Jack Swing widens the scope of rock on latest EP | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Jack Swing widens the scope of rock on latest EP

click to enlarge Isaiah Ross of Jack Swing - PHOTO: SHAUNA MILLER
Photo: Shauna Miller
Isaiah Ross of Jack Swing
The vigorous sound of Pittsburgh rock band Jack Swing centers around energy. Not the energy acquired from drinking a cup of coffee or the energy a machine gets from being plugged in, but the contagious zeal and zest experienced at a live performance.

That feeling is what Jack Swing made up of Isaiah Ross (guitar/vocals), Rowdy Kanarek (bass), and Alex Nelson (drums) set out to capture in their latest release, Get What's Mine For You, a boisterous three-track EP where each song blends together, but could easily stand alone.

The title track is a dazzling funk-groove tune that infects the soul with its upbeat instrumentals, while the second track, "Whether I Do," is more mellow, leaning towards a surf-rock anthem. The final song, "Meet You There" speaks more to the meandering blues-rock sound heard from Jack Swing's previous work. The three songs are all equally danceable, however, united by the band's commitment to capturing energy in their music. With this new mindset, Jack Swing can only go up from here.

Pittsburgh City Paper chatted with Ross via email to find out more about the thought process behind Get What's Mine for You, which dropped Sept. 18.

What was your intention going into Get What's Mine for You? What did you want to create?
Going into this EP, we were coming out of playing together a lot. We had really developed a cohesive sound that we all understood, enjoyed, and was received well by our fans. We really wanted to properly capture that energy of us really playing together and building off of each other. I also wanted to create an EP where each song serves a special and unique purpose while still being a cohesive piece. I like to think we really succeeded in that aspect with this release.

While other Jack Swing releases have straddled the blues-rock line, each song of this EP has its own distinct sound and seems to utilize different rock influences. How do you feel this project compares to past Jack Swing releases? Does this signify a new direction for the band?
This was definitely something I wanted to embrace with this release. Having that solid rock foundation but taking that to a bunch of different places. I think generally current rock music sees very narrow and I'd like to try to widen that scope a bit. We were sorta dancing with that idea with this release but definitely will be taking that and expanding it more with future Jack Swing releases.

Was there any part of the creation process that came easily? Where there any challenges?
I'd say the easiest part of the process was how organic it all was. We had been working with these songs for awhile and after releasing our last EP we really hunkered down on them. We had recently brought Isaiah Small into the fold and he was just what these songs needed for a fresh breath of life. We played them out live and went on a small tour which really glued the tracks together.

When recording it was just about getting that energy that we knew so well from playing them in front of crowds, onto the recording. I'd say the hardest part of the recording process is doing live takes when you're all perfectionists and know the songs so well. No matter how great a take was it always feels like there could be a better one coming up. Fortunately, we had Dave Hidek (producer, recording engineer) to keep us on track.

What did you personally take away from creating this EP?
Something that I've known for a while, but was really solidified with this recording, is how crucial the energy is to everything. It's all about the energy. Understanding that and translating it to the recording without sacrificing anything definitely makes this release stand-out. This will also be something that I'm excited to expand upon more in coming Jack Swing releases.

What do you hope others take away from it?
I hope others take it as a source of light in a time where it's hard to find any. One theme I want people to take away from this is the title, "Get What's Mine For You." The energy of these songs is choosing to get the things out of life that you deserve. The things that the child version of yourself wanted for you. I feel this concept now more than ever, that in spite of all the darkness in the world, you still deserve to fight for what you want out of this life.

Did COVID-19 affect the release?
We were more affected in a post-production sense. We recorded this in November but COVID pretty much encompassed all the time we'd use for our traditional methods of promotion (shows, tours, etc.). This forced me to really focus on marketing strategies both old and new, which really illuminated a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into releases that local bands usually overlook. Still, nothing seems able to truly replace the impact of live shows, but we work with what we can.

Anything else you feel is important to know?
This is undoubtedly our best work yet. We have taken a lot of quarantine to redevelop our sound and write our next record. The record is written and we are getting ready to get back in the studio so keep an eye out for that. We've also had the pleasure of Alex Nelson joining us on drums. Stay strong and we will come out on the other side of these tumultuous and divisive times. Jack Swing sends all of you our love.

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