We dare you to go check out this epic art rock release ‘beer is free if you believe it is’ by the ‘free paintings’ band, fronted by guitarist and singer Jank Roy and drummer Alex Roman, their new album is an amalgamation of everything indie rock has been searching for for the last two decades. We hear influences from punk, surf rock, psychedelic folk, and shoegazing in this one. In order to get a bigger picture of this snapshot we contacted the band for a brief interview to get the story of what went into the record. We were surprised to find that not only are these older songs but that the band literally recorded this while living out of their van in Jamul California at a recording studio in an authentic 1950’s castle. What a trip!!!
So what inspired this release?
JR: It is inspired by the genre bending sounds that were present in popular music during the late 1980’s and early 90’s. this album is a collection of the songs i wrote for the original line up for free paintings. Karen Olson, Ryan Bahm, Alex Roman, and me the Jank Roy. Unfortunately the original line up were incompatible as musicians. Together we had a difficult time producing quality results. The only single we kept from that era was the 2017 ‘Mad Delta Kaleidoscopic Blues’ release. The rest of if just wasn’t the level of artistic accomplishment Alex, Brian and I expect out of anything that has our name on it. The original line up was full of arguments and heartache. We had to restructure the band so unfortunately we were unable to share this music until 2018 when we finally had the right equipment and people.
AR: The drumming was inspired by shoegazing classics such as Ride and Slowdive. The rhythm of skateboarding has inspired me to venture into drum patterns i have never heard in popular music. I’ve met a lot of really talented musicians this year on the road their innovations inspire me endlessly. I truly enjoy collaborating with musicians and artists. Its a shame when people can’t see a bigger picture that when you work as a group you have to let a part of your self go to create the best artistic results possible. When people don’t understand this they get selfish and it impedes progress. I feel blessed to be working with our current line-up and production crew they have a strong positive influence on our lives.
I heard you guys left the bay to produce this record, what’s up with that?
JR: yep, it was time to leave. I was working 2 jobs just to barely get by, the local scene had slowed down and we weren’t making enough at our jobs to both survive and tour. Something had to give, so I took the money I made from my jobs and I bought a miracle van off craigslist. We packed our entire lives into the van. I had contacted our friends from the up and coming COLOR FM collective in San Diego, they hooked us up with a recording studio in Jamul CA. It was such trip, the studio is located in 1950’s era vintage stone castle. We camped out of our Van for 3 weeks in Jamul CA in order to be close to the studio. The life we’ve been living since we left the bay feels like a long extravagant dream.
AR: That is true, the bay area confined us to a lifestyle of mediocrity due to the high cost of living and competitive nature. Not only is the scene competitive but there is less of a youth culture so the shows weren’t as fun as they once were. We were trying to push a pop influenced sound that is experimental and has strong instrumentation, the pool of musicians we had out there wasn’t as dedicated as those we have been getting hooked up with through the COLOR FM collective. The recording process has been a great time for us to work out our ideas and make sure that the album is a high quality product. We thank the engineers and musicians who were staying with us out by the castle for all their hard work and positivity.
WAIT! so you guys recorded this in a castle??
JR: like I said this whole thing has been a dream come true, Jamul is a gorgeous part of the state we derived so much inspiration from the beauty surrounding us. The castle was just the cherry on top.
AR: haha yeah it was a great experience, completely surreal I had never actually seen a castle in real life. Waking up to the view of the mountain peaks every morning was amazing. They have pet peacocks at the castle, no lie peacocks are one of my greatest fears but Jesus christ are they gorgeous.
Thanks for sharing guys! any upcoming shows? Any shout-outs?
JR: Yeah!! We’re playing the queen bees in San Diego June 30th with a couple other dope San Diego bands. Its an all day festival we’ll be playing around 3 or 4! Other than that just want to again thank COLOR FM for making our dreams a reality. To Robbie from beachmoon peachmoon for his work on “Vector Marketing”. To Brian for doing an incredible job on the artwork as always. And thanks to you for taking the time to hear us out.
AR: like the Jank Roy said, playing next week in San Diego. I want to shout out Brian Weiss for doing the artwork, our other friends in New York City for being the realeast. Special thanks to Max Junk for putting our first album ‘pray for free paintings’ on cassette for us. The band Dot VOM will be releasing their album this month so make sure to check that out. And thank you Rock The pigeon for our first interview!
So there you have it guys make sure to check out this underground indie classic ‘beer is free if you believe it is’ . More shows and music will be coming from them in the coming months so make sure to follow them!
Written by Jordan Pierce