Jack and Jack: “Fans’ reactions influence our decisions on what songs we perform”
The American twosome stopped in the UK for a show at London's Bush Hall.
Jack and Jack, the American pop/rap duo made up of Jack Johnson and Jack Gillinsky, recently traveled to the UK to play to a sold-out crowd at Bush Hall. We caught up with the guys before they hopped on a plane back to the States to ask them about their upcoming music, future collaboration possibilities, and more.
We just saw you live at Bush Hall! When can fans expect an EP/album? Are there plans for another tour soon?
Jack G: You can expect a new EP in the next month! You can expect an album in the next 12 months.
Jack J: On the tour, we’re trying to take it worldwide for sure. We’re definitely trying to do a world tour.
Jack G: I’d say the top of next year for that.
Jack J: Yes, end of the year or top of next year. We just met a bunch of people from our international team behind the scenes at that Bush Hall show last month, so it was great to meet all those guys and to put faces to the names, and we’re excited to get that going.
You’ve worked up a large collection of songs. How do you decide which ones to perform live? Do fans’ reactions at previous shows impact your decision?
Jack J: I would definitely say fans’ reactions influence our decisions on what songs we perform. Like for instance, we’ve been performing this song called ‘Like That’ for four years now, and some songs we performed four years ago we don’t perform anymore — but that’s because the fans’ reaction to that song is so hype.
Jack G: So that’s why that song stuck around, you know, and outlasted some of the others.
Jack J: And of course we have some of our personal favourites that we just love.
Jack G: Totally, and I think how fans react might affect the order more than what songs we play, because Jack and I like to play songs that are sometimes unreleased that the fans might not even know — but a lot of it is the order, so sometimes you might want to throw in an unreleased song next, as you’ve been playing a lot of released music so you want to do something different. So, usually around halfway through the set, we’d play at least one unreleased track everytime.
If you had to have one of your lyrics tattooed on you, what would it be?
Jack G: For me, I’d write the words ‘NEVER CHANGE’ on my arm, just as a reminder. I’m not usually worried about that kind of thing, but it’s just a reminder to never change and to stay who you are. But Johnson has a lot of intricate bars in his verses.
Jack J: I would tattoo the lyric ‘Things change, people change’ on me, just to let me know that the only thing consistent in life is me. Everything else around me is variable and can always change at any given time, and so not to put too much faith in anybody else except for myself.
PRETTYMUCH supported you on your last tour, is there any talk of a possible collab with them? That would be huge!
Jack G: I think that would be huge too. We haven’t really thought about it. We’ve always gotten creative with them in the studio, just on like a chill vibe, not on anything business-wise. But I think if we came across a song that we felt worked for both of us, it would be definitely be something that all of us would be open to, just because we’re so close friends with them. But no talks as of right now.
Jack J: We’ve definitely vibed in the studio with Brandon and Zion and Austin, pretty much all of them. One night, we were just messing around at their house, but we’ve never made anything serious yet. But that day definitely might come.
Are you nervous when you drop a new song? What do you do while waiting to see if your fans like it?
Jack G: I’m always a little anxious. I wouldn’t say nervous. Our fans have always supported us, even through — in my opinion — what was the worst of the music that we’ve had.
Jack J: Excited is more the phrase for me. I’m always excited to see the reaction, but I’m never nervous, because I know what we’re putting out, and you know Jack and I are fully confident in every release. So you know I know the fans are going to like it, and the masses are going to enjoy it, because I’d like to say our music is sonically pleasing — at least to me, speaking from a personal standpoint — so hopefully other people can relate. So I’m more excited than nervous.
What’s been the most memorable response from fans to a new song?
Jack G: I remember when we dropped the ‘Gone’ EP. I mean, of course you have stuff like ‘Like That’, where it’s a very, very dramatic change in music — at least for us early on in our musical career. But I think the ‘Gone’ EP came out about a year ago this June, and that was a huge change for us musically, and I love the reaction we got from fans.
Jack J: The pop-up tour we went on shortly after that was crazy. I think the fans really appreciated how much the music had matured between the ‘Calabraska’ EP up until the ‘Gone’ EP, so there was a very drastric, mature change, I think, and I really think the fans appreciated that.
What song are you most proud to have written?
Jack J: That’s tough…
Jack G: We have a couple that haven’t come out yet. One that’s out right now, I’d say ‘Like That’. To say you’ve organically written a hook that sold hundreds of thousands — probably millions at this point — is just a crazy feeling. It’s honestly a dream come true. If I don’t accomplish anything more in my life, that’s pretty awesome. And also this song called ‘Two Cigarettes’ is very meaningful to me, and I think that song’s a really dope thing to be able to say you’ve wrote.
Jack J: I would say the one we just recently dropped called ‘Stay With Me’ is really dope. Some of my favourite verses I’ve ever rapped on are on that for sure. And I really like ‘Storytelling’, so that one really allowed me to story-tell, which was really cool. So those are most probably my proudest two I’ve written up to date.
What current song by another artist do you wish you’d written?
Jack G: Ok, so you said current song, but I’m going to go for an older song. I love ‘Mr Brightside’ by the Killers. I really wish I’d written that.
Jack J: Mine would probably be ‘Get You’ by Daniel Caesar. That’s probably one of the best songs of the last five years, if not 10 years. That song is beautiful.
If you could collab with any artist today who would it be and why?
Jack J: That’s hard. There’s so many talented artists…
Jack G: And there’s so many cool artists that aren’t even like the most talented but have just have a cool thing about them! I’d say, if I’m going to collab with someone, I want it to be a very lucrative experience for everyone. Not like, lucrative money-wise, but I want everyone to gain something from it.
So for me, I think someone like a Daniel Caesar or Anderson Paak, where I know they could musically teach me something. Or even like a Charlie Puth, because, even though we make very different music, that guy is very genius when it comes to melodies. There’s like a science and formula behind his methods, and it’s something that most people don’t understand — people who don’t have an ear for music and even someone who has an ear for music. Charlie Puth is just one of them guys who is doing it perfectly, as he’s so pitch perfect and knows music so well. He’s crazy.
Jack J: I would say for me it would probably be Pharrell. We were just listening to the ‘Lemon’ song that he dropped with Rihanna, the Drake remix, and I really realized how unique all of Pharrell’s beats are. And on top of that, he’ll vocalise on songs and jump on songs with his voice and add that much more with his swag and make it just that much fresher. So I feel that Pharrell would be a dope one to get in with, and I feel I’d soak up a lot in the studio.