Jenn’s Apartment – Interview

Photo Credit: Donte Smith

Jan 21st – Last week, Lansing, MI pop-punk rockers Jenn’s Apartment released their newest single ‘Tall Bois’, and this week they’re here to talk with us about their background, their writing process, and what they have planned next for the band!

Hello Jenn’s Apartment, and welcome to Alternative Sound! To start, tell us who you all are, where you’re from, your pronouns, and what you do!
Justin Pine: He/him; Drummer of the band from Lansing, Michigan
Roy Kirby: He/him, from Lansing, MI. I play guitar, and am the lead singer.
Chris Davis: He/him; Bass and backing vocalist
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard of your genre before?
Justin: Our sound is comparable to bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Weezer, or Gin Blossoms.
Roy: Punk rock but with poppy songs, guitar solos, and sometimes the tempos are slower because the band is too stoned.
Chris: Like Husker Du and Gin Blossoms had a baby that smoked a lot of weed
What made you want to start playing music? Who are some of your major influences?
Justin: My parents, aunts, and uncles were big into the 70’s and 80’s rock scene so I grew up with classic rock. I admired the big name drummers of that era (Neil Peart, John Bonham, Keith Moon). In my teenage years I got into the pop-punk bands of the 2000’s such as Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World, Green Day, etc. I am a big Travis Barker fan like many other drummers 🙂
Roy: My dad was a guitar player and singer, when he died he left me his guitar and made me promise that it would never go unplayed; so here I am! I grew up listening to my parents folk, blues, and country records, when I started discovering my own music my favorites became a lot of 90’s and early 2000’s punk and hardcore acts like Jawbreaker, Alkaline Trio, and Lifetime. Also 80’s alternative acts like The Replacements, The Cure, and The Police.
Chris: Tool.. first time I heard nasty crunchy bass and I wondered why more bands didn’t have that lol. My influences are too many to mention but in this band I try to steer our song writing and structure to a Gaslight Anthem, Hold Steady kind of direction.
How has living in Lansing influenced your music? What’s the music scene like?
Justin: I grew up in Lansing during a “post-industrial” setting. A lot of closed shops, abandoned buildings, and a perspective of a prosperous time gone. Our music and lyrics reflect the everyday struggle of living in a post-industrial city.
Roy: Like Justin said, Lansing is a post industrial city, opportunities can be far between and less than ideal when they do arrive. You don’t make your own luck here, your luck of the draw makes you. Our music reflects that but tries to present it with an upbeat and palatable taste. Like Michigan sunshine on a winter day. The music scene is present but lacks the leadership to have a true boom. Though lots of talented musicians call the city home.
Chris: Living in Lansing is like having a buddy who is super awesome to hang out with on occasions. A wild person with a unique and implacable charm. You guys hang out every once in a while and you have the greatest time but at the end of the night you almost get arrested and he steals 200 bucks from you before riding off in the sunset. You’re upset at them but they still end up holding a special place in your heart.
When you aren’t playing music, what are you doing? Any special skills?
Justin: When we aren’t playing music, we also run a podcast entitled “Hanging Out With Jenn’s Apartment” where we discuss music with other artists and tell stories. I also enjoy traveling with my fiance, attending sporting events, and spending time with friends and family.  
Roy: I am a cultivation department head for a commercial cannabis business, I love growing marijuana at my job and many other vegetables and herbs at home in my own garden. I also love cooking and am hoping to do a cooking with Jenn’s Apartment segment very soon on our YouTube channel!
Chris: I am usually locked in a carbonate like state until I’m needed for musical battle.. the band shows up and pours a few beers on me and I spring to life like a sticky smelly Lazarus.. joking. We’re trying to get a podcast of the ground and  I watch a lot of MMA and play with my cats
What is the writing process like between all three of you? Do you switch up who writes what, or is it pretty consistent?
Justin: Roy has written the lyrics for the band since the beginning of the band. We’ll throw in a line here and there but Roy has always been the lyricist. The three of us write the music collectively for our own instruments, but we’ll give each other suggestions to improve the song.
Roy: Like Justin mentioned, I write the lyrics; with the band contributing or inspiring a line here and there; while the band comes together to make the music and really give the song it’s vibe so to speak. Some of the songs were meant to have a different feel when conceived but then the band gets a hold of it and it finds a whole new life!
Chris: Roy is the main songwriter, then me and Justin come along and make the song actually sound good. Oh! jk we love you Roy. Justin nailed it!
Speaking of writing music – Y’all released your new single ‘Tall Bois’ on January 17th! Can you tell us about that song?
Justin: The concept of the song is the loneliness behind today’s hookup culture. Many of the lyrics revolve around a “tall boy” and the feeling of being used and cast out. I find the song a little comical in that I’m only 5’9 which is not considered tall so the song is definitely not about me haha.
Roy:  I wrote each of the two verses for Tall Bois at separate points in a couple month period. The first was reflecting on a hook up that was a bad decision and the second was reflecting on one that came out of a good decision; or at least the attempt to make a good decision…but at the end of the day they both had just as lonely as a result; and I was overthinking about how these decisions that are supposed to lead us feeling less lonely often make us feel more lonely. I was just trying to capture that feeling and put it into a bouncy pop song.
Chris: See Roy and Justin
How is this song different from other songs you’ve written for Jenn’s Apartment? 
Justin: Tall Bois features a small breakdown, something we normally don’t do in our songs.
Roy: We manage to squeeze in a 90’s hardcore esque breakdown and it doesn’t even sound out of place!
Chris: As a member of the rhythm section I enjoy that the song is a little more in the backbeat than most of our jams.. gives it a fun funky bop
For you to see a song go from just ideas to the final recording ready to be shared with the world, how does that feel? What was the process like getting the song to its final stage?
Justin: Seeing a song start from ideas to a final published work is both a fun and grueling process. Recording in our own studio allows us to be more creative, more laid back, and not feeling pressured by pay-by-the-hour studio time. We still spend many hours in our studio but we feel we have more control over the process of recording. 
Roy: Seeing a song go from some chords with some lyrics to the finished jam you find up on Spotify will forever be my favorite part of playing music.
Chris: Some songs go from demo to final with very little changes. I think it’s always fun when we take an idea and throw it on its head. Our song “Romance in Dorne” started of as a cute little acoustic ballad then me and Justin came along and made it a slammer. 
Besides releasing this killer new song (today/last week), can y’all think of any other times you’ve had a band that you’re really proud of or stood out to you in some way?
Justin: I was a member of the Michigan State Drumline from 2012-2014. I was able to travel, improve my musical craft, and perform in front of an audience of over 80,000 every week in the fall. I had five seconds of fame when my face flashed across the tv during the Rose Bowl game halftime show in 2014 which was viewed by millions!
Roy: In my eighteen years in the Michigan music scene I’ve gotten to share stages with and meet some of my favorite bands that I grew up loving and listening to. My two favorites over the years being Catch 22, and The Ataris.
Chris: I’ve been pretty proud of our last 2/3 releases. As the guy who records and handles all the production I think we’ve found an aesthetic that’s closer to what I was envisioning from the beginning. it’s pretty but still raw. It sounds intimate, like you’re in the studio with us. Some modern production styles can be a bit too squeaky clean and I personally feel that it strips a lot of the personality out of the record. We’ve also started to really come to acquire a sound that feels like it’s our own. As a musician sometimes you don’t even realize how much your influences can actually overwhelm your own style. You’re playing your own material but it ends up sounding like a bad impression of whatever artist you’re into. It takes a bit of cutting your teeth to shed that and become the musical butterfly you were meant to be. Combine that with our recent production developments and it has produced some content that I am proud to unleash on the world.
What is the number one reason why everyone should check out your new single, ‘Insert Single’?
Justin: Tall Bois is just the start of a whole collection of songs we’ve tracked that will be released in the coming months. Once you hear our single, you’ll be hooked 🙂
Roy: See Justin and Davis
Chris: Because it’s dope baby! Peep this hot fire!
What’s next for Jenn’s Apartment? Any shows, tours, or new music in the near future?
Justin: We will be playing our single release show for “Tall Bois” at The Avenue in Lansing, Michigan Saturday February 1st. Free show! 🙂

Other Upcoming Shows:

3/14: Hardy’s in Elkhart, IN
3/21: The Music Box in Jackson, MI
3/28: Displaced Manor in Lansing, MI
4/11: Chet’s Corner Bar in Bay City, MI

We have other shows planned but can’t announce them yet 🙂 We will also be releasing a new single or EP next month and a full length album around 4/20 like we have the past two years!
Roy: So much music you’re gonna ask yourselves “Do these guys ever stop writing songs?!”
Chris: Jenn’s Apartment is coming to take the world by storm!  

Cover Image by Donte Smith

Photo Credit: Donte Smith

Thanks Jenn’s Apartment! ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s