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Interview With 'Jack Of None'

Firstly, introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?

We’re 3 siblings who grew up in a family of artists in the Philippines. Music and the arts aren’t things we “got into”. They were in our blood, in the air we breathed, and in every conversation with Mom and Dad around the dinner table.

I’m the band’s principal composer, guitarist, programmer and producer. I currently reside in Chicago, where I also manage software development teams for a large, multinational technology consulting firm.

Maxine is our vocalist and lyricist. She’s also a renowned visual artist, poet and performance artist.

Julian is our lead guitarist and the band’s youngest member. Like Maxine, he’s also involved in the visual arts as an abstract painter.

All three of us have been in a number of music-related projects in the past. The most notable is probably the band Faust!, which was the youngest commercially signed and recorded band in the Philippines in the mid-to-late 90’s. Before disbanding, Faust! launched a series of experimental recordings as part of a project called “My Secret Identity”. These were probably the first recordings to be given away for free on the Internet by a group of commercially signed artists in the Philippines.

This was back in the very early days of the MP3 format -- when files were encoded with command lines, you needed dedicated software to listen to the format, and data was transmitted over dial-up connections.

A lot has changed since then, but we like to think of Jack of None as the spiritual successor to that -- in an age where the Internet is a part of life, and digital is the primary means of distribution.

What were you all up too prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?

We were busy with our individual endeavors (artistic and otherwise), but were still finding ways to collaborate. Maxine and I, for instance, were performing in an experimental band called “Utakan” along with my wife, Mica. The band was frequenting poetry and performance art events around the Philippines in the early 2000’s. This was before work took me to the States.

We grew up together, are as close as siblings can be, and have always relied on each other. That’s how it’s always been.

Tell us about your latest EP and why our readers should check it out.

The EP is comprised of 4 tracks that we feel best represent our sound and the type of band we aspire to be.

It’s always a challenge for us having to describe our music, primarily because we understand that people like to define things by comparing them to other things -- e.g. these groups wear tight leather, and those groups wear loose-fitting flannel. The challenge comes from not being able to compare what we do to anything else that’s out there.

We feel like listening to “The Tattle Tale Heart” is the best way for somebody to gain familiarity with, and get an understanding of who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish.

Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?

My wife and I saw Helmet perform live for the first time not too long ago. It was an intimate setting, and Page Hamilton was at the top of his game. He has such a unique artistic voice and is the perfect example of somebody who has mastered his craft. We were blown away!

If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?

A fusion of Experimental Rock with poetry and performance art. Something different... An experience that’s unique...

If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?

For me, it would probably be Nine Inch Nails. I’ve been a fan of every incarnation of the band, and especially love its current line-up (with Atticus Ross). I love how they choose to represent themselves and go about doing what they do.

You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?

Trent Reznor. I’ve always been a huge fan of his.

In the interviews I've read and listened to, he’s always so insightful. There would also be no shortage of things to ask him about -- from what it was like touring with Bowie in the 90’s; to working on film with the likes of David Fincher; to working on TV with David Lynch; to working in corporate America with Apple.

And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

Absolutely! Together with Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns”, it never fails to put us in that holiday spirit!

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