Jukebox the Ghost, a three-piece indie power pop band with a lot of spirit and an offbeat sense of humor, is reinventing itself. Currently, the band is touring with its fourth studio album, the self-titled Jukebox the Ghost. The new record is more professionally produced and layered in sound than previous ventures, bringing the band into the pop present while still remaining decidedly Jukebox. Tommy Siegel, the band’s guitarist, took a few minutes to speak with The Daily Californian about the new record, and their recent performances in San Francisco
Daily Cal: How was the SF show?
Tommy Siegel: It was awesome — definitely my favorite San Francisco show we’ve played to date. We had a great crowd, and lots of people were dancing. We have a stuffed dog as our tour mascot, and we crowd-surfed him during the set.
DC: How has it been playing the new songs live?
TS: It’s actually been going better than previous new records. I’m not sure what it is, but fans just seem a lot more aware of the new material, which is really nice. Usually it takes a couple of tours for people to warm up to the new stuff.
DC: How is the new album different stylistically from anything you’ve done before?
TS: Stylistically, it’s definitely a lot bigger in sound. Usually on previous records, our foundation on every song was guitar, piano and drums, and then everything else was bells and whistles on top. With this record we went with an “anything goes” sort of mentality, so there’s a lot of stuff we haven’t used on previous records, like electronic drums, a lot more bass and crazy synths.
DC: This is your fourth studio album. Why did you choose to self-title this album?
TS: One reason is we were all seriously proud of the record, but it also kind of felt like we were hitting a reset button as a band. We’ve been a band for a long time — it’s been the same three of us since 2004. So it just felt like a new, fresh approach to really enjoying each other’s company and enjoying making records together.
DC: Did you draw inspiration from anywhere new and different this time around?
TS: It’s really hard to draw direct parallels. Song by song, there’s always something small. In “Girl,” for the arrangement we were trying to channel something like “California Love,” a ’90s hip hop kind of vibe. “The One” is a lot more electronic than anything we’ve done in the past. “Hollywood” is definitely our attempt to do a Queen thing.
DC: Your music video for “The Great Unknown” was filmed partly here in the Bay Area. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like to film that?
TS: It was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had making a music video. We just got to hang out and drive around, so that was great, and we were all really happy with how it turned out. It was filmed from a drone with a GoPro attached to it.
DC: You (Tommy Siegel) recently released a book of van doodles that you draw on the road as per request from fans on Twitter. Can you talk about that a little?
TS: It’s just another fun thing that people can have related to the band. It’s a really fun way to keep in touch with fans and keep entertained on the road. It keeps my brain awake — otherwise you just sit for 10 hours a day staring at your phone. It lets you do something different.
DC: If each of you were an animal, what animal would you be?
TS: I would be a seagull because my last name is Siegel, and Jesse says he would be a red panda. Ben would be a llama because he looks like a llama. He says he doesn’t look like all llamas, but we were at a zoo one time, and there was a llama who looked startlingly like Ben
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