Photo courtesy of Jet Black.
If you’ve ever dreamed of life as a rock n’ roll band, presumably the big house, five cars, and superstar ways never faded. If you really are in a rock n’ roll band, however, as Canadian alt-rockers Jet Black see it, the reality gets a little ho-hum. The eminent stage high sinks when daylight shows an average, ordinary face, yet it’s that crazy spiral of energy that keeps these musical gamblers on their heels.
“The vicious cycle of daily life can get very boring after a while,” the band explains to BreakThru Radio. “Hence the title of our last record, Escape Measures. On the other hand, we try to constantly discover new bands and keep ourselves informed on a lot of topics. Our rehearsing space is near a stable, and we are practicing two to three times a week at least.”
Jet Black took its groove from the alternative rock trajectory of the ‘90s, a decade where mainstream all-American sound thrived while, simultaneously, a divergent subgenre of punk wove its way through seedy underground nightclubs in New York and L.A. to record stores worldwide. The clash between the two was a sort of artistic utopia, creating a wide range of noise and a diverse line-up of creators. For this French quartet from Quebec, though the terrain nowadays may not be as obviously motley, there lies a similar undercurrent, which they aim to traverse in their movement.
“Where there’s a mainstream, there’s a counterculture,” Jet Black points out. “Right now, the “90s-influenced alt-rock sub-genre” is something quite unconventional. At the same time, the few people who are really enjoying this kind of music are dedicated about it. Bands like Rival Schools, The Life And Times, Teenage Fanclub, Nada Surf and Autolux, for instance, are bands that inspired us not necessarily only for their music, but also for the fact that they kept playing a style of music which is influent and is not mandatory made to fit the criterions of the mass demands or to fit the ”coolness standards” elaborated by some elite musical medias.”
Together since 2008, Jet Black consists of three men (guitarists Francis Berthelot and Philippe St-Laurent, and drummer Jean-Philippe Laforge) and a kick-ass lady on bass (Stephanie Vezina), and they began with a mission to not only accomplish great sonic moments in their work, but to achieve their success through their own means and under their own terms. For that reason, they embraced the “DIY ethic,” which shouldn’t insinuate they’ve started a PR campaign or anything too sophisticated; it simply means they make their own records, and bring them to the people.
Describes the quartet, “There’s no such thing as business in Jet Black. Sure there are some little things we’ve got to take care of, but nothing too important to be forced to separate business from the art. The musical accomplishment and personal achievement is what really matters in the band. The rest is what we could call “operational necessities” (i.e. book this, pay that, etc.)… We have a very precise artistic ideal and we always strive to do as much as possible, if not everything, by ourselves.”
Currently, the rockers are lining up show dates for the summer to promote the release of Escape Measures, which came out in October on their label, Dryland. They’re also working on music for a second LP, which they aim to record during the winter. All that, and a maybe little paperwork too, to keep them busy during those slow days, but don’t expect to hear their music on any Converse commercials coming up.
“Jet Black is by no means a brand or anything,” they comment when asked if they had an ideology behind them. “Any brand that chooses Jet Black as an endorser of their product is really making a big marketing mistake!”