Interview with Jeff Rosenstock

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by Allison Belcher
Music Reviewer

Rosenstock PhotoPhoto courtesy of Jeff Rosenstock’s Facebook

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    Interview with Jeff Rosenstock

Jeff Rosenstock, a 32 year old Baldwin, New York native, is a ska punk artist known best for being in Bomb the Music Industry! and The Arrogant Sons of B*tches. Rosenstock has released a second solo album this past March titled, “We cool?” Rosenstock and his band geared up and made way toward Austin to Red 7 and put on a kickin’ show. Prior to the show, an interview was conducted with discussion of what Rosenstock thought of Austin, and his future plans for his musical career.

Let’s start off with what got you started in music. What inspired you to want to pursue a career in music?

As far as what inspired me to want to go on tour and pursue it as a career – that’s a pretty new thing for me. I’ve been in bands for a long time and this is the first time I wanted to see if it would work as a thing. I’ve been lucky that people have liked my music and have wanted me to go on tour with them because we used to not tour all that much and I never really made it a point to actually go on tour. I realized that it was a thing that would make people happy, and so I went for it. We were all just kind of nerds in High School and in ska bands and we kept doing it. Growing up the local hardcore scene changed things for me and it made me feel like I could be in a band because the musicians themselves were teenagers and in a band.

So this is your second solo album. Did you have a certain creative process that you went through when writing for this solo album as opposed to when you were writing music for your old band “Bomb the Music Industry!”?

Not really, I’m not the kind of person who sits down to write. If I have an idea I try to stop what I’m doing and complete that idea. I’m not a person who likes to listen to “perfect music”, but I am a harsh critic of my work. I don’t necessarily have a specific process that I go through when writing my music. I just try to complete whatever pops into my head.

I was actually watching a live performance of you and your band and I couldn’t help but notice that you were all dressed in dog costumes. Yours in particular looked a lot like the dog costume from Wilfred. Are you a fan of that show?

I’ve seen some of the first season, and I don’t watch a lot of television, but the bit that I did see of the show was good. We played an episode of the show where the audience was entirely dogs and I was under the impression that we wouldn’t be playing for anybody at the live show, so I figured that if it was “all dogs all day” we should get dog costumes and dress up as different dogs.

I really like that, I almost want to go out and get my own dog costume. For lounging around in and stuff? Definitely.

So how would you compare your fan base in different states? For example, what is the fan base like here in Texas as opposed to New York where you’re from?

New York is our home so it’s always so much fun to play there where people really care. My friends don’t care too much that I’m in a band, which I think is a good thing. There are a few places in the bay area that really feel like home and that are a lot of fun to play at. The fans are genuinely nice and I have yet to meet a single mean person. It was a bit different with Bomb the Music Industry! because we would get drunken jerks every now and then. We would sometimes just laugh and point at the person who was being a macho weirdo and yell, “Everybody look at this jerk!” But other than that, everyone is incredibly nice and the fans are great.

Hah, I mean in a way it’s like you’re doing society a favor by calling out the jerks, so thanks. So you’ve started up Quote Unquote Records, how is that going so far?

It’s really cool, it’s a cool world to be a part of. It was really neat when it was first starting up in 2008 because that was when Bandcamp didn’t really exist. I wanted to do it for my friends to help them get started with their bands. I wanted to do everything low cost. Get cheap music out there, cheap CDs and get people listening. I got to put out a lot of really cool EPs for great bands and because of that it’s an awesome thing to have started up.

That really is great, especially because it can be a hard process for local bands to really get out there and get started up. Lastly, where do you see yourself in ten years time?

I honestly have no idea. If you asked me two years ago when Bomb the Music Industry! was breaking up I wouldn’t know what to say. All I can say for now is I hope to just keep producing music in my apartment like I’ve been doing, and to keep doing that until I run out of ideas. I’d like to keep flying out places and play gigs around cities every now and then. I can’t say for sure, but I’d like to just keep on making music and doing what I love.

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