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The Spring '99 issue of SP had a three part Jets To Brazil article including a Jawbreaker article by Mel C, an interview with Chris Daly, and the following interview with Blake, conducted in San Francisco October '98.

SP: First off I'd like to touch on the end of Jawbreaker a little bit. How did you feel about that? Was that kinda a group decision or was there one individual.
Blake: It was very much a group decision. Although I may have spearheaded the movement. We had a group meeting and it was decided.

SP: Do you think that would have happened if you had stayed on an indie? Was there a push or emphasis from Geffen?
Blake: It would have ended sooner. Which a lot of people don't understand about that band. We were gonna break up before we signed to Geffen. So being at Geffen got us to do another record, and then we broke up anyway. We were just putting off the inevitable.

SP: Do you see Jets as an extension to what you wanted to be doing in Jawbreaker, just with a different band name and different people playing, or do you see this as a totally different experience and doing totally different things?
Blake: It's totally new. Maybe it's similar in that I'm the writer, but the approach is totally different. It just feels like a totally different band. So I'm amazed at the way the songs are coming out. I don't know if Jawbreaker fans would enjoy Jets to Brazil.

SP: Yeah, I listened to that album, your vocals are very different on that. Is that something you were going for or had to do with your throat problem a while ago?
Blake: No, its something I wanted to do. Its how I want to sing. This is the most honest vocal recording I've ever done.

SP: Was Jets the first band you put together when you got back to New York?
Blake: Yeah I didn't want to do a band initially so I was just recording at home. It just came person by person. It wasn't intended to be a band. It just started as people playing music.

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SP: Did you go through a lot of people to get to this cast, or was this people you knew and you just said let's do it?
Blake: Not really. it began with Jeremy, our bass player, he and I met before when I was in Jawbreaker and we would just play together for fun. He was in another band and we would just play and we just ended up playing more and more. Then we got songs and it just kinda evolved into a band. We got Chris and he was great. So it came together pretty naturally.

SP: Were you looking forward to doing this. Did you miss the whole music industry stuff, band practices, writing songs?
Blake: No not at all. I wasn't looking to do that.

SP: Were you somewhat jaded by the whole music industry, maybe even making music itself, with the whole end of Jawbreaker and the Geffen overhang.
Blake: I don't know if I would say jaded, I was shocked. Like it was like I'd seen a lot, maybe too much and done a lot of playing, so it was more then I wanted to keep doing, but then as we started being a band it was wow this is like the first time. It's just fun to get psyched to play songs.

SP: Does this feel totally different then the beginning of Jawbreaker?
Blake: It's much more accelerated. You know we did an album right away.

SP: How does it feel doing your first tour and all of a sudden you're turning away a hundred people in Chicago, its gotta be kinda weird.
Blake: It is weird, but it's also Promise Ring. You know there are people who come that are interested in us. but we are definitely benefitting from the other bands.

SP: I'm sure you've seen quite a few people there to see you and have heard about the whole Jets to Brazil thing for a year or so and have been waiting to see what's become of it. I know people tonight were trying to get Jets to Brazil tickets not Promise Ring tickets. It's definitely the feel around here.
Blake: Yeah, hmmm well its cool, the only thing I resent is not being able to have like 10 person shows. Luckily we are playing every night, we're still becoming a live band.

SP: Do you guys miss the growing process and fun you had with Jawbreaker?
Blake: Yeah, but there was a lot of bad times with that too, but I think that kind of helped from that band, and gave it character.

SP: Are there other areas of music you can think of or that you would like to move into with Jets to Brazil or even with another project? It's almost like moving towards that Psychedelic Furs era - but there's certainly a different feel to it.
Blake: No, the only other thing is a soundtrack. I mean I haven't scored anyone's film yet. I have a sampler and I've been DJing for the last year. I'm not into electronica music, but the stuff I make is like for a film. It's real ambient. It couldn't really be in a club. I like dramatic soundtrack music. We have that Melotron and strings on the album and I'm totally into that.

SP: You write the songs, right? Do you consider the music to be similar to Jawbreaker?
Blake: Yeah I write the songs. and I guess the lyrics might be. That's the only thing I can see that would be consistent. I think they are more pop oriented songs. Like songs for songs sake, and I think lyrically they're stronger but that's my bias. Just that the writer's a few years older.

SP: What do you think you've learned about singing?
Blake: I'm into it. It's my favorite instrument by far and on this record I think I'm using my voice more then I ever have, there's no effects. It's mixed louder then any other record before, which is hairy. Some people might be totally repulsed by that. There's no doubling, no reverb. I don't know, its fresh I guess, and I always wanted to do that. I just couldn't figure out a voice that was natural for me, so you wouldn't hear some chicanery going on. So I think I've learned how to do that, but now I want to push it a little bit more. You're just always splitting the difference.

SP: When you were performing with Jawbreaker, when you sang live you were really really out there, do you know what I mean. It's like much more so then the records. You were very forceful, you know how you were live. and now that you are doing music that's not as rocking on stage you sing - you don't go nuts .
Blake: Oh I go nuts, its just, well I think I know where you're heading, and it's just I like to push the voice as far it can go before it breaks, I'm just doing that in different context, not screaming but I definitely go all the way every night. These songs are easier to sing in a way.

SP: Is Adam from Jawbreaker coming to one of the shows, maybe tonight?
Blake: Well Adam is in LA right now, but I talked to him and he might be here tomorrow, so yeah, I'm hoping he comes tomorrow, and Chris saw us in Chicago. We hung out. he's loving school, being an academic you know and playing some music.

SP: He was playing with Ben Weasel doing some drumming or something.
Blake: Ha ha, yeah hes liking it. He seems much happier not being in the life. He's definitely a scholar first and musician second.

SP: What did he think of the show?
Blake: Well I think he liked it. I don't know. I think he'll really like the record. I told him that. There's stuff on there that's very crisp. So I hope he does, he said it was very "rock".

SP: A real quick question about the lyrics. I listened to the lyrics, I wondered is there something to the lyrics are they writings? Is there a story with it or is it poetry-type writing? You hear songs like "Millions" and its like that's fuckin out there - it's great but its out there. It doesn't seem that there could be a story to that?
Blake: I think there is, there's definitely stories behind them. somebody wrote me an essay that was behind that song. Somebody wrote me about that song, a line by line break down of it. They were pretty right on the money which surprised me, but they're definitely abstract. But some of them are very specific. Like I had to call my family and apologize for the first song on the record. Growing up in the sixties speed and cocktail envirornment of Southern California - so I had to give them a disclaimer. Like I'm not attacking the whole family, just part of it.

SP: How does your family feel about this. have they always been supportive of it? Do they come out and check out the shows?
Blake: Yeah they are totally supportive. My dad bought me my first guitar, and I play my mom songs acoustically when I go out to New York, when I go out and visit her. They are really into a life in the arts - whatever that is, and I make money at it so that helps. I think if I had to ask them for money they might not be to into it. They never thought I'd make any money - I didn't either. I mean I had a job. but they were like as long as it pays your rent that's cool. That it can pay for itself is great. They're excited about it.

SP: Where do you live now?
Blake: Brooklyn.

SP: You moved there when you quit Jawbreaker? What were you doing when you moved back there?
Blake: I was reviewing games for CD roms magazine and I did freelance for a couple travel magazines and I wrote a couple pieces about the Bay Area actually - spots, sights, things like that, and I worked at a magazine as a receptionist for a while.

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SP: Did you just not pick up a guitar for a while? I think I saw a couple guitars of yours up at Univibe that you got rid of before you left.
Blake: Yeah I think I left one I had traded on - but I played a lot of keyboards and synthesizers. I'm trying to play as much synths as I can these days. I was making songs with a drum machine and synthesizer and sampler. I have tons of songs that are only for the synth - I don't think they are all that good. but I would obsessively do that all night. Just make up beats.

SP: You're like a home recording person right?
Blake: I guess. but I'm a hack. I have a lot of stuff but it's not releaseable.

SP: I mean you do the drums and the bass and guitars and things your self right?
Blake: Yeah I can do it. I do a rough cut.

SP: Now is some of that stuff like stuff that doesn't have anything to do with a band or would never come out, you just do it cause you have fun doing it? Do you ever use pieces of it, like for a Jets song?
Blake: Yeah there's like riffs and like little keyboard parts. There's some stuff in those that are worth salvaging and worth pulling out. Just so I wouldn't have spent those nights in total vain . My bedroom's all full of tapes and they're all unmarked. I work really fast and there's just tapes all over. I have a 4 track and an 8 track which sucks. I have a digital 8 track, an ADAT. I hate it. It's really tempremental. It's really expensive to maintain, to clean the heads on it. I really like analog, not because I'm into this gourmet sound of a warmer sound, but I think that's totally valid, but it's just easier to deal with and fix.

SP: What kind of 4 track?
Blake: Yamaha. I use that more then anything. I don't know the model number. It's used.

SP: And you have your own equipment?
Blake: Well I have a drum set and a sonic sampler which is a pretty fancy sampler. I got it used for like $1200 and I think it's already totally dated. People don't like them anymore. I like it though it takes a long time to really know how to use it.

SP: Are you going to do more keyboard stuff in the future?
Blake: I think piano yeah, I'm always aspiring to piano. It's going to be easier to get away with one key at a time, but I'm learning chords.

SP: You guys signed to Jade Tree. Are you guys anxious to get back to an indie? Was there major label interest?
Blake: Well I had to get out my contract with Geffen?

SP: You guys signed individually with Geffen right?
Blake: No, we were signed as a group, but everyone had to sign to get released. It took a little while and some finessing. They didn't know what they wanted really.

SP: Did they want to hear your new material?
Blake: Yeah. Yeah they did. Fortunately things were so fucked up over there, they were just throwing people overboard, so said fine you can go. Ittakes really long to do anything over there. I'm actually really grateful for them letting me go.

SP: Does it feel good to be back to an indie?
Blake: It's cool, but it's a lot of the same bullshit I've got to say. There's still a lot of the same stuff when you do a label. You have to do some stupid things.

SP: Like what?
Blake: Like press. I mean like Jade Tree is definitely going for it, you know. they want to do well.

SP: Well this could do very well for them...
Blake: Yeah I think they are taking it very seriously, they're prioritizing it.

SP: I think it's going to be an amazing thing.
Blake: They were there for us from the very beginning, which is cool. They were following the band.

SP: So if major label interest comes up is it something you are staying away from?
Blake: We're staying pretty far away...

SP: Wait a second, I heard that last time.
Blake: I know! Yeah I don't say that anymore. People ask me and I start to say no...but oh I can't really say that anymore can I. I cried wolf.

SP: I have a live videotape of you guys playing Chicago and you started off by saying "We heard some rumors that we were signing to a major label, that's crap and we're playing this song for that, we find that humorous".
Blake: Well that was way before there was any interest in that, but I don't know... but I did just get out of that so I'm not to into jumping back in.

SP: How do you feel about Jawbreaker making this huge splash and there's records selling on the internet for hundreds of dollars, there's people with 24 Hour Revenge Therapy tattoos on them, are you just freaking out?
Blake: Well I don't feel about that actually. I mean I'm glad people enjoy it. It was always late for us, when people had gotten into something we had done, it was when we had gotten over it. I guess it's really selfish to say as an artist, its kinda fucked to say "you didn't get here soon enough" but you know, that's what we always found. We'd be playing a new record and people would be, what is this? We want to hear the record we know, which is fair, and then a new record would come out and people would be you're so different we want to hear how you sounded on "Unfun" then the next one would come out and they'd be "what happened to the last stuff? That's what we want to hear. Its always that cycle.

SP: Well correct me if I'm wrong, but my favorite stuff was 24 Hour Revenge and you started playing those 2 years before the album came out and stopped playing them a year before it came out, now correct me if I'm wrong.
Blake: Yeah. Yeah I don't know, it seemed it even got more popular way after it came out.

SP: What's your favorite album?
Blake: I don't know. I guess 24 Hour is my most personal it's a more time and place album. It's very specific to living in Oakland.

SP: I saw you guys a couple times in Salt Lake City, and here, and it wasn't just a show, it was an experience, it was just amazing, so I'm really excited to see this. I know you felt that buzz with Jawbreaker shows, you had to, it was so obvious seeing you. Do you feel that way with this or maybe after the album comes out and people know the songs better?
Blake: It's weird, like sometimes I do, sometimes we can just get into a trance and we just have a great show, just a band experience. It's strange that we have these songs that we are really proud of, and people now kinda know them a little bit. They are just seeing a brand new band, so it's hard, it's a little strange but there's not an album yet so you don't have a common ground with it.

SP: Yeah, definitely a big buzz about it. I was excited to see the new record at Mordam today. I was like that's it. I like the poster.
Blake: That was Jason from Promise Ring did all the artwork.

SP: In doing a new band did you purposely try to get away from doing music that wouldn't be different from Jawbreaker?
Blake: There wasn't anything deliberate in the writing, we were just writing. I had songs and we just started playing and it changed when they started playing with me, cause they all came from other bands. A totally different scene. Peter from Lifetime was in the band, now we have Brian. We just didn't feel like we would collaborate all that well.

SP: But other then that, it's pretty much who you started out with then right? Chris and Jeremy?
Blake: Yeah it's always been the three of us and now we are playing with Brian, our second guitarist.

SP: Before this tour, you guys have only played in New York right?
Blake: We played in Europe with Promise Ring. I'm not sure what's happening with going to Japan and I've never been to Japan.

SP: Are you excited about that?
Blake: Yeah I'd love to go to Japan. yeah. Europe was great for us, because no one knew where we were from total anonyminity.

SP: You guys are starting out on a pretty big level. Do you guys foresee this band starting at this level going extreme, where do you see it going, where do you want it to go?
Blake: I don't know, I can't anticipate. It's like this is like the level that Jawbreaker was at, so that's really strange the way it's drawing large crowds.

SP: Would you be happy playing colosseums if it came down to it?
Blake: I don't think you'll see that. I'm as sloppy as I was in Jawbreaker so there's a lot of rough edges. Hopefully people are forgiving enough to still get into it.

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SP: Is it weird tonight to be playing in San Francisco?
Blake: Yeah I'm pretty nervous, terrified actually. It's scary.

SP: It's kinda cool to just come back and see some friends and have two back to back shows sold out. People freaking out because they cant get tickets. It's gotta be great to come back through.
Blake: Oh yeah that's great. It's just the expectations. I mean we're just a new band. Our first show was Philadelphia and this tour has about a month still to go. It's longer then any Jawbreaker show. Two months and like 38 or 40 shows. It takes a couple weeks to get used to it, but its been two weeks already and I'm still up and down.

SP: Is the press all over you and stuff?
Blake: Yeah we have a publicist at Jade Tree. You see that's what I'm saying, it's kinda like Geffen. I never had a publicist at Shredder. Well, Mel was the publicist, but we also do interviews for zines at shows.

SP: Do you think Jade Tree is a great place to be and to stay?
Blake: I think we all were affiliated major labels with our last bands and we decided that's not the best place to do our next record. We just thought it would be uncomfortable to do our first record. It would be better to get on an indie label and do what we wanted and have someone who would be behind us. They are more hard working then any major out there. It's amazing the work the two of them get done. They put all their effort in 'em - they put out bands they 100% like.

SP: Would you guys consider a bigger label in the future?
Blake: We just got off one without having to do anything really. In order to do a record we had to get off that, otherwise we would have to have do a record with Geffen. For the time being Jade Tree is doing the best anyone could for us right now, but I don't know I would never say never, but that's not where we are looking now. We are psyched about doing a second one for Jade Tree now.

SP: I think you guys are going to be faced with all these issues.
Blake: Yeah well maybe, but now it would be like well, we just aren't that interested. I would definitely love to do a 7 inch even.

SP: I was wondering when you recorded the new album with Jay Robins, like what kind of studio did you use?
Blake: 24 track.

SP: So like how do you acclimate cause you were always with Jawbreaker going into the studio and trying to get things to come out and it was kinda tuff and I was just wondering about recording now - do you feel more in control of the process?
Blake: I felt more in control this record.

SP: Is that from the experience of recording yourself?
Blake: It's knowing a little bit of what you are looking for, what you want, but also being with Jay, cause Jay studied our band. He came to our rehearsals. He'd have a lot of cool ideas. We talked about it a lot. We worked pretty fast, but he'd help a lot.

SP: You've recorded a lot - do you feel if you were in charge of recording your own band you'd feel comfortable with that?
Blake: No I don't think so. I don't think I actually could engineer without getting really bored. I could produce, but I also think a good producer has to be a engineer first so I don't know. I just know how I want it to come out as opposed to what knobs to do what. Jay works in the studio so he knows the board.

SP: What city did you record at?
Blake: Memphis, we were there for 12 days.

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