By Nicholas Jason Lopez
On Dec. 13, 2019, Chicago’s The JAB released their first single “Riot,” off their upcoming debut LP, ‘Consume,’ due out Feb. 4, 2020 via Medicine/The Orchard, a Sony-owned company.
The JAB consists of Frontman Jam Alker, backed by Tom Stukel, Terry Byrne, Ryan Herrick, and Alex Piazza. Described as “the darkest feel-good record in years,” the LP seeks to bring more of the bluesy, post-classic rock and modern sludge rock Alker made a name for himself on the Chicago circuit with early on in his music career.
The Music Bugle recently had the opportunity to chat with Alker about the new single, LP and other topics.
Music Bugle – Can you describe the creative process of putting together your upcoming LP ‘Consume’?
Jam Alker – For the most part, I had seeds of songs, which evolved once I brought them to the rest of the band. The original point of inspiration for our songs comes spontaneously a lot of the time, but it never happens the same way twice. When the songs are in their early form, we don’t have a formula. We go where it authentically takes us and then we have group writing sessions that are a bit more calculated and more of a process. When it was time to record, we incubated for a month in Lexington, Kentucky, so we could spend all that time focusing on the music without the distractions of home. We worked with Duane Lundy of The Lexington Recording Company, who did a great job of hearing our intentions behind each song and making the message even stronger.
Music Bugle – What made you guys go with “Riot” as the first single from the record?
Jam Alker – “Riot” is our mission statement. We felt that it was an appropriate song to introduce ourselves to the world.
Music Bugle – Could you describe what the scene in Chicago is like in terms of music? What kind of people come out to the shows?
Jam Alker – It’s a very diverse musical scene and everyone has their crowd and place to go.
Music Bugle – Which musical influences would you say specifically helped shape the music on ‘Consume’?
Jam Alker – Many of our influences were part of the genesis and proliferation of rock-and-roll. Those influences range from the earliest Delta blues to the rock-and-roll of the 60s and 70s to Motown and Stax to the original outlaw country artists.
Music Bugle – What’s your favorite and least favorite part of touring?
Jam Alker – Favorite: meeting our fans and seeing new places. Least favorite: attempting to maintain healthy diet and sleep habits.
Music Bugle – Which feelings do you look to convey most through your music?
Jam Alker – Three songs, “Broken Beautifully,” “Analeeza” and “Genuflect” all reflect unhealthy projections of love – a form of attachment that feeds into the way we seek satisfaction from the outside. “Good to Bad” and “Dank Mississippi” talk about our overwhelming desire for redemption and salvation and how that desire can be exploited by “holy” men who are not so holy; “saviors” who are not selfless. Through all of this, we make the connection between consumerism and addiction – they both stem from the urge to reach outside ourselves to find happiness. The common thread through all of the songs is the question, What is happiness? How do you find it? What role does suffering play in our growth? And in a society that celebrates consumerism and individualism, how do we find connection?
Music Bugle – What’s your most meaningful song or set of lyrics?
Jam Alker – Not to sound cliche, but every one of the songs has deep meaning behind it, so it’s impossible to choose one.
Music Bugle – What are your future plans beyond early 2020?
Jam Alker – Stay tuned – we’ll announce a tour in 2020.
Music Bugle – What pains you most about the music industry and how can it be fixed?
Jam Alker – We are at an unprecedented time in history where so much is available and the market is oversaturated. Artists have more responsibility to steer their own careers. The “oversaturation” could either steer you into new areas or swallow you whole.
Music Bugle – What would you say is the biggest lesson learned in your time as a group?
Jam Alker – How to be clear, effective and conscious communicators with one another and therefore with our audience.