TSJ Interviews The Static Jacks’ Ian Devaney

We featured The Static Jacks’ single, “Young Guns”, on TSJ’s Tuesday Tune a few weeks back — check it out if you haven’t already, because it’s awesome —  it’s a keep the party going, turn the furniture on its side and dance all night in your socks kind of tune.  

The Static Jacks released their album, Spray Tan, recently, and they’re already thinking ahead to their next one (though that’s supposed to be sort of under the radar for now, so don’t tell anyone). Citing The Cribs and Beach House as influences, there’s a real warmth and musicality to Devaney’s voice, and the band itself is tight, noisy, and right on the money. These kids are up to some good tricks. 

We caught up with New Jersey-based frontman, Ian Devaney, the day after his birthday and talked hangover cures, living with the folks, and bagpipes.

The Smoking Jacket: How’s your day going so far?

Ian Devaney: Pretty good.

TSJ: What have you been up to today?

ID: Not much, actually. Yesterday was my birthday. So today not much has happened.

TSJ: Happy birthday! What did you get up to?

ID: I went out to the bar with my friends.

TSJ: Are you hung over?

ID: Yeah, a little bit. But nothing I can’t get over.

TSJ: How do you beat a hangover?

ID: Generally I guess I try to exercise. Shower. Depending on what kind of hangover it was, I’ll either not eat at all until dinner, or eat a lot at breakfast.

TSJ: So did you eat a lot at breakfast today?

ID: I haven’t had breakfast, yet. So it feels like it might be one of those dinner days.

TSJ: I feel like when I’m hung over I don’t want to eat but then when I do eat I feel a lot better.

ID: Yeah. I probably should eat. Most people look at me like I’m insane when I talk about the non-eating days.

TSJ: There’s a good feeling, though, when you’re hungover. You sort of feel like you’re starting fresh. There’s this good, weird emptiness going on. I always kind of like that.

ID: Yeah, it’s like an eraser.

TSJ: Exactly. So how old did you turn?

ID: Twenty-two.

TSJ: Twenty-two!

ID: Yes.

TSJ: And you guys have already been in a band for like years and years and years.

ID: Yeah. But the band has really existed like this for like two years.

TSJ: So you guys started taking off sort of right after high school?

ID: I guess from someone else looking at it it probably looks like that. For us it’s still feels kind of like trudging through the muck of the indie rock wasteland.

TSJ: You’ve played with some good bands (like Titus Andronicus, White Denim, etc.) and you’ve been on Carson Daly, how does that affect the momentum of the trucking through muck of the indie wasteland?

ID: It definitely propels it forward more than we kind of see on a day-to-day basis, just being home and writing and being in the basement practicing and everything. But it really shows when we go to a city like San Francisco and there will be a bunch kids there in the front row who know the words to a bunch of our songs. And I’m like — but I’ve never met you before! How have you ever heard of me?

TSJ: Is it weird?

ID: Yeah, it’s weird. Touring definitely shows you what your reach has actually been, which is great.

TSJ: And so where have you guys been touring? Mostly in the US?

ID: Mostly here. We’ve been over to England twice, and we did a little bit around mainland Europe, like Germany and Switzerland and stuff like that. Hopefully we’ll be doing more of that with this album.

TSJ: That sounds pretty rad. So do you guys just do this or do you have to have day jobs or live with your parents?… Or are you doing okay with the touring and stuff?

ID: We do still live with our parents. I mean the idea, really, is to be on tour all the time. So yeah, when we come home it’s home home.

TSJ: What does that feel like, the two worlds?

ID: It’s pretty different. But I mean my parents are pretty cool about it. They just kind of treat me as someone who happens to live here. I take care of my stuff and do some things around the house and I can pretty much eat whatever and bring whoever over. It’s pretty easy.

TSJ: That’s good. So you can still be sort of rock-star-ish even though you live at home. Do you live in your parents’ basement?

ID: Well, I live in my own room. I should probably move to the basement. That would be pretty cool. I’m sounding so lame on Playboy!

TSJ: Naw… So tell me about the whole songwriting process.

ID: It’s pretty crazy, I guess. Pretty much we each write a bunch of stuff on our own, and then we’ll all sit down and work on it and kind of make it into our own sound rather than into the sound of [each] individual, I guess.

TSJ: I guess the fact that you’ve really developed musically together must make things go pretty smoothly.

ID: It can. We understand where each of us is coming from. It’s really a lot of arguments and constantly settling things by votes. It’s a democracy in action! Right now we’re in the very early stages of making another album, so we just play all our  new songs like a million times until we come up with new ideas or a different way to play this or sing that better.

TSJ: Who are you listening to these days?

ID: I guess The Cribs’ “Belly of the Brazen Bull.” Besides that, Beach House just released an album, and I just downloaded a CD of bagpipe music… So Beach House, and bagpipes and the Cribs!

TSJ: Nice. Time to shake up that old organ drone that everyone’s working on these days?

ID: Exactly.

TSJ: You guys playing any shows in the coming while?

ID: We’re playing in New York on May 31 [at the Swat Bar]. And then we’ll kind of settle into a hard writing fury without any show interruption, really. That’ll be a nice break in terms of not eating fast food for every meal.


Check out The Static Jacks online and on Facebook.


Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Tuesday Tune: The Static Jacks’ “Young Guns”
TSJ Talks to Musician Ben Burgess