July 10, 2008
Talking to Less Than Jake
By MARLI LEE MCGARRAH
Since forming more than a decade ago at the University of Florida in Gainesville, the members of Less Than Jake have only gotten better and better at creating a sound all their own. Their use of guitar-driven melodies with overlapping horns woven in between has embedded their signature mark on the ska punk scene while gaining them a loyal fan base at the same time.
So new bands, take note, because Less Than Jake are the masters of originality and with their newly released "GNV FLA," they're bringing back their old sound and adding something new.
Less Than Jake is vocalist/guitarist Chris Demarks, bassist/ guitarist Roger Manganelli, saxophonist JR Peter Wasilewski, trombonist Buddy Schaub and drummer/lyricist Vinne Fiorello.
Before the guys teamed up with producer Matt Allison to start recording "GNV FLA", they decided it was time to break away from their label and start their own. Thus, Sleep It Off Records was created. In having experience being on both indie and major labels, the guys realized that they could do everything a label could on their own and with fewer hassles, especially since Fiorello was co- founder of indie label FueledByRamen.
"At some point we just decided that we could do things better, or at least as good as they were doing it without having to deal with going through all the channels that you have to go through on a major label," says Schaub. "It's a lot easier to do it yourself these days so we decided we could benefit a lot better by taking the reins ourselves." So what's it like being their own boss? "The worst thing is that there's a lot more work, but the best thing is that when you are your own boss, when you have an idea you just do it and it gets done," says Schaub.
With the new record label in place, the only thing left to do was make a new record. "We were branching out on our own and we started in Gainesville, Florida. So we decided to name the album 'GNV, FLA' to get back to our roots," he says.
While keeping up with new music and new bands, Less Than Jake has never strayed away from its traditional sound or ways of making music. It's tricky, but they've mastered staying original while evolving with every record and "GNV FLA" is a prime example. "Everything around you influences you in one way or another so when we go to write a record we don't try to purposely go 'oh, I think this is what has kept us a band for so long' or 'what's the flavor of the month now? We have to sound like that.' We've just always written whatever comes out and just gone with that," says Schaub.
Less Than Jake plays Thursday at the Town Ballroom with Bomb the Music Industry, Big D and the Kids Table and Suburban Legends. Check out Less Than Jake at www.myspace.com/lessthanjake and www.lessthanjake.com.
Marli Lee McGarrah will be a senior at Buffalo Seminary.
Originally published by NeXt Correspondent.
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