By Alle Royale
Small Jackets is one of the most relevant rock n’ roll bands in Italy, and with a fresh record contract with Swedish label Transubstans, and an explosive new record simply titled “IV”, they are ready to embark on an European tour that will hopefully turn them into rich and acclaimed megastars. The time seems to be just right.
I recently spoke with Small Jackets’ Eddy Current & Matt West. Check it out…
Hi Matt & Eddy, it’s such a hot summer, isn’t it? How is going the promotion for the new album, and how’s been the response so far?
Hi everybody! We had amazing reviews from European and American magazines and from the net. We’re very happy about that. Sadly we didn’t play so much this summer but we toured Spain and Holland last spring and now we are planning several tours for the fall and the wintertime.
In the Italian rock scene, you’re a band with a reputation, but, outside the Italian borders, there’s a lot of people that want to know more about your story and origins; would you like to introduce the band to us and our readers?
The band got together in 2004, the band’s musical direction was immediately towards rock’n’roll, Hard Rock, we wanted to create an honest and powerful sound! Throughout the years we have made 4 albums, “Play at High Level”, “Walking the Boogie”, “Cheap Tequila” and the recent “IV”. Luckily we have always been acknowledged by the audience, we have been on stage with great artists like the Hellacopters, Harcore Superstar, New York Dolls and this enabled us to reach high credibility as a live band! With the release of “IV” we have finally been noticed on a european level, we have signed with Transubstans Records and we are planning a european tour.
For your previous album, “Cheap Tequila”, you went to Sweden to record with Chips K, Scan Rock guru and producer of The Hellacopters; how was the experience, and why did you choose to produce this new album yourselves?
Yes, it was a great story. We had met Chips on tour, and he liked our energy in live gigs. There was immediately a good feeling and we knew that he would have had the right sound in his head for our record. Indeed that was the case, it was the first experience with a producer for us and this shaped us musically.
On “Cheap Tequila”, Mark Oak was still a bass player singing a couple of song competently, but on this one, taking the role of lead singer, he has really blossomed and surprised me with a really strong and inspired vocal performance; was a tough decision to handle both the bass and vocal duties, or did it come naturally?
It came naturally, really. Mark has a great voice and a natural approach with improvisation, it was sure from the beginning that he would be able take the load.
Since Lu Silver, your previous singer, was mainly a rhythm guitar player, another big change has been the arrival of Matt West, with the resulting dual leads attack; how did it change your way to compose and arrange the songs?
We are certainly sharper, more powerful and old school now and we are free to compose the material we all love: hard rock music, the world of strings and drums.
You shared the stage with a lot of renowned international bands, which one was the best human and musical experience, and whom you would like to play with in the future?
The most gratifying of all was the experience with Hellacopters, it was our first real tour with a large audience, and so the emotions were strong, furthermore Nick and the other Hellacopters, are people of extraordinary humanity, with true passion for music.
I think that “IV” is your most mature and cohesive work to date, are you completely satisfied with the results or, in retrospect, would you change something?
Thanks for your words, we also think this is our most mature album. We think that the composition, the sound and the performance in this album reflects our way of conceiving what we live and out musical imprinting. In short, we wouldn’t change a thing!
I can testify that you’re a killer live band, have your ever thought about recording a live album of original material, like the MC5 did with “Kick Out The Jams”?
Wow, interesting! We have thought about it or about something similar. We liked albums like ZZ Top’s ”Fandango” or “‘Ot ‘n’ Sweaty” by Cactus, records made half of studio sessions, half live stuff. Maybe the time is right for a live album anyway.
How’s being a rock ’n’ roll band in Italy, a place certainly not famous for its rock tradition, or something has changed in the last years?
We have a big underground scene but it’s very difficult to find the right place to play. There’s a lack of culture and nowadays it’s getting harder, it seems like we are going back in time instead of ahead. People are losing passion.
Which are your plans for the near future, will the fans have the chance to see you outside the border of Italy?
For sure! We are working on that. As soon as possible we will tour Europe again. That’s a promise.
Are you already working on some new material?
There’s some stuff but we are focused on the promotion of “IV” at the moment.
Thanks a lot guys, hope to see you soon on the road!
Thank you all, We wish you the best.