At this hour, details are sketchy and incomplete about New York’s Jeanseburg. OFFICIALLY, here’s what we know: they’re a noise-pop, alternative rock band from New York. They’ve released one EP on Bandcamp on March 24th of this year, and two teaser tracks that preceded it. The EP itself is aptly titled EP. No further details are available. Not even a drivers’ license photo! While we’ve been spinning Jeanseburg since the first teaser tracks hit the aether, we realized there were scant few details about the band, its origins and influences, and plans for the future. What would explain the swirls of distortion and melody that make up Jeanseburg?
We could have approached this like CNN, by making stuff up and calling it an “exclusive!”, but thought it might be wiser instead to go to the source. We tracked down members of Jeanseburg and made them give up the goods, though we may have forgotten to read them their Miranda rights before proceeding.
DKFM: Who ARE you people? This beautiful music didn’t just make itself!
Franco Garcia (guitar): Hi there. First of all we would like to say a big thanks to DKFM and Greg for finding us and playing our songs in their radio station. It has been a very rewarding and unexpected reception since we are still figuring out our approach to the music and developing the Jeanseburg sound. We made these tracks in a very low budget setup with some basic recording software. We decided to post the songs online because they are the closest realization of the sounds we have been developing thus far.
Odanis Colón (guitar/vocals): As of now, we are a three-piece band from The Bronx, New York. Initially, we made the Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and Twitter page just for the heck of it. I was not anticipating a reaction from anyone, really. It was surprising enough for me to see some of our mutual friends say all sorts of nice things about it. Thank you for playing our music.
FG: You finding us and seeing other people enjoy the music has been extremely gratifying. It makes us more motivated to take the Jeanseburg project further.
DKFM: How did Jeanseburg come about?
FG: Jeanseburg simply started as an exchange of ideas between Odanis and I. Conversations of musicians, bands, and songs eventually turned into chats about tone, texture, and sonic landscapes. Then finally songs and recordings were created. I met Odanis a few years ago, probably sometime in 2010 through mutual friends. However long before that, we both used to be involved in the underground post-hardcore NYC music scene of the noughties when we were younger. The scene was essentially a melting pot of hardcore, punk, emo, and metal.
OC: We always went to the same show. We used to pass each other between sets.
FG: As the decade ended, so did the heyday of that genre. As our generation grew up so did everyone’s taste in music.
OC: After a bit of playful bickering and Frolicking about local gigs inside small New York City venues, I finally withdrew from the scene completely and decided to take part in something further abstract; no doubt very noisy and profoundly distorted. Franco and I started jamming soon afterward and that was that.
FG: I tend to be on the lookout for the newest music and honestly for a while my interest in guitar–based music peaked. The last guitar albums that I enjoyed were St Vincent – Strange Mercy and Converge – Axe to Fall. I thought the most interesting music being made in the past 3 or so years has been electronica and hip hop. Artists like the Clams Casino and Jai Paul have been ushering in this new wave of music that’s so interesting to me. So as a guitarist I found inspiration through exploring the past.
OC: Yea, I get most of my inspiration through admiring the previous eras. I’ve always been into the 90s alternative; I think most of your listeners would agree: “They just don’t music like this anymore.” Even during my post-punk phasing, I held Dinosaur Jr and Yo La Tengo as reference. It was not until I had discovered Explosions in the Sky that I began to use an excess amount of guitar effects; I thought they did some pretty neat stuff with their pedals.
FG: Personally, the most compelling thing that reignited my interest in guitar was the shoegaze genre. It explores another factor of music that I haven’t really considered before, “timbre”. Coming from a scene in which complicated riffs and shifting time signatures ruled, the idea of using the guitar as a layering tool, instead of a harmonic or melodic instrument, opened up new possibilities to me. In essence, I think the Jeanseburg sound is a response to the type of music we associated in our early years. It’s a reaction. We are doing a lot of things in the opposite manner that we used to do before, by aiming for simpler tunes with a more meticulous sound. I also personally feel like there’s a lack of that exciting rock n’ roll energy that I used to feel. However, I do find the band Savages extremely compelling in bringing some of that back. The lack of excitement and energy within ourselves droves us to experiment with music and Jeanseburg was what came about. I do hope that in the future when Jeanseburg performs live that we could produce the same visceral energetic experience I felt going to post-hardcore shows. I hope to express a similar intensity and emotion but with different music that is new and compelling to me.
DKFM: I could pile on a lot of hyperbole about what this music sounds like, but ultimately it’s about the sound itself. How would YOU describe your sound?
OC: I was going for a kind of musical turbulence that’ll pull you in. It’s a catchy pop rhythm with colorfully distorted layers. For the alert listener, I would add that it sounds very saturated; blurry, frizzy and clouded with reverb. The manipulation of guitar–noise–feedback is something we’ve procured over time we spent playing post–hardcore. For some, it’s hard to notice that connection, but it is indeed part of the equation. For now, that’s how I see it. We have plans to evolve our music into something more sinister, though we’ll probably maintain its “pop”.
FG: I could write for hours on what I would like Jeanseburg to sound like but to keep it short I would describe it as a vibe. Once you get past the lo-fi, it can put listeners into a heady space in which they can groove to.
DKFM: Jeanseburg, and actress Jean Seberg. What’s the connection (or inspiration)?
OC: Yes, we got the name from the actress and we pronounce it the same way. As we were coming up with an idea for a song, the title of one of her earlier films had come up. I always liked the concept of naming a band after someone. So I chose her name. We just altered the spelling. At first, we weren’t sure about keeping it. But it stuck around for so long we became accustomed to it.
DKFM: Day jobs? What do you do when you’re not making music?
FG: I just recently secured an office job in the affordable housing industry. It’s been great so far. Hopefully I can find a way to balance my job with the creative endeavors that I want to pursue.
OC: Living in NYC is very expensive and competitive. I continue to do a lot of entry-level stuff as I am still in the process of finishing school. I have a huge interest in Psychology and I plan on pursuing it further.
DKFM: What musical touchstones do you reference in your work? What artists inspired you to start a band?
FG: The one band that we always look up to is MBV. We are constantly trying to figure out how they get their sound and put our own spin on it. As of now the music is relatively simple. It is all about experimenting with tones and textures at this stage. So once we get a handle on that out we will start to incorporate other influences.
OC: I am actively inspired by many. But fundamentally, Jeanseburg stems from Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine (in that order).
DKFM: Plans to start playing live, or do you prefer the comforts of the studio?
FG: I think we both started to write music together just for the sake of getting back to playing live. It’s just that we are still trying to figure out the band; hence the early recordings.
OC: Our friend, Isaac, has been jamming with us on drums lately. He is great. He is adding this whole new dynamic to the music. After we become settled, live shows will soon be underway.
DKFM: The relative anonymity you’ve labored under thus far, has that been a conscious choice, or…?
FG: We were just so focused on the music; we forgot about all the other stuff.
In a just world, we have reached the end of anonymity for Jeanseburg starting… NOW.
Find Jeanseburg on Twitter.
Jeanseburg Facebook page.
Actual Jeanseburg music for streaming and purchase: Bandcamp.
And video, for those unable to listen to music without pictures: Jeanseburg YouTube.