Dave Anians - October 7, 2013
Our first Green Dot Session is Jake Joyce of Seasonal Men’s Wear. I first met Jake a few years ago in DeKalb IL, our college town. Since then, he’s become one of my best friends and even plays drums in our band The Rough Idles. He’s been doing this music thing for a long time in a variety of bands and solo projects, from acoustic noise grind to pop-punk melodic hardcore with Thin Lizzy solos (and that’s only dipping your feet in the genre pool that makes up this dude’s music). You can catch SMW shows in the Chicago and DeKalb area.
Do you like positive lyrics about having fun despite being older, going camping, enjoying friends, believing in Big Foot? Do you like funny onstage banter with a full band of solid dudes playing awesome party punk music? Do you like dancing? Do you like having the same song stuck in your head for the entire day after hearing it?
Then go to hell!
Nah, for real, check em out:
He also writes for a DeKalb zine he cofounded called Foliage Monthly.
Dave Anians 9/27, 1:39pm
alright, so: What's your favorite thing (or things) about music?
Shoot, I gotta figure out a non-cliche way to answer this
I‘ve made a lot of really close friends through playing music. A lot of friendships I hold dearly to this day. I think that more so answers the question of what I love about playing music as opposed to the idea of music
My favorite thing about music is that I can do whatever I want with it, no matter how stupid it sounds and not have to worry about the outcome, because the idea of music can be represented in so many ways
Jake 9/27, 1:46pm
For example, I have a tendency to really enjoy recording drunk music. Sometimes it‘s great, and sometimes it sucks. I had this project called Grapes that was just me and a Muppet Babies keyboard I got from my friend Greg. I would get drunk, come home, and play on it and record it. Not many people liked it, but I did.
Oh, and my friend Matt Mele, but that was about it
sorry, thaat was long winded
Dave 9/27, 1:51pm
haha awesome. be as long winded as you want. where did all this start? like, how did you start writing songs for yourself or for bands?
Jake 9/27, 1:52pm
Alright, this might be kinda long winded
I gotta think how to even start this
Dave 9/27, 1:53pm
haha thats why i like the messaging idea. take however long ya want. imma take a shower
Jake 9/27, 1:53pm
hahah I hope that‘s included in the online version
i mean interview
Dave 9/27, 1:54pm
haha for sure
Jake 9/27, 2:00pm
Well, I won‘t get into it too much, but Connor has always been my right-hand man with music. My brother is a close second. Connor and I were in a band together in high school called Middle Finger Salute. I think we thought that name was super original, but it turns out there‘s a band from Australia that‘s on Warped Tour every year with the same name. So, whatever, doesn‘t matter. I played drums and Connor sang and our friends Rob and Sean played bass and guitar. Before that, Connor and I would jam, but we had no idea how to really write a song. We also didn‘t really know how to play our instruments. I have this tape we recorded when I was 15 of us trying to play Ramone‘s covers and it is hilariously bad. When we were doing the MFS stuff we started to develop, at least, an idea about how to do structure a song.
So when that band broke up, I was playing bass in a different band, and it was a little more serious than MFS. The mentality and the lyrical content, so I kinda missed writing goofy songs. So my senior year of high school I started recording what I thought was gonna be some kind of acoustic power violence project. I‘ve always been a huge grind\PV fan, and at that time I was listening to a lot of it. This is what ultimately turned into SMW. If you go back and listen to the first tracks on the “First Five Years“ album you can tell that I was trying to write some trashy noicecore. Anyways, to save some space, I just started writing songs for fun about my friends at the time and it kinda went from there. I never really thought it was gonna turn into anything serious, and the project has been kind of an on and off thing for the past 9 years. I‘ve been in several different bands over the years, such as Gazelle! Gazelle!, Tabby Cat and the Grenadiers (I don‘t expect anyone to know of these bands, they‘re just stuff I‘m proud of) and kept SMW on the back burner. It wasn‘t really until two years ago when I started taking the idea seriously again
Jake 9/27, 2:12pm
I also just realized I‘ve been watching Sprout for the past hour.
My aunt was babysitting my cousin‘s kid and they had it on, and they left.
Dave 9/27, 2:14pm
i dont even know what that is. im out of the baby entertainment loop, really.
Jake 9/27, 2:15pm
I believe it‘s a chidrens station owned by PBS
Dave 9/27, 2:18pm
ohh okay, cool. so yeah, you mention kind of steering away from "serious" songs and focusing more on fun and singing about friends and stuff. would you consider that a major theme in the music you've written? to go along with that, are there any themes you find yourself visiting consistently? and if so, are you seeing any new themes arise as you get older and more involved with the band?
you dont have to answer all of that hahah
Jake 9/27, 2:21pm
Well, for one thing, I probably won‘t be writing as many songs about pizza pants or bigfoot anymore.
A lot of the newer songs kinda stray from the goofier lyrics and are much more like a narrative. However, I think that we usually stick to the light-hearted topics, or at least topics that people can relate to and feel positive about being able to relate
Theme Song for a Quarter Life Crisis is kind of a dim song at first. It‘s about being in your twenties and teetering between being an irresponsible young adult and having a job and bills, but in the end it‘s important to know that you can be responsible and still live life youthfully
Dave 9/27, 2:29pm
awesome! you want the people seeing/istening to your music to be able to relate and feel positive. are there any other things you want people to or see them take away from your work?
Jake 9/27, 2:37pm
Well, when people listen to anything I‘ve done or come see SMW live I hope it makes them think “that looks like fun, I can do that too“. I mean, that‘s pretty much the ultimate mentality of punk rock in the first place. The idea that what‘s considered “talent“ by some isn‘t the same for others. I consider the Phantom Scars to be the most talented bad in DeKalb. Can Lester play like Steve Vai? Probably not. In fact, I bet Steve Vai bathes on a regular basis. But to me Steve Vai‘s “talent“ isn‘t what I care about. It‘s that soulful song writing.
Dave 9/27, 2:43pm
hahaha for sure
what are some successes or victories you've had, musically? define success and victories however you want
Jake 9/27, 2:48pm
Being on Chi-Ca-Go Go was pretty much the epitome of my success. Anything I did after that was a bonus. Collaborating with Food Fortunata of Sockeye fame was also a huge deal to me because he‘s one of my musical heroes. We were put onto a seven inch comp in 2012 about the world ending in 2012 and that was also a pretty big deal for us.
Oh, and of course the DeKalb Brawl City comp, because it made us feel welcomed somewhere hah
Dave 9/27, 2:51pm
most excellent. now a fun part, list like 2 or 3 musicians or bands you feel really shaped the way you make music. (it would also be rad if you posted a youtube vid of songs by them that you find represent what you mean)
Jake 9/27, 2:52pm
I thought that would link to the whole album
It‘s become kind of a running joke with some people, but Piebald has done more for me than any other band, ever.
I remember driving down Cuba Road with Connor in high school, we used to go on Sunday drives through that area and smoke cigarettes and just vent about silly teenage frustrations . So we‘re driving and “Fear and Loathing On Cape Cod“ comes on and I‘m like, “Who the fuck is this, this is the best thing I‘ve ever heard...“
The vocals were slightly off key and the guitars always had a dropped note in their chords, it was just beautiful
Dave 9/27, 2:58pm
awesome, any other ones youd wanna share?
Jake 9/27, 2:59pm
Yeah, everything and anything from the Wheelchair Full of Old Men catalogue
Let me see if I can find some stuff
Dave 9/27, 3:01pm
artists and bands too if yad like
Jake 9/27, 3:01pm
I mean, these are only a couple examples of the handful of bands from this label
It‘s usually a lot of the same people
But bands like Sockeye, Krapper Keeper, Dick Panthers, Fossil Fuel, Cauliflower Ass and Bob (who we ended up doing a split tape with years later), they all played a huge role in my musical development
They were the guys who were saying “we‘re obviously not gonna make it big playing this music, and not many people are even going to like it, but it‘s fun and we‘re gonna do it anyways“
And that was the mentality that has always stuck with me
Dave 9/27, 3:07pm
hell yeah, so you've already mentioned doing splits and collaberations with people you look up to. are there any other cool stories about run-ins or experiences with musicians who have inspired you?
Jake 9/27, 3:13pm
Well, I‘ve been, for the lack of a better term, pen pals with a lot of the Wheelchair guys for the past few years. Matt Lindsey, who has done a ton of great stuff in the past ten years, and Matt Stevens, who runs 100% Zero Records and plays in some awesome bands are people I bother on a regular basis.
When we opened for Sean Bonnett in April I traded CDs with him. I hope I didn‘t make him feel obliged.
Dave 9/27, 3:18pm
nah hes super nice, im sure he was happy to
Jake 9/27, 3:19pm
I know that you did the same thing
I guess it‘s okay to be bothersome sometimes.
Dave 9/27, 3:19pm
alright, we're in the home stretch already
Jake 9/27, 3:19pm
Dave 9/27, 3:21pm
you write and cofounded Foliage Monthly, the DeKalb zine. including this, what are some ways you artisitcally express yourself besides music?
Jake 9/27, 3:26pm
Well, I really do like writing down my thoughts, and that‘s why I enjoy doing Foliage so much. I used to write fiction a lot more a few years ago, and I kinda wish that I‘d throw my hat back into the ring but I‘ve been lazy about it. I like riding my bike a lot, but I don‘t know if that counts as artistic expression.
Dave 9/27, 3:27pm
you could definitely argue that it is haha. right on, so do you think those things affect the way you make music? or do they work pretty separate of each other?
Jake 9/27, 3:29pm
I think they‘re pretty much the exact same thing. The only difference is that if I think of a melody of a sentence I‘m obsessing over that week, then that becomes a song
Dave 9/27, 3:32pm
is there ever overlap? or will you avoid writing songs about what you've written about it previously or vice versa?
Jake 9/27, 3:32pm
that was supposed to be melody FOR a sentence, not of, by the way, LOLLLLLZ
They totally overlap, in the sense that I have a lot of the same stupid ideas over and over again but they‘re different enough to express them differently
Dave 9/27, 3:39pm
nice! alright, so in terms of music, what do you want to be doing in 5 years?
Jake 9/27, 3:40pm
I hope that being in my 30‘s hasn‘t crushed my spirit
Dave 9/27, 3:44pm
what do you think your life would be like without music? like, if you were one of those people who was like "yeah, i just never really got into it or liked it much"
Jake 9/27, 3:45pm
I‘d still be trying to pretend I was good at basketball
This is gonna sound hyperbolic, but I have no idea where I‘d be.
I‘d probably be enrolled in a pro-wrestling school somewhere. That is not a joke. But being a musician is great because I don‘t need to be in shape
Dave 9/27, 3:50pm
ha for sure. when music is such a big part of your life, i think it really just shapes who you are in a way that cant be undone.
with that said, what would 12 year old jake think of jake joyce, singer/songwriter/writer/benji fan?
Jake 9/27, 3:51pm
Yeah, I think so too. It opened up a lot of options to me. Music ultimately opened the door for me
He‘d probably ask me which Limp Bizkit songs I‘ve covered.
Dave 9/27, 4:01pm
final questions: 1. is there anything youve always wanted an interviewer to ask you?
Jake 9/27, 4:03pm
Hahaha, huh, that‘s an interesting question. I don‘t think it‘s that I‘ve wanted them to ask me it, but I‘ve always assumed that people are gonna ask about the band name when they interview me
Dave 9/27, 4:04pm
oh, i thought of a good one: where did the band name come from?
Jake 9/27, 4:05pm
hahah, good one!
Dave 9/27, 4:05pm
Jake 9/27, 4:06pm
So when I started recording the songs that would become Seasonal Men‘s Wear, I was sitting at our FAMILY PC, stumped as to what to call this new bullshit I was making
So I had the Simpsons on, and it was the episode where the kids get snowed into the school and Flanders and Homer have to save them. I would say that it‘s one of the newer episodes, but what I consider newer Simpsons episdoes are now over a decade old. I believe the episode was called Skinner‘s Sense of Snow
I‘m tying to think of a name, and it‘s the scene where they‘re listening to the radio to see what‘s been closed due to the snow storm, and Homer gets reall excited because the nuclear power plant is closed, and the kids are listening and Springfield Elementary is unfortunately open. Then, and advertisement is played and it said something along the lines of, “And don‘t forget, it‘s half off seasonal items at Springfield Men‘s Wear, which is also closed“
and all I heard were the words seasonal men‘s wear
and there ya go
So I guess it was just a stroke of luck it wasn‘t a different episode, because I might have ended up calling it Armand Tanzarian
Dave 9/27, 4:13pm
hahahahaha. the planets aligned just right
Jake 9/27, 4:13pm
Which I still might use for something
Dave 9/27, 4:15pm
that is a great name
alright, so last question my man. any final words or advice to other people lookin to make music or be in bands?
Jake 9/27, 4:17pm
To quote our sweatshop inducing brethren, just do it
If you suck for a little bit, that‘s okay, because nothing sucked as bad as Connor and I in my old basement.
childhood basement, rather haha
Dave 9/27, 4:21pm
thats all there is. that feel like a good amount?
Jake 9/27, 4:23pm
hahaha yeah, probably!
unless you can think of something else
Dave 9/27, 4:24pm
oh shit! i missed an important one. what do you guys got comin up! feel free to post event links and stuff
Jake 9/27, 4:27pm
Welp! We‘ve got a a show at the Fireside Bowl on October 15th, a show at the Seventh Street Space WITH YEW on October 19th, we‘re trying our hardest to get working on our new full length, and that‘s about it!
And then another show on November 8th at the Seventh Street Space with the lovely Satan‘s God from So-Illinois
You know what I forgot
We‘re gonna be in an episode of FU, which is a cartoon done by our friend Joe. I have no idea when that‘s gonna be done by, but here‘s Joe‘s youtue link
Dave 9/27, 4:41pm
hell yeah! looks good. thank you so much for doing this. i think it was sweet, hopefully you did as well!
Jake 9/27, 4:41pm
hahah it was a blast
Dave 9/27, 4:43pm
i have to work now, haha, see ya tomorrow!
Jake 9/27, 4:44pm
haha see ya