Q&A: Jerseyband on Lungcore and the Lives of Unsigned Artists

Photo credit: Theo Wargo

Photo credit: Theo Wargo

With a demolishing dose of horn-heavy chug metal, Jerseyband stands as the logical result of loose forerunners such as John Zorn’s Naked City, Mr. Bungle, and Estradasphere. The seven-piece band’s progressive fusion touches on jazz, groove, big-band flair, and math rock, making a sonic concoction as wild as its live shows.

Unfortunately, groups that are inventive and unwilling to compromise their musical ambitions often find themselves without much publicity, and ALARM caught up with saxophonist Alex Hamlin to discuss this plight of imaginative independent musicians.

We also caught news of Jerseyband’s new full-length album, hopefully due in spring of 2009. Here is an exclusive unreleased track — “The Glad Hand” — for your listening pleasure.

Jerseyband: “The Glad Hand”
Jerseyband: \”The Glad Hand\”

What drives your musical amalgamation?

Our concept is driven by the individual composers of the group. Ed RosenBerg, Brent Madsen, Matt Blanchard, Ted Poor, and myself are the contributing composers. Overall, the pervading tone throughout the bulk of our repertoire is that of subtle humor or not-so-subtle humor.

Granted, there is a bit of blood-curdling screaming involved, but if you examine the words — i.e. “Chewah wah may amo, Chee wah wah key largo” — you find that there is an element of playfulness involved with that as well.

Within this group of composers, there is a unspoken consensus on the importance of rhythm and rhythmic patterns, that the horns be the leading voice of the ensemble, and that there are two teams on stage: the horns and the rhythm section. What has been discussed is the influence of bands like Meshuggah, Pig Destroyer, etc., and how we should allow our composition to harken to that stream of music.

Do you find that having such a unique sound makes it harder to find someone to release your albums?

Indeed, we have not found a record label or organization that is interested in supporting our endeavors to create recordings. Instead we have to release the material (soon to be six records in all) at our shows and online through www.jerseyband.com and cdbaby.com.

Back in 2000, I just made up a record label name, Rangletorian Records, and we released our CDs under that record label name because I thought it would increase our chances in getting booked at rock clubs to play shows. It didn’t. What it really took was me bugging the bookers 5 million times until they would give us a show.

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