Q&A with Lucky Jukebox Brigade

DIY music is a 24/7 job, but Lucky Jukebox Brigade don’t seem to have a problem with that. Having self-released their music in the past, it’s no surprise that the indie/pop-punk group plans on doing the same for their upcoming EP, Savage Fantastic, only on a larger scale. Tapping Mike Watts (The Dear Hunter, As Tall As Lions, Gates, Glassjaw) to produce, and with a new outlook for their new music, Savage Fantastic promises to be Lucky Jukebox Brigade’s strongest release yet. The band has already shared their single, “Little Fangs” from the February 26th release, which can be streamed below. Read our interview with the band below!

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

You are gearing up to release your new EP, Savage Fantastic in February. Can you tell us a little bit about the EP? Was there anything you wanted to be able to accomplish with it?

Geppi Iaia [bass]: We just wrote songs that made us excited. In the past we always set a lot of parameters, wrote with specific goals in mind and this time we kind of erased all of those lines in the sand and just wrote parts that made us feel something.

Deanna DeLuke [vocals]: I kept it straightforward and honest in my head. I took feelings and made them into songs. On our last album, I was tied to storylines that I came up with, almost to the point of writing a concept album. I think that created distance between me and the music, because I was trying to fit specific ideas into songs instead of just writing whatever came out. These songs are raw and personal.  There’s nothing to hide behind.

What are you most excited for listeners to hear on this EP? How do you feel you’ve grown or changed since your last release?

Deanna: I just want as many people as possible to hear it and pass it along to other people if they like it! We started out as an 11 piece folk menagerie playing in coffee houses 5 years ago. We’ve grown as people since then, so naturally we’ve grown as a band. At the same time though, I think some of the inspiration for our new songs comes from older pop punk roots. I grew up listening to Saves The Day, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, and convincing my mom to drive me to New Jersey for Warped Tour. That’s what I was about when I fell in love with music, and those are still some of my favorite bands. I feel like our new songs really represent who we are deep down, and I want to run with that.

Geppi: It’s hard to say exactly what it is I’m excited for. To oversimplify, I think we’re more or less a different band than we were when we released our last album, to the point where we almost changed our band name. As vague as it might be, I’m just excited for people to hear the EP start to finish because I don’t know if they’ll recognize it as LJB and that’s really scary and exciting.

Having self-released your music in the past, what are the pros and cons of this route? Do you plan on self-releasing Savage Fantastic as well?

Deanna: Self-releasing music, and any other DIY effort in music, is a 24/7 full time job with no paycheck. It’s a massive fucking labor of love, and you have to want it badly enough to be okay with that. Music is so readily available, streamable, clickable… and that’s fabulous because it gives people access to new bands and gives bands access to new fans. But, I think a lot of casual listeners lose touch with exactly how much time, effort, and personal investment bands put into their work when they’re doing it all themselves. A soundcloud link you pass by when you scroll through your Facebook feed isn’t just a 3 minute track. It’s probably a piece of someone’s soul that maybe cost them thousands of dollars to make, and it would mean the world to them if you gave it a listen instead of reading some buzzfeed clickbait. I don’t mean to sound cynical. I know a lot of people go out of their way to find and share new music, and the internet makes that possible. I just want to see the same enthusiasm for indie bands that I see for “57 signs you’re an introvert” or whatever, you know?

So, longwinded yes! We’re going to self-release Savage Fantastic and we’re going to do everything we possibly can on our own to get our music out there and make it the best it can be. We went to the producer of our dreams (Mike Watts) and we’re working with the brilliant team at Big Picture Media. Those two opportunities have been gamechanging for us, and we’re eternally grateful. We would be over the moon ecstatic if one of our favorite record labels showed interest in us and scooped us up. I would love that more than anything. But I know the odds are rough, simply because there are so many great bands out there, so we’re going to do whatever we can until something like that happens or until we die trying.

How was working with Mike Watts for Savage Fantastic? How do you feel he helped shape the EP?

Deanna: So excellent. He’s beyond talented. He captured each song as the best version of itself, elevated it when necessary, and saved us from ourselves when necessary. It’s amazing to work closely with someone who is just so fucking expert at what they do. I left feeling homesick for the studio and can’t wait until we have enough material to go back.

Geppi: Mike Watts was amazing to work with. We are essentially an unknown band, and you have Mike who is a huge name among so many different genres, and not once during recording or post-production did that fact even matter. There is no ego working with him, he cares only about the songs and it shows in his catalogue. My favorite thing about Mike was probably his honesty. If he didn’t like a part, or if a transition didn’t work, he wouldn’t give you the “compliment sandwich” or anything, it was just “nope, do this instead.” A lot of people may not like that style, but personally I think it’s arrogant to show up to a studio assuming you have all of the answers regarding your songs.

You also recently released “Little Fangs” from the EP – can you tell us about the song? What makes this one special to you?

Deanna: “Little Fangs” is a song about the feeling that something is missing. For me, it’s what happens when you stop seeing what you want to see and look at how things really are. Like, when you have an idealized version of a person and you find out that it’s an illusion. You end up feeling shattered, and you want to keep chasing the feeling you had when you thought it was real because it felt so good.

Are there any tracks on the EP that you’re particularly excited for listeners to hear?

Geppi: Personally, I’m really excited about the song “Blue” because to me it might be the biggest departure from our older sound. It has an unapologetically 8-bit sound to it; it’s very synthy and reminds me of the sort of early 2000s pop punk that most of us were listening to when we were starting our first bands as teenagers.

With the EP coming out soon, do you have any plans to hit the road?

Yes! Look for EP release show announcements and tour announcements soon.

Is there anything that you’d like to be able to accomplish in 2016?

Deanna: I dream big, so…open up a tour for Vampire Weekend, get signed to Equal Vision, and play a ton of festivals.

Geppi: I think the goals don’t really change for us. We always want to work hard, write songs we believe in, play well, and gain some friends along the way.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you so much for having us! Stay in touch! You can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/luckyjukeboxbrigade), Twitter (www.twitter.com/theluckyjukebox), Instagram (www.instagram.com/luckyjukeboxbrigade), and check out “Little Fangs” on Soundcloud! (https://soundcloud.com/luckyjukeboxbrigade/littlefangs)

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