Nashville vintage indie-pop rockers Jet Black Alley Cat are all about style. With pizzazz and flash, they are a group that knows how to impress through their unique sound and the personal touches that shine through their creations. Continue reading to learn more about Jet Black Alley Cat, where you can catch them live, and more.
Can you introduce yourself and share a little more about your background in music?
Jet Black Alley Cat is made up of Joe Wilkinson, Zach Douglas, Christian Harrison, Cristofer Johnson, and Bryant Lowry. Together we’ve been playing together for 3 years now. Before that we all had some musical endeavors but really solidified our ideas and desires when creating Jet Black.
The visual aesthetic of Jet Black Alley Cat is one that accompanies the music and attitude so well. Is a lot of time dedicated towards the imagery, or is it a natural occurrence formed form your own personal styles?
Joe: We spend a ton of time thinking about trying to find a way to be ourselves while creating something unique. For me, it’s always been about more than just the songs. I loved artists like Amy Winehouse and Johnny Cash that were able to genuinely push the personality and artistic side of the music world. We still value the idea of real rockstars.
Jet Black Alley Cat is actually based in Nashville, AKA “music city.” Do you find that the city and atmosphere itself brings a certain influence to your work?
Christian: I think it teaches you to plan on working harder than everyone else. There are so many talented people in Nashville that you’ve got to be relentless in your pursuit.
Additionally, how do you find building your band in such a saturated city has affected your growth and progression?
Christian: I answered this a bit in the question above but I think we’ve learned so much being in Nashville – seeing other artists succeed or fail and learning what mistakes to not make. Additionally, when there are so many artists around you, you eventually just have to decide to trust your instincts no matter what others are doing around you.
Your Motel EP just recently came out. Stylistically, it differs greatly from your 2017 release, Part One. Between each track is an interlude, which helps give each song its own breath of life, and in a way, gives the EP a storybook feel. What was your initial vision for the release? How does the finished product represent that?
Joe: Sonically yes, that was very much the idea. We wanted to make a record that made sense if you listened from top to bottom but also one that allowed each full song to stand alone if that’s what the listener chose to do. With Motel we feel it’s such a pretty record as a whole. It tells a story, it encourages, each song is a little more deliberately honest than Part One, and ultimately it’s different than the first (which we prefer). We don’t get to choose how people listen to our EP. Our intention was for it to be listened to in order, but I think we did a good job of allowing that balance for the listener that doesn’t feel the same.
What do you want listener’s to feel when they listen to your music?
Joe: To feel so fucking cool. To feel like your own version of whatever rockstar you see yourself as. I’m sick of us thinking what we currently are is all we can be forever. The five of us are such average dudes that chose not to see themselves as average. I guess that’s really the only way I know how to put words to it.
Flipping that question around, how do you feel when you listen to the music you create?
Christian: In the early stages of a new song, it’s always exciting, then it’s a bit exhausting when trying to work out its flaws to make it great. When it’s all said and done, the song gets released and then its for the fans – I don’t think we listen to our own music much after that release. Always hard to perceive your creation as another would.
Currently, mental health within the music industry is a huge topic of discussion. What are your thoughts on the recent revelations, and what steps do you think should be taken to continue bringing awareness to the issue and hopefully bring improvement?
Joe: Being a musician is a taxing life choice. It’s not all rockstardom & glory. The ups and downs of emotion and success you experience weigh a lot on you. I won’t pretend to have some breakthrough answer or thought. Surround yourself with the best people that love you and support your wild mind. I think that’s our best chance at helping things.
You’re on The Lovers, USA. Tour through July 28th, which includes a performance on the Vans Warped Tour July 10th in Nashville. What makes a show stand out to you when you look back at those you have played? Is there a specific one on your mind right now?
Christian: I always remember the shows that have a great crowd – obviously the hype and energy of a packed show is unreal. Being in those rooms with those who are into our stuff wins in terms of importance every time. Also experiencing a new city or having a good night out with the other bands post show creates some pretty awesome memories. A specific one that stands out recently is Dallas. It was rock n roll.
Is there anything I missed that you would like to discuss?
First time telling anyone, but our vid for “NIGHTLIFE” is on its wayyyyy.
Listen to Jet Black Alley Cat.