Interview with Jack Swing
Fuzz rock Pittsburgh quartet Jack Swing just released a new EP, Supermoon, stacked with energetic tracks that will ensure your summer is fueled by pure rock. Lead singer Isaiah Ross cut his teeth in the hardcore scene before forming Jack Swing. While Jack Swing’s music is mostly infused with classic rock, hard rock, and blues, you can still hear the edge of Ross’s hardcore roots coming through on Supermoon. To celebrate the EP’s release, Ross was nice enough to sit and chat about the Supermoon as well as some of his favorite acts coming out of Pittsburgh right now.
Let’s start with an introduction to who Jack Swing is and how you guys started playing together.
Isaiah Ross: Jack Swing is a rock band from Pittsburgh, Pa. We’ve all known and played with each other for the better part of the last decade. Jack Swing is Isaiah Ross (guitar/vocals), Rowdy Kanarek (bass/guitar/vocals), Isaiah Small (keys), and Jonathan Lightfoot (drums). Rowdy was actually my first music teacher when 13 or 14? Jonathan the first drummer I found on my own and so on.
Your new EP, Supermoon, actually started out as a full length LP. What drove the decision to cut from a full length to an EP?
Ross: We went into the studio and were just plugging away at this thing. We had set all types of deadlines and pressure on ourselves to bang this out. But on some of those early listens we realized things weren’t sitting right. Something was off. So we scrapped the whole thing. We took some time to re-evaluate. Decided to stick with the songs that we felt had the most rock and roll energy and really spend some time with them. This plus a slight change in lineup allowed for this release to be much a lot tighter, more cohesive, and simply put, better in general. Nothing worse then releasing something and immediately all you can hear is where it falls short. I’m glad we caught it decently early.
The 5 songs that did make the cut are some solid tracks. Why were these songs chosen? Did you rework the songs at all from when they were originally recorded for the LP / as singles?
Ross: Thank you! These songs were chosen because I feel they have similar energy and come from a similar emotional place. We really wanted to capture the fire that one feels at one of our live shows, and I think these 5 are a good way of communicating that. And yes we definitely reworked “Take the Night” a good bit. There were a couple elements of the first recording that really didn’t sit right with me. The recording that made it on the record is much tighter, more energetic, and all around better sonically. Both are still up everywhere so feel free to listen back to back to spot the differences. “Monkey Around” we didn’t really have to touch once we finished it up. That one I think we got pretty right that time around.
If you had to pick one track off of Supermoon that would act as an introduction to Jack Swing, what would it be?
Ross: Hmm that’s a tough one. For me it would probably be a tie between “Take the Night” and “Monkey Around.” “Take the Night” covers a good bit of ground. Heavy riff, heart felt verses, slamming chorus. I think it best shows our diversity. On the opposite side of things, “Monkey Around” is a bit more on one track, steadily moving forward and increasing in energy and velocity. Which I think is an equally cool introduction to the band from the opposite POV.
I have a feeling that “Monkey Around” is going to dominate my summer playlists. What are you guys currently listening to? Do you have a favorite release of 2019 so far?
Ross: Thank you! I’ve been listening to the band, Crumb’s new record a lot. Very well done. Still been bumping that new MGMT record as well. Other than that a lot of Pittsburgh artists who I’ll list in the next answer.
I don’t know a ton about the Pittsburgh music scene, who are some of your favorite acts from the area?
Ross: Rave Ami, Talkers, Water Trash, Benji, BBguns, My Favorite Color, Starship Mantis, Sierra Sellers, Hearken. The list could go on but I think that’s enough. Lot of good stuff going on in Pittsburgh right now.
What’s your favorite track off of Supermoon to perform live?
Ross: That’s probably a tie between “Monkey Around” and “Super.” “Monkey Around” is extremely energetic and pissed off. Great way to blow of some steam. Also Isaiah Small tends to do a back flip when we play that live, which is always fun. “Super” is still energetic while more on the uplifting rather than pissed off side, and the chorus gets me in my feelings every time.
How is Jack Swing spending the rest of the summer?
Ross: We’re gonna take a month or two to do some behind the scenes work; work on new songs and book as many tours for the fall and winter as possible. Hoping to keep things moving and actually get to the full length here pretty soon. Other than that hopefully taking it easy but we’ll see!