Silver Spring stalwarts The Jet Age have a brand new release in "Love" on the shelves later this month, and leading up to its debut, TVD chatted with Eric Tischler, the band's lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for some thoughts on inspiration of the vinyl variety—and beyond.
"I don't think I could've made in "Love" without vinyl. A collection of songs that asks you to sit down with the sleeve and pay attention? That's a relic of the vinyl age; could you have such an idea today without vinyl's example?
in "Love" is the story of a man and a woman, each otherwise spoken for (he's married with kids; she's got a long-term boyfriend), how and why they fall in love, and the reactions of (and commentary from) those around them. In other words, it's an examination of love, fidelity, and the value of family and personal happiness, and it takes 10 songs to tell the story so, right there, hitting "shuffle" on iTunes brings you diminishing returns (although I wrote the songs so they could stand alone; the test is each one's gotta be suitable for a mix tape, but I guess that's for another blog). As a result, it's a record that asks you to sit down with the lyric sheet and listen (the lyrics are color coded to make it easier to figure out who's "saying" what, when); again, something many of us first learned to do with vinyl.
Even the sound of the record is an attempt to capture the meaty sound of vinyl. My studio is state-of-the-art 1984. The kick drum figures prominently and you don't REALLY get the mix until you're sitting in front of some speakers that can handle it. The record sounds thick and muscular, and deliberately so; it's the sound I grew up with.
As a kid, it felt like my family listened to Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life every weekend; the changing of sides was a ritual unto itself, and the ebb and flow of the record was intrinsic to that. My music always comes before my lyrics, and that's because I need to sequence the record first, establish that same type of ebb and flow.
I remember vividly the thrill of picking up The Kids Are Alright on vinyl: Gatefold, inner sleeves like film cans, and a glossy, heavy stock book for the liner notes. You can't beat it. When we designed the package for in "Love," our designer, Jeffrey Everett of El Jefe Design, was a little concerned about making sure the lyrics were readable; we did some brainstorming, and I think we came up with a package that lives up to vinyl's example (except, y'know, it's smaller).
It all sounds a bit fetishistic when I type it down (and that's after I cut the part about slavishly hunting down Duran Duran 12"s), but then, so's music, right? A somewhat idiosyncratic passion that's personal, intimate. It's why I buy records. And why I make them."
The Jet Age - It Could Be Brand New (Mp3)
(From the brand new in "Love")
The Jet Age - O, Calendar (Mp3)
(From 'What Did You Do During The War, Daddy?')