is and will you divulge who writes that funny little corner of myspace?

BEN: We cannot explain who Pukebox The Joke is, and even if we did know who wrote and recorded it, I doubt we would be allowed to say. But I can say, with 100% certainty that it is not one of the members of the band -- contrary to the occasional public belief.

IA: Thanks for taking the time to do this, see you on Saturday.

TOMMY: Thank you.

Victoria (Live On WOXY)
Good Day (Live on WOXY)

Photo credit



Anonymous puekboxz teh joek said...

lolz/ i lvoe jeukbzox teh gjghost alot n i kno who they r n who i am and i jus wanna be a bes freznds/with evryioene!11 read some of my blogzx agan!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008  

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