The Jacktones have been a band for less than a full year, and already they have steady gigs at venues like Frank's Place.
You can catch them there at 8 p.m. Friday.
The four-piece band — Ian Suhovy on acoustic guitar and vocals; Ryan Calvert on drums; Ben Wiles on bass and electric guitar and DJ Shirley on saxophone, flute and piano — plays funked-up, melodic alternative rock. Think Dave Matthews Band with hints of Incubus.
Here, The Bee talks to the band about its debut album, the songwriting process and why Nashville is more than country music.
The Jacktones started as a two piece, Suhovy and Calvert. How long has the band proper been playing?
Ian and Ryan met in 2012 and started doing acoustic shows throughout California. They were able to get up and running so quickly because Ian already had a large inventory of original songs (about 30) that he had been writing over the past several years. In late 2012, Ben and DJ joined the band and really took The Jacktones to a higher level of musicality.
Talk about the music and songwriting process.
The songwriting process for this first album has been relatively easy because Ian had most of the songs already written. When Ian brought the material to the band, we all helped in making little tweaks here and there, adding breaks and solos, and writing our own individual parts. As far as a "new" song goes, we start by doing a rough recording of guitar and vocals, then listen to it for a week or so, then (add in) our individual parts. This process takes a little longer because we like to experiment with a bunch of different options and instruments until we find one that fits.
Is there an update on the album?
Yes. We are currently working through the final mix and mastering stage with Peter Wolf at WolfSound. The official release is scheduled for February 2014. Being in the studio has helped us really tighten things up and has made us a better band.
The songs I've heard have a deep funk vibe to them. Where does that come from, given that Suhovy did much of the writing during his time in Nashville, which doesn't seem like a funky town (pun not intended).
Nashville is definitely well known for country, but there is a wide spectrum of music that Ian came across while playing there. He played gigs with funk musicians, jazz musicians and country rap artists.
The funk vibe that you can hear in certain tunes really came from everyone in the band. We all have a background in playing and listening to funk, as well as many other, genres ranging from country to jazz to hard rock. We have songs that go into a straight ahead jazz jam and others with a hip-hop feel. We like to have an open approach to putting these songs together. Another factor in helping develop our sound is the use of a wah pedal on the acoustic guitar. Songs such as "You Already Know" and "Maniac" were written post-wah pedal and definitely possess that funky vibe.
Find out more about The Jacktones at www.jacktones.com or on Facebook and Twitter.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6479, email@example.com or @joshuatehee on Twitter and Instagram. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.