How long have you been together?
We have known each other since we were in high school and Tom and I have been writing together for about two years. But the band actually formed and started playing out in January of this year.
What kind of local support are you getting (radio, press, distro)?
Unfortunately, most of the radio stations in our region are owned by Clear Channel and that has made it incredibly difficult to get radio support. The college stations in the area are playing us a lot, but the commercial stations have proven difficult to break into. We get a lot of local press support in all the newspapers. Clay County Line did a review for us, as did Port Of Times Union (The largest paper in Jacksonville). Our first record was only available at shows and online, where it did surprisingly well, but our new record will be in all the area FYE stores, as well.
What are your shows like? How well do you draw?
We average about 250 people at the shows. Our biggest show was our CD release party for the first record in August. We sold out the place with 500 people. Our next CD release party is on the 26th, and we booked a bigger venue this time. Weâ€™re expecting to sell out again with around 700 people. I know it may not seem like a lot, but Jacksonville is a very metal town. And we are very not metal. We bring in something different, and to get so much support from fans really means a lot to us. Read
You guys havenâ€™t been together very long, in band years, yet you have managed to create a huge buzz, not only regionally but nationally. You just released a CD in August and your second record comes out in a couple weeks. What do you attribute this quick buzz to and do you think you can keep up this pace?
We have been writing songs together for over two years now. We are all friends and learned how to work together early on. The songwriting process for us is an easy one. Tom comes up with a riff, and then I come up with a melody and some words, and then the rest of the band comes in and fills in all the holes. When you have the right combination of people, like we do, things flow very naturally and effortlessly. It has been easy for us to come up with all of this material.
The buzz happened because people liked what we had going on. We get a lot of support from our manager, Scott Fravala and S&J CD. He has pressed a lot of demo cds that we were able to just hand out to people when we met them on the street. We spend all day every day making calls and going around town talking to people and trying to get them to our shows. Our street team has been amazing! We have a lot of people on our street team passing out flyers. We have so many people asking for flyers to pass out that we keep running out of flyers! You donâ€™t see that kind of support for bands in Jacksonville and its incredible how the people have responded. They are all asking us for more music. They all want to hear more. We give the people what they want. We have been getting handwritten fan mail. Itâ€™s the strangest and coolest thing.
I was lucky enough to hear some tracks from the new record, and much like the last one, your songwriting is impressive. I noticed, however, that these songs seem a little heavier than the last album, sort of picking up where The Grim Goodbye left off. Is there a reason for that, or is it a natural maturing of the band?
The first record was all about production and reaching a broad audience. That was how we introduced ourselves to people and what got them to listen to us in the first place. The goal was to display not only a diversity in sound, but how great that sound can be when itâ€™s polished in a studio. Scott did an amazing job on the last album. It sounds like a major label release. This new record is more raw. It is more of how we originally meant the songs to sound. There arenâ€™t the same studio tricks on this record that we used on the first one. Now that people know who we are and they are listening, we want them to really hear us.
This second record actually has a lot of our older songs on it. It only sounds darker because that is how the song is supposed to sound. They are still as catchy as the first album, but they are much more intense. They werenâ€™t right for the first album. We have songs that rope people in, and once they are there, we have things we want to say to them. They are usually fans by that point so they listen. Itâ€™s amazing.
With some of these songs, they sound really poppy and happy, but when you really pay attention to the words, then you know what the song is about. I like it when artists can do that, and we try to do that. Itâ€™s great to hear a song and sing along with it and dance around, but when you listen to it all alone and really listen to what is being said, it brings tears to your eyes. We put that sort of depth into our songwriting.
What do you think your band can bring to the table? What is the most compelling thing about your band that makes you better/different than what is already out there?
We are a fun band. Red Jumpsuit shows are a lot of fun because we are constantly upstaging ourselves. A lot of bands look like they hate life. We have a lot of energy and we really connect with the crowd. The last show we played, the audience was singing along so loud we couldnâ€™t hear ourselves in the monitors! It was incredible! To see a huge crowd of people singing your song back to you is the greatest feeling.
No offense to other bands, and I know it is clichÃ©, but we are real. We are best friends and have been since we were 14. We have all made a lot of sacrifices in life to get this band to happen. We are all broke country boys and literally have nothing but our music. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received from all over the country, because we are just a group of kids that can write songs together and have a great time doing it.
How would you describe Red Jumpsuit to people? What is your style?
Someone once said that we wouldnâ€™t do well because we hadnâ€™t found our style yet. All of our songs sounded too different. The way we see it, that is exactly what makes a great record. Itâ€™s the kind of record you put it and push play and you donâ€™t skip any tracks. Our albums are a rollercoaster of emotion and color and diversity. We have everything from the slow piano ballads to the fast heavy anthem rock. We are diverse people with many sides, and our music is the same way. Diversity in sound IS our sound. For someone to say that we have no style is a compliment to us. It simply means they donâ€™t know what to call it because they havenâ€™t heard it before.
Is there anything else you want to add?
We donâ€™t write with a goal in mind. We donâ€™t set out to write â€˜hitâ€™ songs. If you try to do it, it wonâ€™t happen. We just write how we feel and go with it. If a really catchy song comes out of that, then great! We are glad people love our music. Itâ€™s flattering.