As posted, in German: http://www.alternativmusik.de/interviews/interview-mit-jam-pain-society/
Before we really start, please briefly tell our readers who you are.
We are Jam Pain Society, a five-piece rock band from the U.S. Our sound is a well thought out combination of different styles. Heavy guitar riffs with a tight rhythm section that lays down whatever groove the song calls for, huge hooks, honesty, and soulful, impassioned vocals – it’s all about the song.
The band members are: Chris Hill – guitar and vocals; Greg Putnam – 6-string bass, Chapman Stick, and vocals; Matt Frederick – bass and vocals; Nick Campbell – drums; and me, Leah Kirby, vocals.
How was Jam Pain Society established?
The vision and sound of the band were really created before the five of us ever met. In the early stages of Chris’s writing, he found himself playing metal guitar over Parliament songs just for fun. He knew he was on to something and decided to take that concept and make it his own.
In the mean time, other pieces of the foundation were built as I grew up under the influence of an older brother who blasted AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest, which I appreciated as much as screaming along to pop radio hits. Nick locked himself away in his room to soak in the rudiments of percussion and practice stick control, etc. Greg played in an original prog-rock band and also in a Dream Theater cover band, and Matt cut his teeth in a local metal band that Chris eventually produced.
Eventually, Chris and I met, started writing together, and formed a band. We went through a couple of drummers until we found Nick. Then the three of us went through a few bass players until we found Matt. The addition of the second bass player came as a result of us wanting to have a bigger live sound and wanting to take a different route instead of adding a second guitar player or a keyboard player. Greg was the first guy who answered the ad, and as soon as we saw him play, he had the job – he was exactly what we were looking for. When we saw him play the Chapman Stick, we were just blown away.
If you hear your album Black Light Messiah, it becomes obvious that you mix different music styles and genres and create something new. Are there any bands you were inspired by?
Yes, definitely. Though, individually, each of us has different favorites, we come together on what we consider the best of the best — artists such as KISS, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Pantera, Stevie Wonder, Prince, White Zombie, Lenny Kravitz, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Tool, Dag, Aretha Franklin, Mother’s Finest, Alanis Morissette… the list goes on.
Are there some non-music influences in Jam Pain Society?
Absolutely. The basic struggle and frustration of maintaining integrity and truth all while keeping the dream alive is a common theme for us. This theme finds itself in everyday life – you know, everything that goes into trying to become who you really want to be – and we don’t take it lightly. Also, the desire to be honest, realistic, and hopeful – which can be difficult all at once, and always trying to do the right thing when the world seems to be begging you to do the opposite. In the end, it all makes for some really good songwriting.
And where lay your musical roots? How did you come to the music?
Through a shared appreciation of many styles: rock, metal, pop, funk, etc.
Also regarding the genre mix, are you or any of the other band members still involved in other bands? In metal bands or bands that have nothing to do with metal? Or are there other bands in which you have played?
When JPS is not in the studio or touring, I do occasional cover gigs with my uncle, my brother, or some other guys around town to keep my chops up. We play anything from oldies to modern dance and everything in between.
When time allows, Nick does occasional side projects that are very different from JPS. You can also find him at open-mic jams when he’s not working with JPS.
Chris practically lives in the studio. When he’s not working on JPS, he’s producing other bands. Right now, he’s producing an album he’s really excited about with a band called Unsound. The styles of the bands he works with vary – he picks projects based on what he likes.
Greg teaches bass, and he recently finished recording bass tracks for Eleventh Hour, the band he was in before he joined us.
Before joining JPS, Matt played bass for a band Chris produced, Drill 187. Now he focuses all his musical attention on JPS.
And what music do you listen to in private?
I tend to listen to more laid-back music than I sing. I guess that’s how it all balances out. And, of course, different days bring different moods. I regularly listen to Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple. Also, I am a HUGE Chris Cornell fan – I listen mostly to his solo work, though I like anything he does. His first solo CD, Euphoria Morning, is one of my all-time favorites. I recently discovered Dashboard Confessional and am having lots of fun getting to know their work. Finally, I enjoy Stevie Wonder no matter my mood.
As far as the other guys go, I know Chris likes to listen to Lenny Kravitz, KISS, Pantera, and Disturbed. Also, Nick listens to Tool, Dave Matthews Band, Dr. Dre, and the Beastie Boys. I’m quite sure Matt listens to a lot of new metal stuff because he’s always turning us on to it, and Greg, I think, recently has been listening to a lot of old-school funk stuff.
With your debut you immediately got a deal with Locomotive Records, which is a quite well-known label. How did you get their attention?
We learned of Locomotive through Carol Kaye at Kayos Productions. Her public relations firm handles a lot of Locomotive’s artists in the U.S. Carol had heard of us from a mutual business friend, Michael McConnell. Carol liked what she heard and thought Locomotive would too, so she sent a few songs to her contact there. He liked what he heard and offered us a deal.
You are a quite new band; Have you played some live gigs already? If yes, how was the audience response? What about future concerts and tours? Will you come to Europe or to Germany? Hearing your songs, it must be amazing to see you playing live.
Thank you! Yes, we’ve played a lot of shows. Our local fans have come to expect an arena-sized show, and we give it to them no matter the size of the venue. Whether we’re in front of 10 people or 10,000 people, you’re going to get your money’s worth when you see Jam Pain Society live. We take very seriously the visual aspect of it and the musical aspect of it, and neither is placed above the other. It’s a show and we get that.
We recently did some tour dates with Ace Frehley, and the audience response was amazing. We’re working with our management to schedule tour dates in the near future to support our album, and we’d love to do some dates in Europe.
You mentioned Ace Frehley. Ace Frehley, former KISS member, is a guest musician for your album Black Light Messiah. How did it come to this collaboration?
A mutual friend let Ace hear some of our music, and when Ace liked it, the friend suggested that he play on a song. Ace said “Sure.” It was as simple as that. Next thing we knew, Chris flew up to Ace’s home studio where he met with Ace and engineer Rich Tozzoli and recorded the tracks. Chris is a huge KISS fan, so this was a dream come true for him. As he said, “This was bigger than winning a Grammy for me.” Chris also said it was an amazing experience musically, but beyond that, he was blown away by how cool of a guy Ace was to work with. He had a great time.
Jam Pain Society is an interesting band name. How did you come to this? What does it mean?
We are a very fan-oriented band. That’s where the “Society” part came from. The “Jam Pain” part came from us trying to find words that convey what our music sounds like. Those just felt right.
And your album… How did it come to be called “Black Light Messiah”? And what does the album cover express?
The title Black Light Messiah is about the concept of hero worship. I’m not sure how it is in Europe, but here in the U.S., a lot of people seem to be looking for a hero or for someone to blame. The Black Light Messiah concept is more about personal responsible. It’s about reaching within and becoming the hero yourself. We need more of that in the world.
About the album cover, it’s a visual depiction of what we think the album sounds like in terms of the combination of styles, etc.
How would you explain how your music sounds to someone who has not yet heard it?
It’s a mix of hard rock and metal with obvious hints of funk, industrial, and pop with melodic and from-the-gut vocals combined in a way that you probably haven’t heard before.
In “So Here It Is” you sing: “So here it is, the undefinable….” Is this something you would say about your music, or what do you mean by this?
Most definitely, I would describe our music in that way. Lyrically, that song speaks to our individuality, our dedication to it, and our staying power. It also speaks to the idea that while there are general categories in which we certainly fit, we do not wear the strict labeling well. In other words, we are not only metal and we are not only pop, though at certain times during certain songs, we could be either of those.
The song “Wasted” was one I recognized very fast when I heard your album the first few times. Can you tell me about this song?
Lyrically, “Wasted” is a response to the ridiculous and sad way celebrities are idolized and the public’s insatiable desire to tear them down once they’ve built them up. It also speaks to the fact that it has somehow become acceptable in ways to turn gossip and speculation into “news”.
Are there other songs that are important for you you want to tell me and our readers about?
As cliché as it sounds, every song on this album has a deep meaning to us as writers, so we really can’t pick one over the other. We try to write in a way in which our personal feelings and experiences can easily translate and relate to the life of the person listening to the song.
As a final question: What are your future plans? Are there any future targets you want to reach with Jam Pain Society?
In the long term, we want to continue to make records that we’re proud of. For right now, it’s all about touring and getting Black Light Messiah into the hands of as many people as we can.
Thanks for taking time for this interview! The last words are yours…
Thank you for the interview and for asking some really good questions. We also thank you for taking the time to listen to and appreciate our album. We’re looking forward to getting over to Europe and meeting our fans there. For anyone reading this, if you like the band, please e-mail us or go to our myspace page (www.myspace.com/jampainsociety) and tell us where you are. We’ll do our best to get to you. Thanks!