Originally formed in 2008 as Killer Bob, the Brooklyn trio of drummer Max Jaffe, bassist Rob Lundberg, and guitarist Dave Scanlon became JOBS in 2015, releasing the remarkable Killer BOB Sings. With the help of vocalist Daniel Ellis-Ferris (of Loft Opera) and multi-instrumentalist/producer Shannon Fields (Leverage Models, Stars Like Fleas, and Helado Negro), the trio pushed themselves to make an album that does not sit comfortably within any one musical philosophy. Killer BOB Sings confronts, challenges, rewards, and leaves jaws on the floor in result of their sonic shapeshifting and technical prowess. It’s an amalgamation of a wide ranging set of influences that encompasses avant jazz, psych, krautrock, minimalism, pop, hip hop, etc without simply becoming an exercise in genre hopping. Instead, JOBS manage to combine far ranging musical styles into an often manic paralyzing sound of their own. At first glance, it can all be a jarring, intense experience, but repeated listens reveal the exquisite detail and magic of Killer BOB Sings.
The band has been in Santa Fe this week writing some new music, and will be playing a can’t miss show at Ghost tonight alongside As In We offshoot Future Scars and Last Season.
In anticipation of tonight’s show, I asked the band a few questions.
ML: One of the most defining elements of Killer BOB Sings is tension. From the very opening seconds of “Patient Angel” to the end of the record, tension and release overwhelms. Was there an intent to create an album with such tension, or did it occur more naturally?
JOBS: Tension and release were not specifically discussed when killer BOB sings was forming, but tension is something we have always been exploring in our music. The largest stated aim of the record was to create more of a sense of inclusivity, compared to previous material. We wanted our audiences to think ‘We’re all fucked up, together!’, rather than ‘Those guys are fucked up.’
Your bandcamp page mentions how Producer Shannon Fields gave you each homework assignments during the stint in the studio. Can you elaborate on some of these specific assignments and how the results show up throughout the album?
These homework assignments were one manifestation of our desire for inclusivity. Shannon asked us each to bring what we considered to be a ‘single’ and a ‘ballad’ in the spirit of JOBS, in an effort to explore more pop music forms. We were not allowed to share these with each other ahead of time. We used them in the studio whenever we got stuck to try and keep our momentum going. The only direct result of this was ‘Spriiiiiiiiiing’, which started as Rob’s ballad. It’s pretty chill.
While in simplest and most general terms, Killer BOB Sings may be classified as a post-punk rock album, the playing and approach also draws a lot from realms such as avant jazz and minimalism. What are some of the major influences that have led to the sound of JOBS?
JOBS (and its previous iteration killer BOB) has always been about trying to holistically explore all of our musical interests, regardless of genre. Some particular influences include:
Prince, Bernie Sanders, David Bowie, Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Deerhoof, Monk, Can, This Heat, Meredith Monk, Bjork, Peter Garland, James Tenney, George Gershwin, Missy Elliott, US Maple, Idjah Hadidjah, Melvins, Christian Wolff, Henry Threadgill, Gerry Hemingway, Jane Ira Bloom, Hasps, Cyrus Pireh, Tiny Hazard, Angelo Spagnolo, D’angelo, Thundercat, Ira Glass, Audie Cronish, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Brooke Gladstone, Robert Siegel, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Brian Lehrer, Rage Against the Machine, Parliament, Jon Miller
As musicians who embrace spontaneity and improvisation, how will the live presentation differ from the recorded versions of the songs?
We Jam Out Brooklyn Style (J.O.B.S.).
The band has been in Santa Fe for around a week. What have you been doing to enjoy your time here?
Feeling the Bern, seeing Star Wars, going hiking in the vastness of Galisteo Basin, chipping up, beaning up, chiliing up, writing lots of new music, making the Santa Fe art scene, getting cosmic.