Loud. Punk. Silly. Three words that might not go together anywhere else apart from being used to describe Holyhead’s Straight Jacket Legends.
You might be familiar with the four-piece from the Isle of Anglesey from our 5 New North Wales Bands You Need to Hear feature last week but if this is you’re first time coming across them, you are in for a treat.
With boundless energy and a showmanship, they’re known for owning any stage they’re on and working well with the crowed. Some bands may just turn up, play their set and leave but SJL do that and then some.In addition to being an uncompromising live act, their output on record is certainly not to be sniffed at. Post-punk laptop rap (don’t ask) stalwart MC Lars saw enough in the boys to feature on their single, ‘She’s Out of Line‘, and even toured with him.
We caught up with the boys to discuss inspiration, the future and Scrabble.
DAN: Yeah we are doing rad thanks. You caught us at a fun time. We’re mid-way through the annual SJL Scrabble tournament. The catch is, none of us know how to spell very well, so knowing when the other guy is wrong is hard to call on.
CAINE: Checking the dictionary is one life away if you’re wrong. You get 3 lives and whoever loses has to dress like 80’s Cyndi Lauper for the rest of the day.
JAKE: Gig days included.
TOMMY: I only know how to spell sounds.
2) Tell us all about Straight Jacket Legends.
DAN: If Blink-182 and Yellowcard collaborated to make a baby-makin’ music album for a Barenaked Ladies & Everclear session, SJL would be the love-child of that union.
TOMMY: Smash Mouth can hold the camera.
CAINE: Third Eye Blind narrates.
JAKE: Family friendly guys… we’re a pop-rock band, mixing orchestral backing tracks and tight harmonies.
3) How did you get together?
DAN: I met Jake in high-school. One of us was selling Star Wars toys. We made a cruddy band for a bit, did some shows here and in the usa, released an album and developed as humans. I grew a beard for a bit. Jake, Tommy & Caine are brothers and joined when Straight Jacket Legends was born.
4) Do you find living in North Wales limits the amount of gigs you can perform? Or is it better?
DAN: It’s 2014, man. As far as performing in the traditional sense, maybe it can be a stretch to play to new faces, but we can do acoustic gigs on Google Hangouts and such. The platform is massive now.
CAINE: We had a weird request to do an acoustic show from our studio to a farm in Botswana.
JAKE: If that’s how it’s spelled, then I win at Scrabble.
TOMMY: We have a reliable van. If you have power points, Wotsits and an egg timer, we’ll be there.
5) What’s been your favourite gig of 2014 so far?
JAKE: Our acoustic shows with Thomas Nicholas (TIN Band / American Pie Movies) were great. The acoustics were top and everything sounded smart. The Compass in Chester is always good.
DAN: Thomas is a good friend now, after a few coway shows, we became pretty tight. We even shared a chinese in his hotel room.
6) How was it working with MC Lars?
DAN: AWESOME. Lars is always a blasty blast. We’ve worked together a lot. He featured on ‘She’s Out of Line’, we were his backing band on tour and I am pretty sure his hat doubles as a WiFi antenna cuz that dude is always connected.
CAINE: He calls me freckles, it’s getting pretty serious.
TOMMY: Loads of stuff with him in our future, according to my tarot cards.
7) Who else would you love to collaborate with?
JAKE: I’d love to find a reason to have Rancid on our next record. Maybe Goo Goo Dolls. I don’t know man, so many cool people about. Billy Joel? Mark Hoppus…
CAINE: Marky Mark?
TOMMY: Barry Manilow, totally.
DAN: London Symphony Orchestra, Yellowcard and Third Eye Blind.
8) Why the love for Ian Beale?
TOMMY: Why are you wearing shoes? Silly questions get silly answers.
9) You recently announced that you’ll be playing Cariad Ink Festival again. What are your expectations going into it?
CAINE: I hear Justin Bieber is playing. I’d love to throw samosas at him.
JAKE: Ha! They’re always great people. Crowds are good, the food is good and the ink is good. Our expectations, as ever, are to rock out, eat chilli and make friends.
DAN: What can they expect from us? is the question. And the answer is… *gestures to Tommy*
TOMMY: I could probably moon-walk? Failing that, I guess we can play some of the new album?
10) And finally, who else from North Wales should we be listening to?
JAKE: You have to get on Bishop’s Finger. Those guys are a classic punk band, I love them like family.
DAN: I’ve had AMFX on my Walkman for a while now. Love them, love playing shows with them and love that their bass player has a ridiculous way of spelling his name.
CAINE: G-R-A-E-M-E ? Right?
DAN: NO WAY! TRIPLE POINT SCORE! I WIN SCRABBLE!