Interview: JEFF the Brotherhood

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Do you miss seeing fun hard rock bands?

You might not have to anymore as JEFF the Brotherhood, a psych/grunge duo from Nashville, is looking to satiate your thirst for good time hard rock ‘n’ roll.

The band, comprised of brothers Jake and Jamin Orall, have grinded out it over the past decade, performing in backyards and local bars to performing to getting a major deal, having Dan Auerbach produce one of their albums and being a part of major outdoor festivals like Bonnarroo and Hang Out.

This summer, the brotherhood will be an integral part of Mumford & Sons traveling festival, the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover — performing at each stopover location (Seaside Heights, New Jersey, Waverly, Iowa, Aviemore in the UK, Walla Walla, Washington, and Salida, Colorado).

We recently had a chat with Jamin Orall where he talks about never being on a roller coaster before, the feeling of not being on a major label anymore, and working with Mumford & Sons.

Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana
Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana

The Gentlemen of the Road Stopover is taking you guys to a boardwalk – is that one of the weirder festival spots you’ve played at?

Well, we’ve played boardwalks before. We played at a boardwalk in Rockaway Beach, New York, right on the beach. We just played at Hang Out Fest recently, too and that’s on the beach.

I heard that’s a lot fun.

Yeah, yeah we had a little too much fun there.

Hey, you’re young, you’re supposed to have fun, right?

(Laughs) Yeah.

Where you’ll be performing, I think you’ll be about to see the boardwalk amusement park area, with all the lights lit up in the background.

Do they have roller coasters there?

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Yes, they have a smaller one, that gives you a right view of the ocean while you’re riding on it.

I’ve never been on one, so that would probably be a really good start for me.

You were hand selected by Mumford & Sons to be a part of their summer-long Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Festivals. Now, Mumford is probably one of the top ten biggest bands in the world right, how does it feel knowing one of the biggest bands out there wanted JEFF the Brotherhood to be on the road with them?

I’ve never really thought about it before but thinking about it now, I feel good, I feel happy. We’ve played one of them before and it was really fun. It was a few years ago in Bristol, TN and it was a blast. They treat the bands really well and they’re really nice guys. It sparked a relationship with them on that show. My brother has gone on to perform in bands with members of the band, too. Cool guys.

Is there a different mind set performing at a festival than say, in a more intimate club setting?

Yes, totally different. Festivals have a lot more people there, who might not be there to see you. They’re either there to party or to see some other band. It’s more about having to win an audience over, it’s a little more work. People expect you to be a little crazier at festivals because they’re in that party mood. It can make it more fun, but it also can make it more stressful. You don’t get a soundtrack. You have to set up on the fly. Normally you have a long soundcheck. At a festival, you might have 15 minutes to get your gear on stage and go, and that can be stressful. But, festivals are one of the only places that they put bands in this god-like position. At a big festival, you’re at the top of the food chain. The whole thing revolves around the bands. It’s like, ‘Here’s your trailer, take all this food, what do you need, what do you want?’ That’s a lot different than showing up at a 400 person capacity crowd. Shows at clubs are more intimate, and they’re there to see you. The two are totally different.

You dropped a new record, Wasted on the Dream, earlier this year, how do you feel it stands out from your catalog?

Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana
Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana

It feels like the most logical step. It’s a step up sonically from the last four records.

Can you talk about the impetus of this ‘stepping up?’

We just got better writing songs and playing. It’s also the longest we ever took to record a record. Usually, we take a week to make a record, this time we took about five to six weeks to make it. We got to be in a crazy expensive studio because Warner Brothers fronted the money. We also worked with a producer [Joe Chiccarelli who produced The Strokes, Spoon, Jason Mraz] who really helped us out.

Speaking of, Warner Brothers and the band do not work together anymore?

We definitely do not.

Some people would be super bummed about that, but it sounds like you aren’t.

Yes, we are very happy. We feel free and excited to be able to do what we want and not answer to anymore. We want to experiment and have fun.

Being that you’ve been independent and have been on a major label – do you think a major label is the promised land for bands that it once was?

No, I don’t believe you do. I think you need a record label, but you don’t need a major one. It’s a lot of work putting out a record. When you’re in a band you’re focused on touring and writing songs, you need someone to get stuff manufactured, doing press, getting a record pressed — it’s a lot of work. It’s hard to do it without a label.

You’re performing on Saturday at Gentlemen of the Road in Seaside Heights, NJ — why should people come check your set out?

If you miss fun hard rock, you should check us out.

JEFF the Brotherhood performs at 2:50pm today at Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Seaside Heights, NJ. Click here for tickets.

Wasted On the Dream by JEFF the Brotherhood is available on iTunes.


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Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be six years old in 2015 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He can be read every Monday for the Happy Mondays Interview Series as well as his weekly reviews on Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men and Hannibal. His goal, once again, is to write 500 stories this year (a goal he accomplished in 2014). He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom
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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites