With a mix of complex, blistering riffs and structured songwriting, Seattle’s Just Like Vinyl provide a quirky yet somewhat focused rock sound on their latest album ‘Black Mass.’
Formed by Thomas Erak after his old band (The Fall of Troy) called it a day in 2010. Erak has gone to create a partnership with vocalist/guitarist Jake Carden and after their debut release, Just Like Vinyl; joined by Henry Batts and drummer Jay Beaman, have now released their sophomore record on Superball Music.
With diverse influences such as Nirvana, Led Zepplin, At The Drive-In and Metallica, ‘Black Mass’ is a well-rounded record that delivers bold guitar riffs in abundance.
Already Hard recently caught up with Jake Carden from band to discuss ‘Black Mass,’ being compared to The Fall of Troy, working with Twin Atlantic’s Sam McTrusty and more.
Already Heard: Could you introduce yourself and your role in Just Like Vinyl?
Jake: Jake Carden – guitars/vocals/songwriter/producer.
AH: You’re just about to release your new record ‘Black Mass.’ How has the bands sound evoled from your 2010 self-titled release?
Jake: ‘Black Mass’ is more cohesive and has more of a band “sound” to it. It is also consistently heavier that the self-titled LP.
AH: For new listeners how would you describe Just Like Vinyl and ‘Black Mass’?
Jake: I would call it a weird, original, heavy rock record, to keep it simple. I think it’s more fair to let people listen and make their own comparisons/determinations about the sound.
AH: I understand you and Thomas work closely when writing songs. Could you describe how a Just Like Vinyl song comes together?
Jake: It usually starts with either myself or Thomas coming to rehearsal with 1 or 2 riffs. From there, we jam on them and the other will add parts and ideas. We just keep swirling it all around and evolving the initial idea until we feel like we have a song. It’s very collaborative and organic.
AH: For this record you’ve joined Superball Music. What attracted you to the label?
Jake: We liked a lot of the records/bands that Superball had put out, particularly Oceansize and …Trail Of The Dead. We also had a friend that worked there and was interested in us from the get go. After initially meeting, we just really liked everyone we met and felt it was the right home for our music. They have been awesome to us.
AH: ‘Black Mass’ was self-produced. Do you think this decision allowed more freedom when recording the album?
Jake: Absolutely. We wanted to maintain the rawness of the songs when transferring them from the rehearsal room to the studio. I think we achieved that quite well.
AH: One of the key tracks on ‘Black Mass’ is ‘Walk You Home’ and features Sam McTrusty of Twin Atlantic. How did that collaboration happen?
Jake: Twin Atlantic was on the last TFOT tour and discussions about collaborating began there. When we were writing ‘Black Mass’ we knew we wanted to feature Sam on a song. As soon as we wrote “Walk You Home” we knew it was the one. Sam killed it.
AH: With Thomas being known for The Fall of Troy, how does the band differ in comparison to that band?
Jake: Most obviously, with two guitars and two songwriters the sound is a blend of styles and influences. Of course there will be certain similarities between JLV and TFOT in some of the writing/execution , as TFOT very accurately displays Thomas’s guitar style. Adding my influences and style (very different from Thomas) and finding where we meet in the middle is an awesome journey. I think we have inspired each other to expand our playing and writing, and the music that JLV makes is the result.
AH: Has it been difficult to somewhat distance yourself from The Fall of Troy?
Jake: Not for us. I think that has been more of a problem for TFOT fans. We understand that we are a new band, and a different band. We just continue to create the music that comes naturally for us. Other opinions and comparisons are on anyone who wants to make them. It doesn’t bother us. We are fortunate to have that fan base paying attention to what we are doing.
AH: How have fans from that band reacted to Just Like Vinyl?
Jake: For the most part, I think quite positively. There’s always going to be a few haters, but that doesn’t bother us. We respect everyone’s right to express their opinion. Again, we just feel fortunate to have people paying attention.
AH: How do you think old and new JLV fans will react to ‘Black Mass’ and how do want them to react?
Jake: So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. We feel blessed and thankful.
AH: I understand you’re going to be touring in the coming months. What can fans expect from a JLV show?
Jake: JLV shows are super high energy and often sporadic, as we do not write set lists. We feel the vibe amongst ourselves and the crowd and choose songs on the fly according to the overall feeling in the room. We are ALWAYS full on balls out – that’s how rock n’ roll works.
AH: Any final words to close the interview?
Jake: Much love to everyone who has supported us, and to everyone who will be supporting us as we push toward the future. Being able to make music together and share it with the world is the greatest thing we can imagine. We are humbled by, and grateful to, the amount of people who are making it possible for us to do this.
‘Black Mass’ by Just Like Vinyl is available now on Superball Music.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)