Posts Tagged “jill”

Lots of people ask me how I can be in a band that’s largely based in Los Angeles without living out west myself. The answer: The series of tubes known as the Internet.

I halfheartedly attempted to live in Arizona and California about 10 and 5 years ago respectively, but the east coast just keeps pulling me back. My family is here; plus I love the pace, the people, the accents1, the flipping of birds, the seasons, the architecture, and the lack of earthquakes (call me funny, but I kinda expect terra firma to be, well, firma). So, when Andrew moved out west and stayed out west, we had a conundrum: find a new singer, or buy a lot of plane tickets for me, because me living out west wasn’t good for my soul.

The good news is that my former “real job” included lots of travel– I was a road warrior for a good long time, and had racked up a zillion frequent flyer miles. Work paid for my work-related travel, and the frequent flyer miles yielded plane tickets for IJG-related travel. Worked out great for performing2, but what about rehearsing and recording?

Since IJG typically performs consecutive dates via tours rather than a date here and there, it doesn’t really matter much where I live. Andrew mails us .pdfs and midi files of the new tunes which we woodshed on our own. Then we all descend upon the city a day or two in advance of our first tour gig, we rehearse, and then we hit the road. Naturally the shows towards the end of our tours are the tightest, and there have been tours in the past when we’ve hit the studio immediately following a tour while the material still has that fresh road feel.

For this new (currently unnamed) disc, my vocals were recorded separately, just like we did with LEEF (2008). Andrew sent me .wav files of a very rough mixes of the band via yousendit, and I brought ’em on a thumb drive to the studio and recorded my vocals over top. I asked Andrew to make sure Tany’s previously-recorded vocals were pretty high in the mix so I could be sure to line up with her articulation and phrasing, which is more important than ever given the new vocal style we’re trying. The output of my sessions was a single .wav of my nekkid vocals, one for each track, which Andrew would drop into ProTools (or whatever he was using) to mix it all down.

For our 2008 disc LEEF, I recorded my non-live vocals at Lollipop Recording Studios in south Jersey with Jason Ruch, and also at Studio Crash in Philly with Sean Smith; both studios are fabulous. For this current disc, I recorded all of my vocals at Studio Crash across two sessions; one with Michael Harmon (Studio Crash’s owner), and another again with Sean. All three engineers are terrific and total pros.

This new (currently nameless) disc is being produced by Andrew and the fabulous Chris Schlarb in Los Angeles as I type this. It’s very exciting, and I can’t wait to hear how it all comes out. Stay tuned here for details and previews of the new disc!

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1 OK, except the Philly accent. I swear, that accent is like nails on a chalkboard. “Hoewme?” Don’tcha mean “home?” Gimme a Nicky Newark north Jersey accent any day.

2 Keep your eyes peeled for a future post re: “How does a 17-piece band fly to all these places without going broke?” As The Industrial Jazz Group’s honorary travel consultant, I have plenty o’ tips.

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Your 134th favorite singer and good ol’ pal Jill has a side hobby: painting silly things.

Hello Ninja (thumbnail)These silly things are going to be featured in an art show in Philly’s Fishtown neighborhood this month, at the Philadelphia Book Company. Tonight (December 4th) is the art opening, and it’s all very exciting. Hard to believe something I created is going to be part of Philadelphia’s First Friday, which is the city’s monthly art loop.

If you don’t live in Philly, you can still check out the artwork by going to http://artwork.jillknapp.com. You can peruse the paintings (as well as some detail photography of classic cars– yet another hobby) and even buy a print if you want. Prints are cheap and they come in many sizes via speedy delivery, not unlike your mom. (I have no idea what that means.)

You may find it amusing that the name of the company I chose to host my artwork website is called smugmug.com. Yep. It’s true. You can’t escape the smug.

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The Industrial Jazz Group’s east coast ROCKTOBER tour unofficially began yesterday, as a few west coast members made their way into the eastern time zone. Yesterday I rented the smallest of the three tour vehicles: an “arrest me red” 2009 Chevy Impala. This afternoon the rest of the band flies in, and we head straight to our rehearsal in Brooklyn, and then we’re off to Pittsfield, MA to play as part of that city’s Jazz Festival.

This tour is our most ambitious to date; I just loosely mapped it out via Google Maps and this is what I discovered: This tour, from city to city, is just shy of 2000 miles. Insane, isn’t it?

That's a lotta miles: 1938 of them

That's a lotta miles: 1938 of them

Another new high for us is the hiring of an official tour photographer. Out of the many photographers we know, we chose Steven Noreyko of Austin, Texas. I freakin’ love his work, and his specialty is capturing people interacting with odd environments. If a 10-city, 10-day, 2000-mile tour with 17 people crammed in three vehicles and sleeping on floors isn’t an odd environment, I don’t know what is. I told Steve that he could do with us as he pleased, as long as he got at just one shot of us in front of an Applebee’s sign.

For tour updates, keep your eye on this here spot, as well as on Twitter. Durkin, Dan Rosenboom (our skeletor/trumpet master), Matt (our mirthmaster), Steve (our photomaster) and yours truly (the bee-master) all have Twitter accounts and will be keeping you up to date in 140 characters or less. We’ll be trying to use the #ijgtour hashtag, character-limit permitting. If you attend one of our shows, please use that tag, too! (Unless you hate the show. Then use #KennyG.)

To the Impala!

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eh?When I was living in San Francisco, one thing I grew to appreciate was the ubiquity of earplugs at bars, music venues, and thumpy clubs. Just ask the bartender for a pair, or grab a set as you paid your cover charge and you were good to go. You could hear the nuances of the music just fine, but your ears weren’t ringing for three days post-event. Lots of people wore them, and it wasn’t considered dorky.

I always keep earplugs in my pocket or purse, because I never know when I’m gonna be in an emergency rock-and-roll situation– yessiree, that’s the life I lead. One minute I’m shopping for soup, and the next minute: METAL!!1!

Anyway.

Singing for a big band means that I stand in front of 14 other people playing their hearts out, which translates into ow-ow-ow-ow after the second song if I’ve forgotten mah ‘plugs. You should see the fabulous set Tany has– I bet she’d show you if you asked nicely. (Her EARPLUGS people, her earplugs. Tany will show you her fabulous set of EARPLUGS. Good lordy, you are that pig!)

Because some venues let audience members sit close to the stage, I can see folks cowering a bit during the loud bits, and relaxing more during the quieter moments. But let’s face it: Even when 16 people are all playing softly, it’s still loud.

Folks, we want you to be able to enjoy our music for many years to come, so you have to protect yourself. Practice safe listening!

You can do this by:

1) Not listening to shitty music
2) Buying The Industrial Jazz Group’s albums, either online, or at a show
3) Supporting the band by donating to our fund raiser (Honestly! This is scientifically proven to protect your hearing!)
4) Wearing your earplugs.

As a comfy, environmentally friendlier, low-cost, effective option, we like Argus Hexagonal Polyurethane earplugs. Hexagonal design means there’s less production waste than round or conical earplugs, and they expand comfortably in your ear canal just fine. Polyurethane means no latex allergy concerns. And we buy them in black, because black is the (non-)color of ROCK.

So this is why I, Jill Knapp, The Industrial Jazz Group’s Patron Saint of Hearing Protection, will make sure that earplugs will be available at our east coast shows this ROCKtober. Like I said, we want you to enjoy our music for many years, but you can’t do that if we make you all deeef.

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Every singer knows the old adage “When you pee clear, you sing clear.” (Grammar be damned.) This requires copious water-drinking, which poses a challenge when I’d rather have a delicious cup of coffee with a metric ton of cream and sugar.

(When my mentor Eugene Thomas saw me fix up a cup o’ coffee many years ago, he said, “So you don’t really like the taste of coffee, do you?” I digress.)

Even now in the middle of summer, I’d still choose a cup of hot coffee (even crappy coffee) over water. This isn’t a good thing, especially as I get a little older (perish the thought!) where the ol’ pipes require a little more care than they used to.

So here’s my revelation:
Whenever I go for a massage or some kind of spa visit (which isn’t very often, sadly), they always have big glass pitchers full of cool water with lemon slices or cucumber slices floating in there. Is there anything tastier or more refreshing in the world than that? NO THERE IS NOT. When I’m there, I drink 27655 glasses of this stuff because it’s just so damn tasty. And hey, what do you know: I’m suddenly hydrated. Weird, that.

If I spent more time in spas, this wouldn’t be a problem. But alas, my throngs of adoring fans do not buy me spa treatments I’m cheap and I always have something else going on. (and really: Does it make sense to pay $150 just to drink some water in a bathrobe?)

So I solved this dehydration quandary by doing something insane: I bought a dang lemon. And now I can’t stop drinking water. I don’t know why it’s taken me 30-plus years to figure this out.

You know, I’m really good at figuring out pretty complex problems; but the obvious occasionally escapes me.

Thank you, drive through.

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