Keep calm and carry on
The Jump Off’s three members are playing for four
A good indicator that members of any given Regina band are legit is that, at the last minute, they suggest moving an interview to a food court so they can grab slices from Trifon’s.
Another good indicator, of course, is that they don’t let losing one member affect how many instruments they play during a song. And that one doesn’t just apply to Regina bands – there are stories, for example, of late-period Q and Not U shows when members of the venerable Dischord dance-punk act would pull out instruments like the melodica mid-song, to audible audience gasps.
That’s not to say The Jump Off’s members are performing weird acrobatics in order to play several things at once or whipping out kooky instruments mid-song. Since the departure of their now-ex-bassist turned them into a three-piece, however, they do have to find ways to get by; current bass guitarist Greg Jessup does admit to occasionally playing keyboard with one hand and tapping bass notes with the other when playing live.
But recreating the layered sounds of their debut EP, Pillaging, is a challenge they often look forward to, and a challenge where the effort is mostly what counts.
“What we can’t do live, that we have in the recording, we make up for by just trying to put on a good show,” said guitarist Eric Trylinski, after finishing up his pepperoni slice. “And what we can’t transfer onto the CD, like, energy, we make up for by filling it up with more parts.”
But while most bands might counter that by just replacing the missing band member, Trylinski and Jessup said that the new dynamic between themselves and drummer Donovan Lautsch is too tight and natural to risk fussing with. And, besides, it’s more fun to watch them try and pull everything off live.
“At one time we actually thought of maybe getting a sampler or something, but it’s a live show,” Jessup said. “People wanna hear live music.”
Added Trylinski, “I’m not opposed to sampling. I’m not opposed to incorporating that in. But it’s a thing that you take away any improvisation you can do live, which takes a lot out of it. Like, as soon as you do that, everything’s set. You’ve gotta play exact right timing … I like the freedom a lot more.”
“We have a couple samples we might use at the show. We’re planning on making [producer Rob White] the guy who is cuing those,” Jessup confessed, before laughing, “We haven’t asked him yet, but he’ll be down.”
Trylinski and Jessup credit White, who recorded Pillaging’s rhythm section at Regina’s Touchwood Studios and the rest of the tracks in his own basement, for getting The Jump Off involved with local punk label Harvest King Records.
“After we got ahold of Rob … there was a lot of things we didn’t know, and we asked him, ‘Who do you think would help us out?’” Jessup explained. “Rob does a lot of recordings for Harvest King, and he said, ‘Ask Justin [Ludwig, Harvest King label head].’ So, I did. It just started off as him giving us little bits of help, and before we knew it we had the Harvest King logo on our CD.”
Since becoming a three-piece, The Jump Off have stopped playing several songs, leaving them with three unreleased tracks and the five songs on Pillaging. And while the band doesn’t want those eight songs – all of which are unapologetically dance-punk tunes – to pigeonhole them, they’re not going to take offense to being compared to other bands whose molds they fit.
“I don’t think we ever get called something that’s not flattering, so it’s hard to disagree,” Jessup joked. “For instance, Justin says we sound like The Hives, LCD Soundsystem, and Fugazi, and who’s gonna say no to those?”
There are other bands listed in their bio, like At The Drive In and Franz Ferdinand. There should probably be others listed, like the aforementioned Q and Not U, The Rapture, and The Faint. What those bands all manage to deliver – hooks and, ATDI possibly excepted, danceable grooves – are things of which The Jump Off has no shortage.
The Jump Off will be playing The Exchange with Double Down and The Royal Red Brigade on Saturday, March 19.
The Jump Off have a bit of a connection to the University of Regina. Drummer Donovan Leutsch attends the university, and bassist Greg Jessup and guitarist/vocalist Eric Trylinski are planning on applying for the Winter 2012 semester.
But Pillaging has another connection to the U of R – its album art. Evan Obey worked with The Jump Off to put together the EP’s artwork, which Trylinski said is “pretty much exactly what we were looking for,” and designs a lot of the band’s posters as well. And he’s a student here at the U of R, too. Jessup and Trylinski were quite deliberate in telling me so, since, as they pointed out, the Carillon is about the U of R and its students.
So here’s a shout-out to U of R student Evan Obey. Behind-the-scenes stuff like album art is important, too, especially when said album art is an illustration of some badass-looking mountains. The Carillon salutes you!