PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do
you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?
Jimmy Francis (JF): We make dynamic pop music masked with jazz chords,
intricate harmonies, and off-kilter song structures. We have two main
songwriters/frontmen (Brandon Kleiber and myself) and we both sing a
whole lot on our own songs as well as each other’s songs.
PEV: Predominately located in Northern Jersey, what kind of music were
the members of the band into growing up? Do you remember your first
JF: Growing up, I listened to a bunch of alternative music from the
80s and 90s. I loved stuff like Pixies, Weezer, Nada Surf, New Order,
Tears for Fears, Pavement, etc. My uncle, Jack Petruzzelli, has been a
professional musician for many years and one thing he does is play in
this amazing Beatles cover band called The Fab Faux. So Beatles music
has been a big part of my life since I was young. I know Brandon was
big into Bright Eyes while growing up and he is a big fan of
electronic music. We also share a love for the Beach Boys.
The first concert I remember attending was Goo Goo Dolls with Sugar
Ray and Fastball. I think I was 12 or 13. I want to say that Brandon’s
first concert was Yes, which was probably way cooler.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene in your
hometown, when you first started out as a band? What was your first
show like together as a band?
JF: Brandon and I first started playing in a band called St. Sat B
along a few other musicians. That lasted from 2005-2009. While trying
to make a name for ourselves, we sort of got the feeling that for
every step we took forward, we took two steps back. It was a little
disenchanting for us. Since we got together as a duo in 2010 under The
Static Sea, things have been going much better. We got the deal with
Overpop (our Jersey City-based label) fairly quickly and things seem
to be coming together for us. Our first show as The Static Sea is
happening this Friday (May 4).
PEV: What can fans expect from a live The Static Sea show?
JF: High energy, talented musicians, and more people than you hear on
the record. We
recorded the EP and the album as a duo. Since its completion back in
had a few great people join up with us. Ben Miller on drums, Beth Bird
of keyboards, and Chris Rib on bass. We’re also been working with an
incredible string player who’s been playing in orchestras in NYC for a
while, but it’s a little too new to make an announcement.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
JF: “Shit…” Honestly, I try not to think too much when I get on
stage. I still get freaked out. After the first couple notes, though,
all is well and it’s one of the best feelings ever.
PEV: Having played with other musicians over the years, how is working
together as The Static Sea different than other artists in the past?
JF: Brandon is not only a collaborator, but he’s a great a friend to
me. Because of that, it’s much easier for me to share even my most
embarrassing/personal ideas with him. We also trust each other’s
musical decisions completely. I can’t imagine working the way we work
with anyone else.
Playing with our newest additions has been a dream. Ben is a terrific
drummer with a harder edge, making our prettiest songs have moments of
sublime nastiness. Beth has been writing keyboard parts to these songs
that we wish we would have written and recorded on the album ourselves.
As a singer, her voice kills me. She’s incredible. Chris is probably
the most talented bass player I’ve ever had the pleasure of working
with. Even better, we starting working on harmonies with him because
the dude can really sing. We’re very lucky.
PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get
your best ideas for songs?
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out do you ever look back
at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve
arrived where you are today?
JF: To us, this band is still in it’s beginning stages. Even still,
we’re getting these fantastic opportunities that have been coming our
way– talking to you, for instance. It’s been hard to fully process.
We’re by no means a well-known band in the slightest, but these steps
forward are something we’ve never experienced in other projects. We’re
very excited and very grateful.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of
The Static Sea?
JF: Half of us are huge fans of Battlestar Galactica and we’re slowly
trying to indoctrinate the other half.
PEV: What is the story behind the band name?
JF: It came to me in the shower. We’ve always been partial to nautical themes.
PEV: Tell us about your latest release, your first full-length album,
Third Parties. What can fans expect from this work?
JF: If every instrument we owned was a bucket of paint, we ran out of
paint after every song. For better or worse
PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song is complete and you can
sit back and listen to it being played the way you envisioned?
JF: Intensely satisfying. Words cannot express.
PEV: With all your traveling is there one area you wish you could
travel around and play that you have not yet?
JF: I think we’d be happy just leaving the tri-state area (NJ, NY, CT)
once in a while. I personally, would love to go to Japan. Some of us
are big video game nerds.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?
What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?
JF: Our friends and family couldn’t be more supportive. In previous
bands, the hometown shows are usually the best.
PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from
JF: Reading, watching movies, video games. Normal stuff. Brandon
spends his off days with his family, hanging out with his daughter. I
think I’ve overheard Beth talking about a garden. Maybe.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your
dream collaboration? Why?
JF: I think every single one of us would have a different answer to
this. Personally, for a past artist I would go with Ian Dury. He was
just the coolest. His music was so much fun. As for a present artist,
Rihanna. Nowadays, if you sing a track with Rihanna that means you
win, hahah. I would hang up my guitar. Even better, Beyonce.
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all
be looking out for now?
JF: It’s not right to say that they’re an up-and-coming band because
they’ve been at it for so long, but there is no conceivable reason why
The Velvet Teen is not the biggest band in the entire world. It’s not
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal) what do you
think each of you would be your career?
JF: I would be a professional pizza consumer. Brandon would probably
enter some line of work that involves face punching. Beth would put
her forthcoming English degree to work. Ben would become a male
escort. Chris would be working at Tito’s Hotdog Stand.
PEV: So, what is next for The Static Sea?
JF: Hopefully a tour! In the meantime, we’re been writing another record.