Editor’s Note: Not to sound too braggadocios here, but Madness To Creation was one of the first reviews. We were immediately blown away by this band because they somehow had the perfect balance of being heard on today’s mainstream rock radio stations along with a classic rock station and a 60’s AM radio station. Trust us, you will have to listen to The Jacks to completely understand. Since then, people began to take notice and their music was heard during this year’s NHL Stanley Cup Finals, and they also go to perform at a pre-Super Bowl party along with this year’s NHL Winter Classic event that took place at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Madness To Creation lucky enough to sit down with drummer Josh Roossin of The Jacks to talk about their brand new EP, along with how he feels that he has evolved as a drummer, along with mental health awareness topics. Fans can find THE JACKS at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Thank you Josh for sitting down with me to discuss your band, long story short, a couple years ago, you guys contacted me to review your music and I was blown away by the throwback feel to it. It felt like a time capsule. A random question that I thought of, do you guys get comments from fans and critics alike that your music has a throwback feel to it?
Josh: I think what is pretty cool is that our audience is spread across different demographics, and we would have old and new members in the audience that I wouldn’t have imagined would be super into the music or they would say, “hey it reminds me of growing up with my favorite rock & roll bands, it makes me feel like I’m back at one of those shows”, and we’ll have younger fans that are crazy about it also, but yeah, we’ll have younger fans that are super excited as well because I think our music blends old rock & roll nostalgia but also brings a modern edge to it that does make it feel like a revivalist band or something or truly something new.
Madness To Creation: I definitely feel that in the intricacies of the music, as a drummer, what do you feel you bring to The Jacks?
Josh: When it comes down to the arrangements, I think when I play drums, my ear is going to go from what’s going to be most purposeful to the song, and what’s rhythm I need to use that’s going to make people want to dance or makes you want to hear the song again, inherently a song needs to have a great rhythm section for a rock & roll band. I just like playing rhythm that’s going to get you excited that is very purposeful, all of my favorite drummers aren’t technically trying to show off in every song that they play. John Bonham is known for his insane drum solos, but in a lot of Led Zeppelin music, he’s just playing what is purposeful, and what’s meant for the song and having good feel, but I try to play rhythms that are going to be exciting in the song, and that makes sense, and also live, when I first starting playing drums, my thought was, “all right, I’m going to be in the back, keep the tempos nice and good and just play everything great, or just play to the best of my abilities, and that’s all I have to do”, and then over time, I started realizing how important the drummer is as part of the whole entertainment, and to be animated and having stage presence. It brings a new dynamic to the audience. After going to a couple shows and seeing drummers that really inspired me like that for the past year and a half. I live and breathe my music, and when I’m on stage, I’m definitely show more of my passion when I’m playing live, standing up, just kind of really putting it all out there as if it could be my last show.
Madness To Creation: Give me your biggest influences in your drumming.
Josh: Growing up, I was really into Travis Barker of Blink 182 when I was really young, I think I was 11 years old when I really liked Travis Barker, I just thought it was so cool that with him as drummer, he built a really strong brand on who he is. I would also say John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, the first time I saw of him on video of him doing a drum solo to Moby Dick, it was a Royal Albert Hall show, I think it was 1973, that’s when I was blown away, he could make the instrument into a whole different dynamic just playing with the band, there’s so much versatility that he would use it for, he would turn the snare off and play with his hands and all of these different ways and use tympani in ways that aren’t the traditional way of playing them, I was pretty mindblown by that. I think what’s been helping with my own playing was that I’ve been studying with a well known drum teacher named Dave Elitch, he was the touring drummer for Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake, but he just changed my perception on technique a lot and breathing and performing, he really helped me, I just felt like I learned how to play drums all over again in terms of my grip, my posture, where I sit behind the drums, how I hold my sticks and everything, it was about a month and a half where it felt kind of awkward, but now, I feel like I’ve broken through a plateau in my ability. I’ve been able to watch myself progress in a way that I’m super excited about.
Madness To Creation: What do you want to accomplish next in your drumming goals?
Josh: I want to push myself as a performer. Every time that I get on stage, I want to be able to kind of one-up the last show that I did, whether that’s stage presence, dynamics, animation while keeping tempo or just the quality of my drumming. Right now I just feel super inspired, I lost that once for awhile after my drum teacher passed away, I worked with him for 11 years, and this was last July, and I kind of lost a passion for playing drums, I was still in The Jacks and still playing, but I felt there was a lot about my drumming and questioning what I had in terms of an outlet to go to, and I hit a wall, but recently I studied with Ryland Steen of Reel Big Fish and with Dave Elitch, and just working with them got me really super inspired about playing again, that’s a huge thing for me, before I was just going through the motions of playing, I was like, “just get through the song, just play it and get to the next song”, now I’m really like enjoying the music right now, and that’s something that I want to continue to expand on, is just keep getting inspired every time that I get behind the drum set. I’m just more and more excited.
Madness To Creation: Speaking of inspired, I really believe that the single you all release entitled “Walk Away” has the potential to inspire a generation. The hooks in that song are so addictive. Take us into that song and what inspired The Jacks to create that song?
Josh: With this song, our singer/guitarist Jonny came into the studio with a rough skeleton of the song. He had some of the lyrics and the chorus and he had the main vocal melody and everything, and we all piggybacked on it, the way we go about it, we can all contribute to the song, so I thought about a cool drum rhythm for the song, and our bass player thought about what would pair well with the drums and the guitars, and we got the same guitar riff past the chorus. On the lyrical side, I think it’s kind of just about frustration and not being able to walk away, a relationship that you feel is not the best thing for you to be in, kind of a dichotomy I guess in your mind, you know it’s bad but you just can’t walk away. We also like to leave our lyrics up to the interpretation of the listener, there’s multiple meanings that you can take away from it, it doesn’t always have to be about a relationship, it can be about not being able to walk away from anything. It can be a song about perseverance or something along those lines. On the lyrical stance, we kind of leave it up to the interpretation of the listener but it is stemmed from a relationship.
Madness To Creation: Speaking of not being able to walk away from relationships, what advice would you give to those struggling in relationships from a mental health perspective or struggling to persevere?
Josh: There’s a couple things, I was going to grad school for psychology actually, I actually left to pursue the band, only did one semester, we were reading a book about different attachments and stuff, but essentially the crux of it is that you have to feel loved in order to love someone else, and also when it comes to a relationship, it’s really difficult, a symbiotic relationship, if you don’t truly love yourself or feel self-worth, how are you supposed to get that back in return. From that standpoint, I would choose to tell someone to find out what makes them happy, and what do they want to focus on for themselves as far as getting into a relationship because a codependency or something like that is never healthy, you really have to be happy on your own before being able to share who you are with someone else.
Madness To Creation: What are a couple of things that make you happy?
Josh: To start, I love my family more than anything, they’re all of my best friends, they’re so incredibly supportive every time I get to spend with them is truly amazing, my brother is my best friend, my parents are my biggest fans and they’re a huge inspiration for me, but spending time with them is really awesome for me. I love playing drums, working and listening to music. I can listen to such a wide variety of genres. I also love being on the road with the band. I don’t think we’ve done it nearly enough to where I at least have a different opinion of being on the road, we’ve done about three months before, I absolutely love visiting the states, it would be an absolute dream to go across seas and share our music, that absolutely makes me happy. I love mindfulness and reading about mindfulness, and using this meditation app that I love and exercising.
Madness To Creation: What is your favorite workout regimen or mindfulness exercise that you want to share with us?
Josh: My favorite routine is that I like to have a coffee in the morning, maybe two, I’m kind of a caffeine addict when it comes to that, but I like having one or two coffees, and I pull up my Headspace app and I do the everyday Headspace, which is a three to five minute topic which can be about relieving stress in your life or understanding being present or letting go of the past, and I’ll do that exercise for about five minutes, and after that I like to think about things that I’m most grateful for and then I’ll go jog in the gym or workout then shower, and then I’m ready for the day.
Madness To Creation: How cool was it that The Jacks got to perform the pre-Super Bowl party and the NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame?
Josh: It was pretty sick! That was kind of one of those moments where we wondered, “is this really happening to us”, at that point, I think it was the Winter Classic. The biggest crowd that we played for was the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento for about 2,500 people or something to playing in front of 50,000 people at Notre Dame Stadium in 20 degree weather, it was definitely a huge leap in environment, it was unbelievable, I’ve never had a more out-of-body experience. When I showed this to my parents, they kind of understood why I wanted to leave grad school to pursue music and they thought it was pretty insane to what we were doing. It was amazing and honestly, we have such a great relationship with the NHL and NFL, ESPN and stuff, we just want our music to grow because they have been so kind to us, the awards show, and the NHL awards and using our music in the Stanley Cup, playoff commercials, we just want to continue to grow that relationship, it was just really insane getting to do that. To me, it was more surreal playing the NHL Awards Show, and growing up, I would watch SNL every weekend with my family and seeing Keenan Thompson in person going through dress rehearsals with Keenan Thompson, and I’m like, “this is crazy, I would literally watch this guy every weekend on SNL”, and now me and him are working together on a show, and introduce us on live television, and that was one of those moments I had to sit back and really reflect on it, these are the moments that you really need to absorb and remember and really cherish.
Madness To Creation: What was your favorite thing about working with Keenan Thompson?
Josh: I think he was just a very genuine person, he was just a stand-up genuine person, he brought a lightheartedness to everything. It was definitely stressful going from playing a 30 to 40 minute live show to opening for someone or just one the road to playing one-minute intervals of our songs like instrumentals, getting that countdown on live television to an audience that’s way different, this was a really big vibe and dynamic shift for us, it was stressful from my end on that aspect, but Keenan was always lighthearted and always so pumped up on the band that it really made the whole experience enjoyable.
Madness To Creation: I’m going to go ahead and give you the floor to plug The Jacks’ self-titled EP and anything exciting that’s coming up for the band.
Josh: The Jacks self-titled EP came out at the end of June, five songs that are produced by Matt Wallace and mixed by Andrew Scheps. Matt Wallace has produced Faith No More, Maroon 5, and The Replacements. Andrew Scheps has mixed Adele, Black Sabbath, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. We really had an A+ team working with us, and some of the songs we had for a year and a half and some of the songs we had for about six months. It was music that we’ve held onto for awhile and we wanted to release it the right way and the way that we envisioned it, it’s our first release on Edgeout Records and for UMG. We’re really excited because it’s music that we’ve held onto for awhile, and it’s so awesome hearing it recorded the way we always imagined it. We hope that everyone enjoys it, and we are back in the studio recording “EP 2”, which I’m not sure when it’s going to be released, but we’re already cooking up new music, and we’re just excited to get on the road and share it with everyone.
And there you have it! The Jacks will be performing on Sunday, August 18th at the Hermosa Beach Summer Series in Hermosa Beach, California. For tickets and further information on the gig, click here.