Tom: Could you give me a little bit of an introduction to the band for some of our readers that may not be real familiar with you guys?
Andrew: My name is Andrew and I play guitar and sing at the same time (isn't that crazy). The Jazz June is from Kutztown, PA, and we have been together for roughly four years.
Tom: So what is the music scene like in your hometown? Are there a lot of good promoters, shows and bands? Or do you find that you have to travel to other scenes to get shows locally, like Philly and Lancaster?
Andrew: Kutztown is cool for shows. There are always a lot of people and friends who come out and make the show a big insane party; however, our town is infected with the fat cop disease and we are rarely able to have shows. Sometimes we play at a house or space but it is usually a one-time thing. The surrounding area loves hardcore, which is fine, but it is not so good for a pretentious indie rock band such as the Jazz June.
Tom: What do you have planned for the future? Do you have any specific goals in mind as a band?
Andrew: We are actually planning to take over the world starting this fall. We are going to tour this fall all over the US and hopefully Europe. As far as the band goes we are just continuing on our quest to make eclectic music that catches people's attention and makes them think and completely enjoy that 60 minutes.
Tom: Who do you think your prime audience is? What other bands would you like to go out on tour with?
Andrew: I think our prime audience is the indie rock scene, but we never limit ourselves. We love to play any show: hardcore, metal, whatever. We have played with all sorts of crazy bands. It really keeps things diversified and interesting. We all really just love music and want to share ours with everybody. We would love to tour with Built to Spill. We just played with them at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA, and they are amazing. We are also trying to get Jets to Brazil to go on tour with us, but we'll have to see about that one. If I had my choice I would get Ride and Drive Like Jehu back together and tour the world with them.
Tom: So, you have a new album coming out. Could you tell me about it? When you recorded it, who you recorded it with... Is it similar to your other albums? If not, what makes this new album different?
Andrew: We took off from September to December to focus on writing the album, and it was completed last January. Our new album is going to be called "The Medicine" and is due out on May 23rd. I would like to think this album is a huge progression from the last. We always strive to make each new release a new entity. "The Medicine" was recorded at Inner Ear Studios by J. Robbins. The sound quality is 100 times better, and thanks to J. it is masterfully recorded and mixed. He is the guru of recording. The album also has many different feels to it. We have everything from a dub reggaeish song, to a brit-popesque song to a fast-hard-short song. We do a little more jamming on parts (not like Phish or anything) but we definitely looked to our rock ancestors for inspiration on this one. I would like to believe that it has something for everyone. We added a lot of guitar overdubs, effects, keyboards and on one song a trumpet. I hope people enjoy it as much as we enjoyed writing it.
Tom: So what's it been like working with Initial Records? Do you feel that they are really getting your music to a lot of people who otherwise would not have heard it?
Andrew: Initial rules. Andy has been super cool about everything and has tried to help us out as much possible. I know he really likes our music so it helps with his motivation to help us expand and diversify. Initial has ads everywhere so I think a lot of people will at least know what is going on with the band. He also does promo in some stores like Hot Topics and all over the web so yes, more people will hear our music because of Initial.
Tom: Since you guys travel all over the place what do you think the moral climate of America is? Do you think it's getting better, worse?
Andrew: I would like to say better; however, there are a lot of people who are only living for the moment and not worrying how it effects other people. I see a lot guys following their sexual impulses over their hearts which is disturbing. On the other hand, there are still a lot of genuinely nice people in the world that just get sidetracked from themselves. I believe people are initially good, but they just get confused and swayed by popular opinion too easily. I think people know what the "right thing" to do is, they just get self absorbed and greedy.
Tom: Where do you get your own personal morals?
Andrew: I have a certain set of beliefs that I try to live in harmony with, whereby I try to find the truth in every situation in life. Like I said, I know what is the right thing to do and I try to do it.
Tom: Do any members of the band hold any specific spiritual beliefs?
Andrew: I can't really speak for the band as a whole on this one. I think Dan (bassist) agrees with a lot of the Eastern philosophies but I could be completely wrong. I have a thing called the Church of Lowdown that I visit on a daily basis. It begins with clear, rational thoughts and involves an intellectual, emotional and spiritual relationship with life. I never put a name on it but I feel it intensely.
Tom: What is your opinion of religion in general?
Andrew: I agree with a lot of the ideas, but I think there are also a lot of scare tactics used to coerce "non-believers" into not questioning some valid points that they may not agree on within religion. Also, I really don't agree with people who think that their way is the only way to spiritual enlightenment. The fact is that no one really knows who is right. I would be ecstatic to see a human religion that doesn't persecute, or point fingers, or damn anyone who may choose or choose not to believe in a higher force.
Tom: What are your feelings on Christianity?
Andrew: Like I said I wouldn't tell anyone they are wrong for believing something that they feel in their heart. I agree with many of the ideals and ideas within Christianity. The fact of the matter is, if God is what it is supposed to be, it won't care if someone believes in a different form of what is essentially the same power, or being (or however you wish to describe it). I think Christianity is great for Christians who really believe it. I would never look down on anyone for their spiritual beliefs. I also know that not everyone is a "crazy damning Christian." There is always going to be someone who misrepresents what is supposed to be a loving message.
Tom: What are your own personal beliefs about God?
Andrew: I believe there is definitely something other than the concrete beneath my feet, and my fingers and this computer. Life is too perfect to come from nothing but coincidence. I have a belief and connection with another power, call it God, call it Mohammed, call it whatever you would like. I try to feel it and respect it on a completely personal level.
Tom: What are your feelings on bands such as Pedro the Lion, Ghoti Hook, MxPx, Juliana Theory and Five Iron Frenzy, just to name a few? Bands that many people feel don't belong in the "punk rock" scene due to their faith in Jesus Christ? For example, many times I read in zines, hear at shows, or see on message boards (Jade Tree Records' message board especially, regarding Pedro the Lion) how the message of Christianity does not belong in "punk rock." Now most of the bands I mentioned don't try to slam anything down anyone's throat, and just want to opportunity to play with the bands they love. But do you have any feelings on this?
Andrew: Punk rock means that you are true to yourself and the people you love. You're not supposed to screw people over and bleed them for their money. It is a reaction to the b.s. that the mainstream music industry has portrayed. Airbrushed images of hot dudes and sexy babes singing music they didn't write. A fake industry created by a bunch of businessmen and marketing geniuses. Show me the part of religion that goes against any of the things I just mentioned, and then I will agree with the idea that religion belongs in this form of music that comes from the soul of the individual.
Tom: If you could bring one message to the kids in America, what would it be?
Andrew: Be good, respect people and never grow up.