Interview w/ Portland, ME's Jaw Gems
Starting off the midweek with an interview with Portland, ME based up and comers Jaw Gems. You may have caught my post about them a week or two ago promoting their show this coming Saturday, Oct. 8th at The Sinclair. The band are creating quite a stir with their unique blend of hip-hop and electronic beats composed within an indie framework that is unlike anything you've ever heard or experienced before. Bassist Andrew Scherzer was nice enough to take sometime out of their busy schedules to get us better acquainted with the group, their early beginnings, and where they see themselves moving forward. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Take us behind the formation of Jaw Gems and how you all met?
Jaw Gems was formed about 7 years ago! We had a residency at a small club in Portland. First D.J. Moore (drummer) and Tyler Quist (Synths and samplers) were performing there under a different name as a three piece. Hassan(keys) joined up. Finally I (Andrew Scherzer- Bassist) joined on when the original bass player moved to Brooklyn.
How would you describe your sound to those who aren't familiar with you?
Very zynth heavy beat music. Maybe 80's era lead tones with Dilla inspired rhythmic feels. Super chill.
What were some of the acts that most inspired you to get involved in music and how have they helped shape you to this day?
We all have quite a wide array of influences. Definitely J-Dilla but also anything ranging from Deer Hunter and Beach House to D'Angelo and Flying Lotus to Jon Secada and Depeche Mode.
Most bands have different methods for writing songs, how does the creative process usually work for you guys?
Kind of anything goes. We all are bedroom beat makers. Sometimes we write by jamming together, sometimes we produce entire tracks solo and then bring them in. The last couple albums were definitely a mix of every process.
Take us behind the recording of HEATWEAVER and what the whole process was like for the ach of you?
Really the same as the writing process. We're lucky enough to have to have a member (Tyler) who has all the gear to mix all of our tracks and record live if need be.
The past two albums after compiling ideas and demos, we'd spend a good week together focusing on honing material together and/or writing new music. That's sort of when the foundation gets laid. Then if we need to add tracks, we can just chill at Tyler's and finish. It's really a pretty convenient situation for us creatively to be able to do everything ourselves.
What is your favorite track off the new effort that you're most proud of?
I really dig "Studded" because I like happy music and that's one we wrote and recorded all together as well as "Ohio". Hassan wrote the bass to "Piece Pipe" ..So dope. Tyler wrote the bass for "Davinci"...so dope. Honestly the other gentlemen in the band write the finest things for me to play. I love the whole thing.
Besides music, what can we find you guys doing in your down time away from recording?
Me, I love to cook and I'm a huge gamer.
Hassan is always writing, reading and teaches.
Tyler I'm pretty sure at all times is building, fixing, or inventing shit. He's a genius.
D.J. takes care of a lot of the band communications and when he has time he eats pizza and chills so hard.
What's coming up on tap for the rest of the year, any more shows lined up?
Yep we have, a show lined up with the "Motet" at Brooklyn bowl in November as well as a show with "Big Gigantic". Also working on a tour for early 2017.
Lastly, what is the one reason why fans should check you out in concert?
Well I would definitely say our live show is a different beast than our albums. You'll feel like you're in a laser shower. My dudes are some of the best live musicians I've ever met on their respective instruments and I get to play with them! We'll make your butts commence to jigglin...I promise.
Thanks once again to Andrew for being so awesome in doing this interview. You really get to gain a deeper perspective on bands when you read their thoughts, and it almost feels like that they're right in front of you having a natural conversation. Definitely check out these guys in concert if you happen to be in the Harvard Square area this Saturday, they're worthy of a weekend escape! For more on Jaw Gems, please 'Like' them on Facebook over at this spot here.