In October, we got on the phone with Jackson Katz of Brutus VIII, Slow Hollows, and Power Couple to talk performing virtually at Bazzfest, the balancing act of being in multiple bands, and quarantine hobbies. You can listen to the interview here!
You just played Bazzfest yesterday. How was it performing virtually?
Jackson: It was cool, I think he was having a bit of trouble getting the livestream going. But I didn’t mind at all. We actually recorded our set beforehand, about a week before. That was really fun, it was really cool. If I do any sort of livestream, I try to make it cool. Cause I got a little sick of some of the bedroom ones. Some of them are absolutely amazing, but I wanted to make it a little more interesting. So, we recorded it ahead of time and sort of got it lit really well and worked out some cool weird sets.
What’s your go-to gas station order when you’re on tour?
Jackson: I always look for Nerds rope. I’m a really bad snacker, I’m much more of a full meal kind of guy. Nerds rope is when I want to do something messed up to my body. I look for some Nerds rope and maybe a Diet Coke if I’m really pushing it.
The final Slow Hollows show was pretty much the night before all the shutdowns in the United States started. What was that experience like?
Jackson: It was crazy. The show itself was crazy and just an awesome night for us. Very beautiful and sad and bittersweet. It was like at the beginning, and we were on a tour beforehand. And on the way into LA we were talking about Coronavirus; it was just getting on the news a little bit. And it was like, “This is scary, but it’ll kinda blow over. Like how Ebola did or something.” And then… Yeah. We played that show, I think that was actually the last show at The Echo before they shut down completely. I remember as we were sound-checking and stuff, we just kept finding out more and more. One of the people that was opening for us was Joe from the band P.H.F. He’s from New Zealand and he flew in for it, and he was freaking out about not being able to get back to his country and his home. That’s when, I think, we all realized it was becoming a really serious thing.
Judging by videos of your live performances, you have kind of a unique style. Did anything in particular inspire that?
Jackson: Yeah! The performance style itself, I just really wanted it to be interesting. I’m sort of in the mindset that I just want it to feel good for me and make it interesting to watch. So it’s like, I hope you love it, but I’d rather you really hated it than have totally forgotten it. I feel like if you go to a lot of shows, you start seeing a lot of sets. The really good ones stick with you, but the really bad ones stick with you, but the ones that are just sort of mediocre you just sort of forget about. So I just sort of try to give a memorable show.
“You probably don’t have synesthesia” is on your merch. Do you have synesthesia?
Jackson: That was an inside joke. I didn’t go to art school, but my friend did. She was saying every other person there said they had it. And I’m sure some people do have it, but it’s really rare. I think like 4% of people have it or something. So, I just thought it was funny and a little rude to make a shirt that said that. It was pretty dumb; we just did a quick run. My friend and I were sitting in a room talking about shirt ideas and that came up, and then we designed it, ordered it, and started selling them. It was pretty dumb.
Any hobbies you’ve picked up in quarantine?
Jackson: I’ve started cooking a lot more. I make a good green curry. I’ve started playing tennis a lot more. Just going crazy. That’s it.
We can definitely relate to that. You’ve been a member of many bands over the years, and have been a part of another project, Power Couple. What’s it like balancing being a part of so many different groups?
Jackson: It’s been fun. I think I go a little crazy when I’m not busy, and I’m just always making music, making stuff, working with people. It really hasn’t been too hard. I would tour playing drums with certain bands, and then whenever I’m at home, I try to focus and work on my own stuff. So really, it’s not too bad. It’s not too hard at all. Now that Slow Hollows is done, I’ll probably be focusing more on the Brutus VIII stuff and Power Couple stuff going forward.
What or who are some of your non-musical influences, like movies or books?
Jackson: Great question. There’s this almost kind of musical movie I like called The Hunger. It’s a Tony Scott movie with David Bowie and Susan Sarandon. I say it’s a musical movie but it’s like a vampire movie. My favorite band, Bauhaus, is in the opening shot. And it’s just a beautiful movie. It’s one of those things where I have tons of books and movies that I love, but when you ask me I can’t think of anything. I just watched the movie called The Honeymoon Killers. That was pretty great. I don’t know if it’s one of my favorites, but I really liked it a lot. I really like this other movie called Angst. It’s a German serial killer movie. Also, David Lynch movies. Like Blue Velvet and Lost Highway are huge for me.
What have you had on repeat lately?
Jackson: There’s this new Marie Davidson record. The single is “Renegade Breakdown”, which is so amazing. I’m obsessed with that song. The album is also called Renegade Breakdown and it’s amazing. I’ve had that on repeat. The new Choir Boy record, Gathering Swans, is really amazing. I was just listening to Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby. The best quarantine song, I think, if you feel like the world is ending—which it is (we all know it, secretly)—is “We’ve Only Just Begun” by Carpenters. I decided that week two of quarantine.
In May you released two tracks on Bandcamp. Any other upcoming plans?
Jackson: Next year there should be more, and a record. More stuff. More songs. More content, more videos, that sort of thing.
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