Must Build Jacuzzi is a punk-ska band from Illinois. I caught up with Bill Allison, vocals/bass and Caleb Rose, guitar and vocals, to talk about their sound, new record and their recording process.
Your music is unique, punk with a very strong ska presence. What inspired you to mix the two sounds together?
(Bill) We’ve grown upon punk and alternative music, and with ska as our favorite, it only made sense to combine it with our favorite aspects of other genres. It’s not anything particularly new for those well entrenched in the deepest parts of third wave ska, but we’re proud of our take on ska/punk.
(Caleb) So Bill and I usually write the general structure of our songs and all the other members add their own spice to it when we get together to practice. We never really write a song trying to fit a certain criteria sound wise if that makes sense. Like, if I write a song that sounds different than our other stuff, we don’t say “we can’t play that song because it’s not MBJ. ”We’ll write an upbeat ska song then go right into a more heavy pop punk inspired one. We write music that we want to play.
Your newest record, Last Place, dropped April 27th, what’s one track that you believe stands out amongst the rest?
(Caleb) Hmm.. that’s a tough one because they all kinda have a unique feel. People have told us their favorite songs, and they all seem to be different.
(Bill) I think the album has a pretty solid ebb and flow, with a subtle motif that runs the gamut of our life experience, but I most definitely think my favorite track on the album is Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse, as it kind of sums up the entire album and our collective emotional energy therein.
Making an album can be a stressful process, did you run into any disagreements while recording?
(Caleb) So, the most stressful part about this album was finding time to all get together to record it. I live in St. Louis and most of the other guys are in central and northern IL. Since I do the recording and engineering, I just bring all my equipment to wherever we’re able jam. Some of this album was recorded in the office where I work, some in my house, and some in the basement of our good friends Marshall and Ashley Brown of Parental Petulance. Our recording experience has always been a positive one because it’s just all of us hanging out and doing what we love.
(Bill) We’ve been friends for so long and playing together for almost as long as that, so we get along pretty well and know how to communicate our thoughts and feelings. It’s hard to have big egos in a ska band.
Your EP, Chugz & Nugz is fast paced and has a fun, light-hearted overall feel to it, can listeners except any difference with Last Place?
(Caleb) We feel like Last Place keeps all the high energy feel of Chugz & Nugz, but adds more elements of experimentation. We really tried to push ourselves with these songs.
(Bill) I think Chugz & Nugz was a pretty solid EP with some fun songs, but I think on this album we really put together some top notch compositions and pushed ourselves musically in a few different directions. It’s pretty awesome to be able to switch between modern pop punk, 2000’s metalcore influences, and then standard ska/punk anthems.
What do you hope that fans take away from the lyrics in songs off of Last Place?
(Bill) While my own lyrical contributions on this album are far from subtle, I think a lot of this album sums up our personal experiences over the last year or so, and that’s kinda a sampling of life in your 20s and figuring things out and struggling and inadequacies and ultimately hope and determination.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
(Caleb) One of the first bands that got me into the alternative punk genre would have to be Relient K. From there bands like Five Iron Frenzy, early Fall Out Boy, Less Than Jake, and Anberlin have all been pretty big influences for me.
(Bill) I’d have to say that personally, my biggest ska influences are Mustard Plug and MU330. Punk would currently be Flatfoot 56 and NOFX. On this particular album, I think we do a really good job of channeling The Wonder Years and Five Iron Frenzy.
You’ve done some touring, what’s your favorite show experience so far?
(Bill) Our home-state fest Audiofeed is a super awesome community that has treated us well and really accepted us for being so out there with our music, so definitely they’re top tier. We’ve had some rad shows all over the place though, from the abandoned hospital punk scenes of Texas to converted strip clubs hosting ska shows in Chicago, we’ll take the road to anywhere as long as we’re still standing here.
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