Interview With Less Than Jake - 28th May 2011
Photo Of Deaf Havana © Copyright Less Than JakeBen caught up with Less Than Jake at Slam Dunk Festival in Leeds to talk about thier festival shows, their new EP and much more.

We’re here at Slam Dunk, how are you enjoying your day so far?
JR (Saxophone): So far so good!

Vinnie (Drums): I ate chocolate cake, I had apple juice and I woke up at 12:15 in the afternoon – things are pretty fucking awesome!

JR: No complaints!

You’re no strangers to playing festivals such as these, do you enjoy these kind of shows?
JR: Yes, we do.

How do you think they differ from a regular Less Than Jake show?
JR: This one is a little bit more like a LTJ show because it’s inside and at a venue that we’ve played before. It’s a little different to say…Reading or Leeds, which is a massive conglomerate of people.

Vinnie: This is different because we get to play with bands that we wouldn’t necessarily play with at any other show. We get to see some of the bands that we may have heard of, but not seen before. Like JR mentioned, this festival is closer to a LTJ show.

I imagine that you’ve got a lot of friends here, is there anybody that you’re looking forward to seeing and hanging out with?
JR: It’s kind of hard to go through a list because at this point I would love to be watching anybody, but we have to be doing interviews and stuff. But I think later on we’ll probably watch Anti Flag and hopefully catch some of Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish. It’s difficult, because I’d love to go and watch some of the other bands on the other stages, but I don’t actually know where anything is!

You’re playing on the Jägermeister stage…
Vinnie: Appropriate!

How much of an influence do you think the brand has on the alternative music scene?
Vinnie: We drink a lot of it, so it definitely has an influence on us!

A positive or negative influence?
Vinnie: Well, if you like piss and vomit then I suppose it’s a positive one! When you add alcohol into sponsoring any event, can you really say it’s good or that it’s bad? I don’t know how much they influence it, because at the end of the day the people are showing up for the music, but I do think that in the case of Jägermeister in particular, they support bands immensely, not only with alcohol, but with stuff like their website. Any company that really doesn’t have to do it, but does it anyway is alright by me. Some people may have problems with a corporate sponsor, but when the pie of what you make as a musician continues to shrink, then if someone wants to inject X amount of influence into it, I’m okay with that. Jägermeister has offered us a two bottle Jägermeister machine, I said no to that because in my mind I just kept imagining someone drink straight from the tap of it!

Since 2008 you’ve been releasing stuff on your own record label, how have you been enjoying the day to day running of a label?
JR: It’s great. We have 100% control of everything, and what band wouldn’t want that?

Vinnie: The difference when you’re a younger band is that you want X amount of dollars put into your band and you want radio play, but we’ve been there and done that. We’ve done that on the smallest of indie labels, to the biggest of major labels. We’re rounding twenty years as a band, we can do whatever we want. The times of worrying what people expect of us are over, I don’t give a fuck about what people expect from us.

Do you think that having a hardcore fan base is partly why you’re able to venture down this route?
JR: Having your own label maybe makes it more difficult to get yourself across mass media outlets, but yes, having amazing fans does make it easier.

Have you got any plans to sign any other bands to the label?
Vinnie: Not at the moment, unless something came up that was so obviously awesome, then I would entertain it. It would be awesome if that did happen, but you just never know.

You’re set to release “Anthology”, can you explain a little more about this?
Vinnie: We did six album shows in Florida, all except for GNV FLA and Losers, Kings and Things We Don’t Understand, but we filmed all of the shows on a high definition camera and recorded them straight from the desk and we’re going to put them out. That’s six full records and a bonus disk of extra material, so it’s four DVDs together, ten hours of viewing!

JR: It’s not that expensive either, it’s pretty reasonable.

You released the TV/EP last year, was this something that you enjoyed doing?
JR: Very much so, it was only supposed to be a bit of fun and that’s exactly what it was. Some people thought that we were doing it for different reasons, but it was an EP, nothing more than a bit of fun. I think we said that in every interview that we did about it. Kids were like, “Oh, it’s just another covers record”, we haven’t done a covers record in like, ten years.

Vinnie: It was only supposed to be something for us to whilst we were taking some time off. We’re releasing another EP in June, but we’re kind of keeping that a bit close to the cuff. We just got out of the studio, it’s five originals, no covers and I feel great about it. I’m more excited about those songs that I was about GNV FLA and that’s saying a lot because I was pretty fucking excited about that! These songs are pretty much everything that you want from LTJ, it was the first time in a long time that everybody added to every song, that’s fucking awesome when that can happen.

You mentioned that TV/EP was something to do during your time off, do you always find yourselves hankering to do something new?
JR: Yeah, of course! That’s who we are, we get bored very easily. The status quo is not something we know too much about, we’re never quite satisfied.

Vinnie: At twenty years in you start running out of shit to do, so you’ve got to think of new things. A full record takes a massive amount of inspiration, and I don’t think people digest music that way anymore. I think people digest music in a different way now.

JR: It’s a single-based society. Singles have been far more successful, even prior to when the digital revolution started – now it seems to have encompassed the rest of the world. People care more about the singles than they do about the record itself.

Vinnie: I’m excited about this one, it’s the first time we’re doing an EP of all new material in a while. I’m interested to see how people take to it and whether they get that same charge that they do from a full-length. I’m stoked.

Finally, what’s next for LTJ?
Vinnie: Warped Tour, all summer long!

Are you looking forward to that?
JR: Yeah…ish.

It seems like you have mixed feelings…
Vinnie: That’s the way it is though, we’ve done it so many times and I have an allegiance to it, it’s part of our history and essential Warped is a part of who our band is. But I also feel like it’s got to a point in time where it’s maybe not the best place for us because of how the music scene is in America. I want to be educated this summer, maybe I’ll find some bands that I’ve never heard of, maybe I’ll think that they’re all complete shit, I have thought that before! I hope we see some great young bands, but regardless Warped Tour provides a service of a cheap ticket, lots of bands and lots of genres of music. It’s somewhat similar to what’s going on over here today.

Interview by Ben Connell
 Band Members

Chris Demakes
Roger Manganelli
Vinnie Fiorello
Buddy Schaub
Peter "JR" Wasilewski
 Latest Releases
Less Than Jake - GNV FLA
Release Date - 24th June 2008

1. City of Gainesville
2. The State of Florida
3. Does the Lion City Still Roar?
4. Summon Monsters
5. Abandon Ship
6. Handshake Meet Pokerface
7. Settling Son
8. Malachi Richter's Liquor's Quicker
9. Golden Age of My Negative Ways
10. The Space They Can't Touch
11. Conviction Notice
12. This One Is Going to Leave a Bruise
13. The Life of the Party Has Left the Building
14. Devil in My DNA"
 Band Related Links
Less Than Jake Myspace