Interview with Annie Jump Cannon

We jumped on Zoom with Tuscon-based emo outfit Annie Jump Cannon! Annie Jump Cannon is composed of siblings Sav and Logan, and describe themselves as “hitting all the points a punk or emo band should.” In this interview, we discuss their past performing under the name of Fish Hook, the explosive growth of the Tuscon scene, and their experiences working with their new label, No Sleep Records.

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What’s your go-to gas station order?

Logan: So we’ve actually never been on tour before. We are still a baby band. And yeah, so we’re like local to Tucson, but we’re just used to playing shows here in town. And unfortunately, because of COVID, we had like a planned tour. But that got cancelled, because it was like, right, during that week, when, you know, everything started shutting down. And we had to make that last decision, like, are we gonna go? Are we gonna be like, stranded in California with no venue and nothing to do?

Sav: It was at that point where all the venues were canceling the shows that they had. So that’s why we were left in this limbo of if we go, the show might be canceled, like if we’re on the way there. And sure enough, all the shows did get canceled. So we never got to go on tour, unfortunately.

Logan: We didn’t know the severity of it. Yeah. I mean, it just hit the United States. And, you know, there was only like a handful of cases. But like, it just freaked us all out. It was like, bro, like, we don’t want to get stuck in, you know, a different city in a different state. And like, who knows if we’re gonna be able to get home or not. So like, all that kind of stuff was running through our heads during that time. And it was just like, yeah, like, we better play it safe and just stay home. So unfortunate, but I mean, we had some cool shows planned. We were going to go play at The Smell in downtown LA. So that one we were really looking forward to. We’re looking forward to the Toy Barn out in Albuquerque as well. So like, those are some of the main shows. But yeah, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to go out to those spots because of that.

But if you were at a gas station, what would you buy?

Sav: Hard boiled eggs!

Logan: You’re kidding me!

Sav: Need to get fucking gummy worms.

Logan: Yeah, I like candy a lot. Mine would probably be like Trolli gummy worms and probably a Reese’s bar as well. Not very healthy, but that’s what I would munch on all tour long. If I did go on tour.

Sav: I might get like, some tea and maybe like, granola bar or something.

Logan: We did go out to New Jersey last year when we recorded our album. And we were in the in the East Coast. You know? And out there we were introduced to Wawa. I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of that. But the first time we ever been there and like it was top tier, the only place you can go and get like a quesadilla with stuffing as a side. And then you can get like, I don’t know milkshakes or like it was just the craziest. Just like everything. Do they have everything there?

Your Spotify bio proclaims that you “hit all the points a punk or emo band should.” What are some of your favorite punk or emo acts?

Logan: Well, I feel like I’m the punk rock freak. So I like a lot of old school stuff. You know, a lot of hardcore as well. I really like, Descendants are probably my favorite. I saw them one time here in Tucson at the Rio Alto theater, which we have downtown, and like that one was crazy. You know, I’ve been listening to that ever since I played Tony Hawk games and all that, and just to see them after maybe eight or nine years of being a fan was pretty awesome. Even though I know there were people way older than me that had been waiting, you know, way longer to see them. They’ve only been to Tucson I guess like one other time and it was like in the 80s.

Sav: I think the punk element that we have is the carefree vibe and trying to get everyone to just move. And like moshing is something that happens at our shows a lot. And I think that the emo vibes are going to definitely come from the lyrics. And when I’m writing, it’s always to get the type of emotional expression out that I don’t get out in my day to day life. So I feel like it all goes into my songs and that’s where the emo comes from.

So your band’s namesake, Annie Jump Cannon, was an astronomer. What’s your star sign, and do you feel like it fits you? Why or why not?

Logan: I’m a Libra. I was born in October, October 19, to be exact. So, but really, the band name all came from Sav’s idea. So why don’t you go ahead and tell them a little bit about that?

Sav: So I’m in Gemini. I know like everyone hates me. But I have like a Gemini tattoo, it was my first tattoo. I have been told that I am like the dictionary definition of a Gemini. I have been told that I portray a Gemini very well. Which is a good thing. Like we’re supposed to be, you know, fun and young at heart. And I think that I’m like that. Annie Jump Cannon just came from my astronomy teacher saying it’d be a cool band name. And I definitely agreed that it would be better than Fish Hook, which was what our band name was before.

Logan: We had Fish Hook as a band name for like, the first three months that we started out. And we were just like, angry with everyone. Just like, “Why did you guys not tell us that this was like a horrible band name.” Like all of our friends at first were like going our shows, our first shows, just like, “Fish Hook! Fish Hook!”. Yeah, we learned pretty quick that we had to end it. Like, ASAP.

In November, you posted about recording an album at Sound Acres recording studio in New Jersey. Can you tease anything else about this upcoming release? What are the vibes of the record?

Sav: I think that, The Worst Day, I wrote most of those songs when I was pretty young, and the young I mean, like 16-17. And it definitely had a fun vibe to it. All the songs were like a fun title. And the album cover or EP cover is very, like fun and colorful. And this one definitely touches on maturing. I think there’s a couple songs that I wrote when I was still around the age. And then you get to see the development of when I wrote that into like, two songs from 2020. And so it’s definitely a little bit more serious compared to The Worst Day.

This past October you announced that you’ve signed with No Sleep Records, how has your experience with the label been for you so far?

Logan: It’s been super awesome. I mean, get just getting signed to a label that has released some of our favorite albums and stuff was super surreal for us and exciting, because we were still this local band, and we’ve never really been on tour, you know, haven’t seen too much of the country or played too many shows, for that matter, except for here in town. But like to be picked up for a label was really uplifting for us, especially during the pandemic, when it was kind of this stagnant moment: tour got cancelled, everyone wasn’t playing shows, bands were going away, you know, it was just kind of like, what’s the next step? So it really did keep us busy during that time and we got to go to New Jersey. So that was really exciting, to know that a label wanted us to work past the pandemic and stay relevant and release more music. So that was really exciting, honestly.

Looking back at making “The Worst Day”, what was the process of making this EP and how does it compare to the music you’re writing now?

Sav: So with The Worst Day, we took almost a year to record it, and we recorded it out of our living room. It came out good for a living room recording. And it took a long time. And I’m glad it did, because then we were able to release something we were sure we were proud of. But it was so different to record out of the living room to go to a professional studio. And then we, we had a time frame, you know, to be in Jersey, to record more songs in less amount of time. That was very, very different. Writing was really different. Because we went to Sound Acres with a list of songs that we thought we were gonna put on the LP. And then we ended up taking off like, three songs from that list just because they weren’t finished and, and I had more songs up my sleeve that I ended up showing to our producer. And he’s like, “Yes, that is good. Let’s record that.” So we actually had to write parts while we were up there. And I had to write a verse while I was up there, we had to write some lead parts while we were up there, and figure out leads, because we didn’t have a lead guitar player. So we were really just making it up as we went along, which was so different than taking a year to make it.

Logan: That was another thing, too. On The Worst Day, some of those songs we already had been playing at shows. So you know, it wasn’t like your typical releasing the songs and then going and playing them. You know, we already had the songs that we were playing to kids in our town for already a couple years now. And they already knew the lyrics so much. They were just like, “Yes, when are these songs going to be released?”. Yeah, so that was a lot different, too. But I’m really excited for everyone to hear the new stuff and live shows and stuff like that. And, you know, see how everyone reacts, because I know it is gonna be a lot different than The Worst Day and all. But yeah, it was, it was really cool. We had our friend Matt Graham actually produce that EP The Worst Day here in our living room. So big props to him for dealing with us for about a year, you know? He was just kind of like, “Yo, when’s this gonna be done?”. He’s like, “You’re taking forever.” We’re like, “Hold on Matt, like one more thing. We have one more thing.” There was there was a moment where like, there’s a Vibraslap in one of the songs and it just had to be in there. And like, we forgot to add it in at first. So like, I remember you had to schedule like a time to go meet up with him.

Sav: Like, “Matt, Matt, Matt, we need the Vibraslap. Let me go over really quick. We need it.”

Logan: Like a whole session was planned just around doing this one take of a Vibraslap. You know, that was gonna be like, half a second in the song. And Sav went over there and just nailed it real quick. That was really cool. We had that kind of time and opportunity. And Matt was kind enough to, you know, let us do that kind of stuff and take our time and really perfect it as much as possible. I think we’re all happy with the results.

We’ve spoken with other Tuscon-bred bands like Mudpuppy and Foxx Bodies, but how would you describe your local scene and the relationship everyone shares?

Logan: We started playing around late 2017 as Annie Jump Cannon. Before that, me and Sav had been jamming and playing in high school bands since I was 14 and you were 13.

Sav: So we were in the scene. The scene that’s not the scene now. But like we were really young, playing at some venues, so we got to really kind of grow up in the scene, but also watch the scene grow into itself.

Logan: Yeah, I remember some of our first shows back then as young teenagers were like, in our house. We would have, I don’t know, we had Sav’s birthday party one year. And there was maybe just 20 people there, we got to perform for them, like some covers, and some of those kids showed up and were just having fun, moshing and all that. So fast forward a little bit later, when we started playing as Annie Jump Cannon. We just really started doing the same thing we were like, “Alright, so let’s just have people over, you know, have this little get together, and we’ll play for them.” And it’ll be a fun time. And around that same time is when a lot of other bands started popping up around our same age group.

Sav: It was so surprising to see another band that was our age, then all of a sudden, it’s like, “Oh, there’s a scene.” And then all of a sudden, the scene is growing. And all these, kids from my high school are now going to shows. And it was just like, “Wow.” Just watching it grow. And watching the people show up to our scene, they really showed up before COVID hit. It was really cool.

Logan: That was a little crazy, too. Because when there was only our friend group, and kids that we knew that were into emo and alternative music, you know, we’re showing up. And then later on within a year or so, it just started getting bigger and bigger. And there’s like, kids from my high school that would never have gone to a show like this. So they’re like, “Oh, we like your band.” And getting in their first mosh pit. So it was really cool to see that. I don’t want to say that it got a little trendy. But it was the hype thing to do. You know, if you weren’t going to shows, if you were having a party and you weren’t having a punk rock band play, it was just kind of meh.…. So that was really cool to see it kick off like that. And towards the end there before COVID. I mean, it was huge. We had multiple venues that were having shows every weekend with hundreds of kids going through. So that was really cool to see. It was kids that you never would have thought would have been into that music were getting into that kind of music. So that’s really good for the youth here, to give them something to do. And really get that exposure for all those bands.

In the spirit of live shows returning, what’s your best memory from playing shows?

Sav: I have my best and favorite memory from playing shows: carrying all the heavy here. Bang, you know, in your arms getting workout. But no, that wasn’t the best part. I think. The best show was this local warehouse show that we had. It was all local bands. It was a stacked lineup. And it’s like this warehouse. I’d never been there before. And I’ve never been there since. But it filled up. And you know, it was like the funnest show we’ve played, although sound wise, it did not sound great. My playing was… I don’t even think it was my best performance. But everyone really just had a good time. And just seeing a crowd like that really blew my mind. Just like, gosh, like playing for them was my favorite part.

Logan: I think for me, it’s got to be one of our annual Halloween house shows. So like, every year since we formed, since one of our first shows, I think, like the first show as Fish Hook, was one of those house parties. It was just awesome. And yeah, we started making it like a tradition. So every year we would just have a Halloween show. And by like 2019, that one just really blew up and we had maybe like 200 kids in our living room. And yeah, it was really fun. We all had faced paint on you know, we dressed up as like a black metal band. I’m surprised like our neighbors were chill through all of that.

Sav: We wrote them letters, like “Hey, we’re gonna have music, call us if you have any complaints before you call the cops.” Very courteous.

Logan: So that was really cool, just to have events like that, and just get to have whatever bands, we wanted to, just like our favorite bands we asked to play, they were down, and just made a whole thing out of it. And it was really fun.

What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written and why?

Logan: It’s probably gonna be one of the new ones off the new album. It’s a secret.

Sav: I think that my favorite song I’ve ever written sits above all the others for a couple of reasons. It’s called “Up a Creek without a Paddle.” And I had this song in my pocket when we were writing The Worst Day, but I didn’t think to put it on there for some reason, because it always seemed like an acoustic song. But I’d always pull it out at like, the after party. And the reaction I got from people was like, “Oh, my God.” I was like, “Damn, like, this song must be pretty impactful.” I mean, when I wrote it, I was in a little bit of a rut, so it is an emotional song. But every time I played it, it seemed like people connected with it, everyone told me, they had a different type of connection to it. So that’s my favorite. It’s also really fun to play. And it was always really fun to play at the after party, because like, I’d start playing it, everyone’s still talking. And then they would get into it. And it was like, all of the sudden, the room was quiet. And I was like, “Okay, everyone’s feeling this, too.”

What are some of your upcoming plans now that the pandemic is winding down?

Logan: We’re working on a lot of stuff right now. I mean, kind of top priority is getting that album out there for everyone to listen to. So we have that in the works right now. We’re preparing for that we should be coming up with a release date here soon. But, I mean, we hope to be playing shows again by this fall, something like that. So yeah, I mean, we’ve been reaching out to venues too. So there’s a good chance we might be able to go on tour. Again, we’re really looking forward to rescheduling that and kind of making up for that cancellation. But yeah, I mean, some new members, too, we’re getting some new faces in there, we’ve been having auditions. So that’s been a lot of fun, to just see all these really talented musicians that are interested in being in our band and playing music with us and potentially going on tour and riding with us.

Sav: I think the main thing that’s on my mind is I’m really excited for tour. And I’m really excited about playing shows again. But I’m also in this worried place of after being on testosterone, my voice has dropped, so the songs on the worst day and something like certain notes in the other one are just very not there. So I’m looking forward to getting a vocal coach so I can work through it because it’s just like, damn, I’m gonna go and they’re gonna be like, “Play “I Left My Heart.” And I’m gonna be like, “Alright, alright, let’s see if I can.”

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