PropertyOfZack Interview : : Andy Jackson

September 1, 2010

Andy Jackson - Death In The Park

PropertyOfZack had the chance to interview Andy Jackson (Terrible Things, ex-Hot Rod Circuit) for his solo project, Death In The Park. Andy and I discussed Death In The Park’s debut, self-titled, Terrible Things, and his time on Warped Tour this year. Andy was an incredibly nice guy, so make sure you read up and give a listen to Death In The Park’s new album!

You’ve been quite a busy man for the past 9 months to a year. Not only did you and Fred Mascherino create Terrible Things, but you are now releasing Death In The Park’s first record. Has it been stressful at all?
Not really cause we made the record before I even started all of this, with the Terrible Things, so it’s just kind of been sitting there. So if there was any stress, it just might have been thinking that it might not ever come out. Eventually, we did pretty well with the EP and everything and the label decided they wanted to put the record out.

How long has the album been waiting around to be released?
Almost going on two years now. Cause it was basically the end of ’07—that was the last of Hot Rod Circuit, and that’s when I started doing Death In The Park, and I had a lot of those songs written towards the end of Hot Rd Circuit. And we just went right on in and recorded the record, and we took a little while to mix it, and it’s been sitting there for a while. It just got mastered recently and putting it out sounds great, and I’m just really excited to put it out.

The idea for Death In The Park was created after 2007’s Warped Tour, for fans that don’t know, can you go into further detail about what exactly the idea behind the creation was?
Well first it was – I knew that Hot Rod was going to come to and end, so I started the idea of working on something new because I didn’t want to continue the band without Kasey (?) our guitar player—he started the band with me. And I just started writing some songs, and initially it was my solo contract: I had written about 4 or 5 of those songs by myself and played the drums and bass and guitar—everything on the record. And Ronnie was our sound guy—he works for Paramore as well—and we became really good friends and he was like, “Man if you ever want to do this stuff and have a guitar player I’d really love to play.” And kind of from there it just kind of slowly became a band. Pete started playing with me, then Derrick then Aaron the drummer and then we picked up Joe from Hot Rod Circuit who had played bass on the record. And then later Joe left to pursue with another band and we picked up this guy Jake who is actually playing with Terrible Things now.

And we have heard some of the tracks on the album which were previously on the EP. So all of these songs that were written at the same time as the EP and none of them are newer?
Pretty much. It was kind of all recorded at the same time. It was like we did the acoustic track, and I think there’s only two songs—two full versions—on the record, but they’re actually different mixes and different mastering too. And then we rereleased those two tracks and then everything else is everything that we recorded in that session.

How was the writing process different on this and than it used to be in Hot Rod Circuit or than it is currently in Terrible Things?
Well, a lot of Hot Rod Circuit, I had a lot of control of you know, writing the songs and the material, but I didn’t write all of lead guitar. So you know in Death In The Park, I took total control of writing the guitar and the vocals and the keyboard and the – you know, writing all the different melodies to keep it together.

And is that a cool different kind of feel to be able to not only have your own project but also to be able to control every aspect in your own way?
Yeah, it is, and at the same time, you know, Derrick, Ronnie, and Aaron have contributed stuff towards the end, and then as the band started writing stuff together, too, because once they kind of got the knack of the band and they started writing their own little versions of things, that worked well. So I think in the future there will be a lot more writing together for Death In The Park. But what you’re hearing now it’s pretty much all me. Aaron played drums and Joe (?) played bass and I played all the guitar and did all the vocals.

So can we expect Death In The Park to continue on after this release?
Yeah, I think it will. You know right now obviously the main focus on what I’m doing right now is with Terrible Things which is what I’m touring for and we’ve got a big push and things are going well, but definitely any downtime that I can use—I mean, we’re already talking about doing some stuff now. So trying to get some kind of touring involved and you know, we had a few tours we did, we took it seriously, and this happened and everybody else went their separate ways to do their jobs and stuff, but we’re definitely excited to get out and play new songs and actually make another record as well.

So might we see any tour dates then, and Terrible Things are doing a tour with Mae, but could we see anything by the end of the year?
I would think so. We were trying to throw something together for this thing in September but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Terrible Things is still out—we just finished up Warped the other day and we start up with Circa Survive tomorrow, so we’re staying pretty busy. But assuming I find some downtime, I personally think that it would be—the way it’s looking for touring—it’d probably be something towards the end of the year or the beginning of the year next year to like actually do a full tour.

So far two new songs, “Sway” and “How Much Is Too Much”, have been released on a streams. How has the reaction been so far to them?
So far everything I’ve seen or read or uh, ha, my fiancée kind of keeps up on stuff for me—she’ll be like oh you got this review. But yeah, things have been pretty cool so far.  And you know we did a couple of the songs acoustic on Warped Tour as well and those seemed to go over pretty good.

Can you tell us the story about your favorite song on the record?
Well, favorite song—I mean, really, my favorite song on that release is “Pitifully Exposed” I like that; it’s on the EP too. I just—I think I hit something really cool with that song and I just dug it. Like getting into details of what it’s about is a whole other story. But just musically the way it came across and together—I was just really into that song a lot.

So do you have any points in mind where you’d like to start doing more songs for the project in the next year or two?
Yes, and as a matter of fact there are some already written. There’s a couple of tracks that Aaron and Ronnie had worked out that were kind of—I don’t want to say like super heavy, but I guess in a way kinda had a really dark, heavy side to them. It was kind of weird—still retaining what we were doing but they were a little—a lot—heavier. I don’t know how to really say it. [Laughs]. Not like metal or anything, just really raw I guess. Kind of like a heavy Queen Of the Stone Age or something kind of feel.

And then regarding Terrible Things: how was the short run on Warped Tour?
It was good. We were in a van, and we were only on for eight days…we all thought it was going to be a little easier. We’ve all done it in buses and RVs and stuff before
POZ: It was hot!
Yeah, ha, it was pretty wild to do it in a van. I lost my voice a few days in, just getting it back now. But we had a really good time. Fans were—especially towards the end there I think we were figuring out what to do at Warped Tour.

Was it a different experience, beside the van stuff, this time being in Terrible Things versus Hot Rod Circuit?
Well I think in general for everyone and maybe even last year, Warped Tour has become something completely different anyway because the kids are so young that we’re even seeing that the kids that were there this year don’t even know who Taking Back Sunday or Coheed & Cambria is. Like they don’t even—we could have a sign and be like “You ever heard of” and whoever we say they’d never heard of these bands. And it’s a whole new breed of kids and you gotta just learn how to start all over in that environment anyway.

Is it exciting though to kind of try to break though into I suppose a new culture?
Oh, it really is. That’s what I’m saying: It took us to be towards the end of the thing to realize we’re really going to have to work a little harder. Walk out and you know handwrite 150 or 200 stickers, write our set times on the back and walk around and hand them out to people, introduce ourselves to people, and do it all day long. And that’s what you have to do to get the kids come see your music when they don’t know anything about it.

Terrible Things about to head out on a short run with Circa Survive and then play a one-off with Envy On The Coast and then you’ll also be touring with Mae on their farewell tour. Are you excited to finally be able to play shows with having the full record out?
Yeah, it’s going to be amazing. I think that’s’ what we’re all, all waiting on. It makes it kind of hard with no real record. It’s even harder to sell merch because people are more prone to buy your CD and a t-shirt but you’re not really going to buy a t-shirt from a band when you don’t have their music at all.  So yeah, I think we’re definitely excited to get the record out.

And then pushing into next year, so should we be able to expect some initial Death In The Park and then Terrible Thing dates?
You definitely will.

Great, thanks so much for your time, is there anything you’d like to add?
Go check out the Death In The Park record and you can also check out our sister band Evolett—their record comes out a few—maybe this week or next week. I think it might be the same release date as the Death In the Park record.

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