Photo c/o aLIVE Coverage
I got the chance to see DC area three-piece Jukebox the Ghost play live for the first time Friday afternoon at Atlanta's Shaky Knees Festival. I was pleased to note that their energetic power pop ballads were received well by the Day 1 crowd and that they somehow brought even more heat to an already very 'HOTlanta'.
Prior to their performance I got to chat with the guys about their music and what's in store for the year. During the course of our conversation – peppered throughout with their sometimes silly, oftentimes sarcastic answers to our questions – we touched on their self-titled album, band dynamics, and even an embarrassing (or awesome, however you look at it) run-in with summer tour-mate Ingrid Michaelson. Read on for all the juicy details. (Answers from vocalist/pianist Ben Thornewill.)
EARMILK: Tell us how you formed and how you landed on Jukebox the Ghost as a band name.
JUKEBOX THE GHOST: We formed in college at George Washington University and came up with the name by combining an obscure Captain Beefheart lyric with a quote from Nabokov.
EM: How did your latest, self-titled album come together?
JTG: There are two songwriters in the band and we typically write separately and then bring the songs together and reconstruct and arrange them as a band. For this record we came in with nearly 50 demos and worked for months on whittling down the list and recrafting them into the versions that are now on the album.
EM: Why did you release “The Great Unknown” as the first single?
JTG: It seemed, initially, like the most singly of singles.
EM: Any tracks that specifically resonate with you? Why?
JTG: I love the song Hollywood. Firstly, because the concept is that people look for highly fictionalized hollywood-ized romance in life but the reality never matches. Secondly, because our drummer Jesse makes his singing debut at the start of the song.
EM: What do you want people to take away from your music?
JTG: I want people to take away a feeling of yearning for chocolate. And then I want them to eat lots of chocolate and then use the sugar rush to dance like a crazy person.
EM: What fuels your fire? Who/what influences your sound?
JTG: I don’t actually listen to a lot of music – but lately I’ve been playing through a lot of 1940s /50s sheetmusic. Also a good cup of coffee helps steer me towards greatness (or atleast a higher state of consciousness).
EM: Any artist collaborations we can look forward to? Is there a dream collab?
JTG: I am of course waiting to hear back from Kanye about our ballads record. But in the meantime we did recently record a cover of "Walk Like An Egyptian" with labelmates Secret Someones that we love.
EM: Tell us more about what’s in store for this year.
JTG: We just made the music video for "Postcard" and are thrilled about that. And after the Ingrid tour… more touring?
EM: Yes so more about that. This summer you’re touring with Ingrid Michaelson (huge fan here) – what’s she like?
JTG: I know her band very well and I’ve met her a few times. Notably years ago I crashed on a couch in a room on her roof (I was friends with her roommate) and in the middle of the night we had an awkward exchange in our pajamas because she didn’t know I was staying there and I didn’t know she was going to walk her dog on the roof.
EM: What do you expect Shaky Knees Festival to be like?
JTG: I expect it to be a crazy, wonderful, awesome, music-filled music-fest.
EM: Any favorite ATL spots you always hit up?
JTG: We almost always stay at Tommy’s cousins house. So, that?
EM: Where can we find you on a Saturday afternoon?
JTG: Hiding from the people who are always trying to find me on a Saturday afternoon.
EM: What are you wearing right now?
JTG: I am wearing 5 tee shirts, 8 hoodies, two jackets and a helicopter cap. I entering a Young Sumo Wrestlers of America competition but I don’t actually weigh enough without the clothes.
EM: Who is your muse? In style, life, or musically.
JTG: Norm Macdonald.
EM: What product can’t you live without?
EM: Share something funny/random/comically terrible that’s happened recently.
JTG: I learned that while sea monkeys kind of look like shrimp, they sure don’t taste like them.
For real time quirky quotes like the ones above, and news on what these guys are doing and when, you can get social at the links below.