Jet Black Alley Cat Interview: On Staying Humble And New Music
Words and photos by Jennifer Nguyen
Words by Jennifer Nguyen
With amazing eclectic style and music, Jet Black Alley Cat is on the rise within the indie pop/rock scene. The band currently consists of Joseph Jett (vocals), Christian Harrison (guitar), Zach Douglas (guitar), Christofer Johnson (bass), and Bryant Lowery (drums). On a busy day in downtown St. Louis, I got to sit down with Joe and Christian to talk about the band’s new single and plans for the year.
Hey! How are you all doing today?
Joe: We’re doing well.
Christian: Pretty solid.
Joe: Hanging out and getting ready to play a show is always fun.
So you guys just tweeted that you did a video shoot today and that there is a new release around the corner. Would you mind telling us a little bit about your new release? When can we expect it to drop?
Joe: We were shooting a video for our single called “Miami Baby” and that’s coming out on a record to be released. It’s a smaller piece to a bigger piece to a record that is coming out May 25th. We’re excited about it. We shot the video and it’s a bunch of glam and kind of like Miami vice vibes. We shot it in our basement and it was a lot of fun.
It’s amazing how far you guys have grown in such a short span of time, what is something that keeps you guys humble and down to earth throughout your band’s journey?
Christian: I just think the everyday grind kind of keeps you humble. There’s something easy about what you’re doing. You feel like you’re having success and that there’s always things happening. There’s a journey of massive things.
Joe: You can have a great day one day and have a lot of great things come our way. Then the next day things reset and you don’t know what is to be that say and whether it is going to be positive or negative. We’ve come a little ways, but I just think the work is has kept us content with not getting too big of a head.
Christian: I also think our goals are bigger than they were.
Joe: We have big goals and this is just our stepping stone.
Tell me about your passion in music. When did you guys realize that you wanted to start making music and what exactly made you realize that?
Joe: The four of them kind of started a bit earlier than I did. They were playing in different bands in high school and involved in music. I didn’t really get involved in music until I met them when I was 19 in college. When I was a senior in high school and I started playing acoustic guitar with my buddy and we were terrible, but it taught me the love for creating something. I just fell in love with making music and making everything that goes with it. At that point, I got really into different bands and you just feed off of the people around you. You want to be a rock star too. I’ve always been a fan of iconic figures.
So if you weren’t in a band or making music, what would you guys imagine yourself doing right now?
Christian: Probably something lame like a financial analyst. It’s weird, but I like that stuff. It’s the complete opposite of where I am now.
Joe: It wouldn’t be college, that’s for sure. I went to the Bahamas with my brother one year and there was a guy that just moved there just to teach snorkeling lessons so I don’t know if I would teach snorkeling lessons, but I do think I would move to a different city and do something random that I have never done.
What’s the story behind the beginnings of JBAC?
Joe: I was walking in a theater one night and we just thought of the name. We all liked it. We never tried to take too many quick steps, it has always been about being prepared to play a good show and it is important to know that everybody in the room knows that we want to play a good show for them. We never really skipped steps and always worked hard and made sure we were good enough. That’s why we did everything one song at a time when we started was because we wanted to be prepared. Never taking anything for granted. From the beginning, we have always been in love with clothes and fashion and things being exciting.
Christian: A lot of trial and error.
Are there any particular artists or bands that influence the sound that you guys have as a whole?
Joe: It’s more like figures like Johnny Cash. His music was so good, but he also had a vision. Amy Winehouse. Big Kanye West fan. In terms of artists that are poppin’ right now, we’re big Killers fan, Kings of Leon, The 1975. I love Lany right now. There’s a bunch of good bands that are doing their thing right now. We’re definitely more older rock and roll and old artists that we fall in love with.
How does your production process go? Is there anyone in charge of coming up with lyrics, or the melody, or is it just one fluid collaboration between one another?
Christian: I think Joe usually writes all the lyrics because he is way better at that than the rest of us. Everything else is that somebody has an idea that they like and they bring it to the group. If somebody likes it, it’s like “cool, you run with it for a little bit and see what happens”. We don’t have a set way that we do everything.
Joe: It’s different everytime.
Christian: Even our recording process over the period of time we’ve been a band has changed. We recorded different ways and see how it would turn out.
Do you guys have any favorite memories or experiences from touring?
Joe: We’ve had the good and the bad. He got sick one time in Tampa and it was a crazy allergic reaction that happened. He ended playing on stage leaning against his guitar. I thought he was going to fall over the whole time. It was a wild thing. In terms of fun things, we’ve made so many friends along the way in every city. We just got back from Brooklyn, where we went to these people’s house and they has a backyard. You never see backyards in Brooklyn. We had a bonfire out there. Every city we go to, we’ve made good friends and good relationships.
Christian: The fun part is that you never know what will happen.
I’d imagine that touring and making music would also be super fun but exhausting. Is there anything that you guys enjoy doing personally in your spare time?
Christian: Bryant likes to work out. People like to play video games. We enjoy movies too though.
Joe: We’re big sports fans too. We like going to events when we can afford them.
That being said, what are your current go to songs to listen to as of right now?
Joe: I’ve been listening to some old INXS songs. “New Sensations”, I’ve been jamming on that. I really like this band from Michigan called The True Blue and they have this song called “What Do You Think Of Me?”. I really like that song so check it out if you haven’t heard it. Kendrick Lamar. Things like that.
Finally, what can the fans expect to see from you this year?
Joe: This year we are playing a lot of shows.
Christian: We’re trying to do twice as many shows as last year.
Joe: We hit 60 something shows last year and this year we are trying to do 120. We’re kind of close to, after the summer will be half way there. We’re at the pace we want to be at. We’re finishing up our spring shows. We’ll announce our first full summer tour. We’ll put out the new record. We’re continuing forward and I feel like we are working to put out new content everyday. A continuous build of relationship between us and our friends is what we really want to do. That’s really our focus this year. Just building a really strong relationship and not even about becoming bigger.
Check out their new single “Miami Baby” now streaming everywhere.