The Piqued Jacks are a passionate, powerful and poly chromatic alternative/funk-rock band (of brothers) who have been doing their thing for quite sometime already. Now that they have had some time on their hands to write and record – they have gotten a little release entitled “Just A Machine” an EP that will take the band ever so further into the music scene. Bassist/backing vocalist littleladie discusses the EP and some insight into the band themselves.
AAM Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Piqued Jacks, and how long the band has been together.
littleladle: Hi everybody, I am littleladle, a clumsy big-haired boy. In Piqued Jacks I play the bass, I do backing vocals and I flail on the stage. We’ve been together as a band since 2006, but we’ve been together as a band of brothers since the dawn of time.
AAM Tell us the brief history of your band.
littleladle: Four guys were born in the same small town in Italy, just over twenty years ago. They immediately became friends, then brothers, then they found the perfect way to express their special chemistry: music. At first “to rehearse” meant “make noise, make the neighbours angry and shoot stupid 10-seconds videos”, but after a couple of years the passion for music prevailed.
Between 2010 and 2011 we recorded two EPs, in 2012 we got in touch with the Grammy Nominated producer Brian Lanese and we went to Los Angeles to record our third (and latest) work with him, “Just a Machine”. In January 2013 the album came out and took us to SXSW in Austin, then to Rock in Roma (before Atoms For Peace) and Marea Festival in Italy. This October we moved to Austin, where we immediately started our running Texan tour to promote “Just a Machine” in the US.
AAM Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?Are there any local bands you could recommend?
littleladle: Right now we live in Austin, Texas, and here the local scene is completely full of musicians, that’s crazy and very challenging. Some of them are really talented, like our new, smashing friends “Knights” (http://music.knightsofficial.com/). But since we’ve just moved from Italy, we must also mention our favorite band out there: the mind-f***ing “Under The Bed” (http://underthebed.bandcamp.com/).
AAM What type of band are you?
littleladle: We describe ourselves as a powerful, passionate and polychromatic alternative/funk-rock band. We transmit energy, we do it because we love it, and we can make everybody dance, from grannies to kids.
AAM Why did you want to name the band Piqued Jacks? What does it symbolize and represent for the band?
littleladle: One day the bass slipped off my hands, and I dropped it on the floor. The jack in the input got bent and, once pulled out, looked like an erect penis. We liked the way it happened, so natural and funny that we decided to make reference to that episode in an implicit way. “Piqued” means “interested in something”, and our jack is interested in music with a spontaneous nature. It’s more serious than a sexual allusion, you know.
AAM Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
littleladle: Our major musical influences are The Mars Volta, Incubus, QOTSA, The Killers and Biffy Clyro, but everything we listen and we like has an influence on us, both from the underground and the mainstream worlds. Our non-musical influence are the Ninja Turtles.
AAM What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
littleladle: There are no main themes, we talk about what we live and what we feel. For example, in “Just a Machine” we approached ecological and humanitarian themes (“Welcome to the Future”, “Tourist of an Apocalypse”), along with topics such as happiness (“Youphoric?!), delusion (“Amusement Park”), monsters (“Blackie”) and love (“My Kite”). The common aspect is the imagery we use to talk about those themes, that turns simple, everyday matters in metaphors or stories you can interpret in your own way.
AAM Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
littleladle: Of course we do, the songs can grow out of jam sessions as well as bass’ or piano’s or guitar’s or drum’s parts which we develop together. This process is collective and free, and most of the times we start it improvising. When something good comes out, we feel it: we don’t decide to make music, it comes. Once we have that something, we work on the atmosphere we want to give to the song, trying to build it in many different ways. From this point onwards, there isn’t a specific path we follow, because everytime it’s a new juxtaposition of ideas, sounds, experiments and lyrics that could finish in a day, or could evolve for months.
AAM Your released your EP Just a Machine, how has it been received by the public/media? What’s new in the recording of your music?
littleladle: The record has been well-received by the Italian press, and got great reviews from the US one. People loved it everywhere it has been played, making us really proud and happy of our work. We also had to print it again!
AAM. What are your dreams and goals?
littleladle: Since we started to work hard and believe strongly in our project, our goals came closer to our dreams. We don’t want to be famous or something, our goal is to communicate to people what we feel when we make and play music. And we want to do it as our job, because that would be our best satisfaction ever. Obviously, thre are dreams that we don’t consider as goals, like playing at Wembley Stadium or hangin’ out with Jack White.
AAM. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
littleladle: The way we make music, so spontaneous and free, the personal energy we put in it and
the continuous crossover we make with other genres, exploring music as a whole. Plus, we do our best to be professional in every occasion, taking care of every aspect of our music (stage clothes, artworks, connections with fans, merchandise, etc.). We think that they should be interested because our music represents our simple and powerful story, because it is something new and totally genuine…and that’s rare. Our background is very simple and pure, our music is the result of those things. Thanks to this, with our passionate live shows we can really and naturally captivate not only people’s attention, but even their souls’.
AAM. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
littleladle: You should visit our SoundCloud page (https://soundcloud.com/piquedjacks), there you can find all our official releases along with b-sides or extra and free-downloadable songs (if you prefer live versions, just go to our YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/fourPiquedJacks).
To buy our stuff, choose what you prefer: Bandcamp (http://piquedjacks.bandcamp.com/), iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/it/artist/piqued-jacks/id410878655) or Spotify. Wanna save the Earth with our T-shirts? Need a “rescue capsule” for your space missions? Here’s our Official Store (http://www.piquedjacks.com/#!store/c1axk).
AAM. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
littleladle: We are playing in every city of Texas focusing on our latest EP “Just a Machine”, but we’ve been working on new songs and ideas since June. Once we finish this tour (January 2014) we’ll start developing a defined concept for a new album, with a new image for the whole band and our whole world.
AAM. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
littleladle: The intense feeling of listening to heart-made music.
AAM. Any final words of wisdom?
littleladle: We don’t think we are wise enough, three weeks ago we got our van towed away for two consecutive days. We can give a little, fundamental advice: come to see us playing live; even if you are not interested, we’ll make you Piqued.