Photo Credit: ReverbNation
The Jackets are a sonically bold, stylish punk rock power trio from Switzerland. At its heart, the band takes the DIY spirit of garage punk and blends it with inspiration from the visual art movement of Dada and tones of ‘60s psychedelia. Their energy and stage presence is unmatched—once again, they’re bringing that infectious excitement to their recordings with the release of “Pie in the Sky” and Misery of Man.”
I was watching some videos of your live shows in 2019. You guys are energetic and bring so much energy with only three people! How should I describe you if I were to bring someone who’s never heard of your band to a live show?
Chris Rosales: The Jackets are a big, little band for sure. Mostly because we turn up so loud on stage! I would describe us as a fuzzy, punk band with a message and a show. We used to define ourselves as “garage punk entertainment.” It’s exciting and theatrical and a bit corny and overdone as well! It’s just fun, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. That’s the down-to-earth part about us, for sure.
Garage rock is such a radical genre because of how down-to-earth it feels. How did you get started as a band? How did you meet, and what motivated you to start performing together?
Chris Rosales: I met Jackie in the late '90s. We were a romantic couple for many years, and one of our goals was to start a great rock & roll band together because we had been in many bands before, but all the other members didn't want to do the band thing 100%. We started writing songs together and rehearsing with just guitar and drums in 2005. Eventually, we wanted a bigger sound, so I asked one of my favorite bass players here in Bern, Switzerland, to play with us—Severin Erni from a band called Tight Finks. We had our first show in January of 2008. Severin wanted to start a family and wasn't going to be free to play full-time in a band, so he agreed to finish all the bookings we had so far and to record bass on our first recordings, but he couldn't go on with us after that. We met Sam, our current bass player because he was the local promoter at a club where we performed. After the gig, we stayed up all night drinking and talking to Sam. To make a long story short, Sam became our bass player a month later. Jackie and I are no longer romantically linked, but we are the best of friends!
Vocally, I definitely hear a lot of comparisons to Siouxsie Sioux. Who would you say are some of your biggest influences that others wouldn't immediately expect?
Jack Torera: My major influences are Patti Smith, Nina Hagen, Arthur Lee, The Gun Club, The Music Machine, and Van Morrison’s band in the ’60s, Them. Maybe you didn’t expect one of those?
Chris Rosales: We love The Cramps, The Monks, The Music Machine, The MC5, Love, 13th Floor Elevators, The Seeds, and Dead Moon, to name just a few. We love movies and fine arts. We love the DIY aspect of the punk movement and take a lot of inspiration from the Dada art movement that started here in Switzerland in the early 20th century.
From your outfits to the album covers and the music videos, the band has always had a phenomenal visual aesthetic. How did you come to find your unique visual style?
Jack Torera: We like to make things ourselves; we look for simple solutions and how to add our personalities. The concept behind the costumes is simplicity and a uniform look—a band. And these clothes are easy to replace and wash!
The band likes to take their time between album release cycles. How does the writing process look for the band? Do you come into each album with an idea of what you want it to be?
Chris Rosales: Our songwriting formula has evolved over the years. In the early years, Jackie and I wrote the songs together—Jackie would come up with the melodies and riffs, and I would write the text, then arrange the music together. But since 2015 or so, Jackie has been coming up with full demos of songs, and then we will all fine-tune the arrangement in the rehearsal room. I still write a lot of text, but Jackie has written many songs on her own now. The songs from the new single sessions were half and half. For instance, with the new songs—“Misery of Man” was a fully finished demo that Jackie brought to us, and “Pie in the Sky” was more of a melody that Jackie had, and we all refined it in rehearsals. I wrote a lot of the lyrics to both songs, but Jackie was right there with me while I was doing that. Sam has written a few songs, music, and lyrics over the years, and I have as well.
I absolutely loved your new single, “Pie in the Sky.” The song's subject matter about a desire for change is powerful. Is this change reflected musically in your next project?
Jack Torera: If you're referring to the direction we're going with our songs, then maybe yes. We feel freer these days and not so content just writing the usual garage-punk tunes. Our next release will be another vinyl single, but this time on Chaputa! Records out of Portugal. We hope these two songs will be from the Pie in the Sky recording sessions last year, and the subject matter and songwriting will continue to surprise you!
I heard your drummer is a huge fan of college basketball. I honestly am not, but I want to get into it. What bands do you think most closely relate to teams in the Big East, and why?
Chris Rosales: Well, if you’re not a big fan, then let’s pass on this, but I love an underdog, and I believe Georgetown is ranked last in the Big East. So maybe you’re like The Ramones because you aren’t getting any breaks at all. Feel free not to print this answer!
Is there anything I’ve missed that you would like to mention?
The Jackets: We don’t think so. Or you can write somewhere that founding members Jack Torera (lead guitarist and vocals) and Chris Rosales (drums) answered these questions. And thanks for the opportunity!
Andres Alfonso is a junior studying CULP and will now be rooting for Georgetown Basketball