interview + gallery: fashion jackson

Written by Donna Borges

San Diego’s Fashion Jackson kicked off their summer tour with Bay Faction this week after releasing their new single “Honda.” We had the chance to talk with them after their show at the Roxy about new music, their biggest inspirations, and going on tour.


Can you introduce yourselves and say your role in the band?

SHAWN: My name is Shawn C. Gardner. I am a drummer, specifically the drummer for Fashion Jackson. On purpose. It wasn’t an accident. I also set up and do all the sound work for our live show and do engineering for our recordings and I play drums also.

STERLING: Sterling Gietzen. I play bass and 1, 2, 3… What do I do?

ALL: Keep it all together!

STERLING: I keep it all together.

EDDY: My name is Eddy, I sing and play guitar sometimes. I produce our recordings and I write the lyrics.

JAKE: I’m Jake. I’m the newest member of Fashion Jackson. Uh, I’m a fresh boy, as they say, and I play guitar. And I make a fool out of myself on stage.

 

When did you meet your band mates?

STERLING: Glen Fisher and high school.

EDDY: There’s this guy Glen Fisher who lives in Point Loma in San Diego who is a niche music teacher, whereas most music teachers take on singular students and like teach them piano or whatever instrument. His thing is bringing kids together from the neighborhood and making bands out of them when they’re very young and teaching them how to play with other people. That’s how we all met. Sterling and I met Shawn in high school because Sterling was in drumline and Shawn was drum captain. And then I met Shawn in a music production class.

SHAWN: Technically, when me and Eddy met we had the same music production class, but we didn’t officially meet until it was the day of Halloween. I was friends with Eddy’s brother and Eddy and his brother were in a band. Long story short, Alex called me the day before Halloween and said ‘Hey, our band was supposed to play a gig but nobody can make it and we need a bass player.’ This was back when I played bass.

STERLING: I play Shawn’s bass to this day. It’s not my bass, it’s Shawn’s bass. I just play it.

SHAWN: So essentially, me, Eddy, and his brother skipped class all day and learned about 25 songs. And then we played a show that night for Halloween. And that’s how I met Eddy.

EDDY: Long story short, we all met through music.

JAKE: Me and Eddy were in a band at like 10 or 11 years old called Revoltage.

STERLING: Revoltage: the single greatest classic rock cover band there ever was.

JAKE: We did like a dad band when we were like 13.

 

Why didn’t you keep that going?

STERLING: It’s not done.

EDDY: The reunion is in the works. We have to learn more Steely Dan songs.

 

How did you get into playing music?

STERLING: Our parents. Pretty much all of our parents play music.

EDDY: It was an integral part of how we grew up and I think we all found a lot of solace in it. I think what we all have in common is that music was the same thing as reading a good book or watching a movie. It’s something that, when you’re young and you don’t know what chords or a melody is and you just know what music is and what it sounds like, I think we found the same escape and like fantasy world in that like we did from what we read and what we watched. I think we got into it from a very pure and childish point and I don’t think that’s something that went away and it’s something we try to keep in our music nowadays too.

 

What music did you listen to when you were younger?

STERLING: Motown and like Doobie Brothers.

SHAWN: I listened to a lot of Classic Rock, like Led Zeppelin. Also early metal like Black Sabbath and then Rolling Stones, The Beatles. That evolved to funk and jazz. I’ve had a phase in most genres of music.

EDDY: Honestly, like deadass, the first CD I ever got was the Shrek soundtrack. It sounds like I’m trying to do a meme right now but we had a conversation recently about how the Shrek soundtrack permeates into our music. There’s really specific production techniques and songwriting sensibilities from a lot of the songs on the Shrek soundtrack that ended up kinda seeping in. I thought Led Zeppelin was just one guy when I was like 8. 

STERLING: I thought Steely Dan and Van Morrison was one person.

EDDY: Van Morrison is one person.

STERLING: But he has a band, I don’t get it.

EDDY: For me it was movie soundtracks, like the two big ones were Shrek and the Tim Burton Willy Wonka with Johnny Depp. Shrek 2 also. Then like Led Zeppelin’s “Cashmere” was the first band I signified that moved me.

JAKE: I mean just the standard, basic dad guitar rock in the beginning, like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. And then I got into jazz fusion, and that’s when it all went downhill. Obviously I was into other bands like the Beatles.

EDDY: Shoutout Paul McCartney, let’s collab, I’m tryna get a verse from you.

JAKE: And also classic rock.

STERLING: Jake’s dad once bought him a guitar once he learned a solo, what solo was that?

JAKE: I wanted to get a new guitar, I had this shitty, terrible guitar. And my dad said ‘If you learn the solo to Blue Sky by the Allman Brothers, you can have this nice as fuck guitar’ because he thought I wouldn’t learn it.

EDDY: His old guitar was a piece of shit but the first time we ever played together I heard him play “Crazy Train” on that guitar and that shit was fucking wild. I didn’t know what distortion was, I just knew I liked that sound. And he was the first person that ever played with that sound and my brain turned into mush.

JAKE: So basically I learned the solo in like an hour and my dad was like ‘Fuck, I gotta buy it.’ 

 

When did you know you wanted to pursue music as a career?

ALL: This band.

SHAWN: We’ve always dreamed of it obviously, like growing up, but it wasn’t ever a plausible option until this band.

 

Where does the name “Fashion Jackson” come from?

STERLING: We wrote a list. We were Electric Maria for like two shows. We were The Jones, that was the worst name ever. And then we played this show as The Jones and we said ‘Let’s never do this again.` So, we made a big list on an iPhone and Fashion Jackson was the one we all hated the least and now we all love it.

 

You just released Honda, what else do we have to look forward to?

STERLING: “Motor Oil,” baby. We have no idea when but “Motor Oil.”

EDDY: We’re doing the video in Vancouver with my brother who directed the Honda video as well. We played it tonight. We’re trying to finish an album by the end of the year. With us, we like to work at our own pace because we tie between a really impulsive streak and a really perfectionistic streak, so I don’t wanna drop dates. We’re doing our best, but a song called “Motor Oil” is next and I like it a lot.

 

What is your songwriting process like?

STERLING: It varies a lot. Sometimes we’ll write in a room together and sometimes we’ll come up with stuff together while we’re on the road. Eddy will come up with a demo.

SHAWN: Or Sterling will come up with something sick on his laptop and then we’ll use that for a whole song.

STERLING: That happened once.

EDDY: It depends on the song because we go in so many different directions because we have like 0 attention span. It depends on how much we like the idea.

 

What’re your favorite lyrics you’ve ever written and why? 

EDDY: I just wanna say for the record, I hate this question because I feel pretentious whenever I answer it. I have two, one’s from Cinnamon Burn which is “Hold me like a false conviction.” I just think that was kinda hard; I was stoked when I wrote that. There’s a new song we have called “Nightcap” and I have a line like “Mother Mary got her tubes tied,” and I think it’s the most emo thing I’ve ever written, so I’m gonna say that too.

 

What has been your favorite venue to play?

EDDY: The Roxy was fire, I wanna come back.

STERLING: Lestat’s is home because that’s where we grew up. Che is super fun, but after tonight, The Roxy. Lestat’s is our home venue though, like that’s where we came out of. And we’ll all always have a special place for Lestat’s in our hearts.

 

What have you been listening to lately?

STERLING: We were listening to Blonde on the way here. The new King Giz is pretty sick.

EDDY: We love King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. I feel like what they do is so extreme.

STERLING: Lizzo! Lizzo is fucking sick. Bay Faction.

EDDY: Rico Nasty, big shout out Rico Nasty. I want Young Thug to make a comeback so bad, I don’t know if it’ll happen but I want it. It’s a lot of hip hop and R&B.

STERLING: Arthur is really cool too, he plays with Joy Again.

EDDY: Sterling keeps up with a lot of underground music too so he ends up showing us a lot of stuff we end up digging.

STERLING: Winona Forever.

EDDY: I’d be a giant liar if I didn’t say The 1975, that’s my favorite fucking band of all time and they’re amazing.

 

If you were a cover band, who would you cover?

EDDY: The 1975.

STERLING: Dad Rock. Steely Dan, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers, Rolling Stones. Freddie King, Fat Freddy’s Drop.

 

Can you describe each of your bandmates in one word?

SHAWN: Wonderfully Cacophonous.

STERLING: That’s two words.

SHAWN: One word, run on sentence fool.

STERLING: Dangus.

EDDY: Sterling: Warm. Shawn: Genius. Jake: Lit.

JAKE: Eddy: Dangus. Sterling: Dangus. Shawn: Dangus.

 

What’s your favorite vine?

STERLING: Casey Frey is GOAT even though he was after vine. My favorite vine is probably “I can’t swim.

SHAWN: “Adam..

STERLING: “I can’t believe you’ve done this.

EDDY: My girlfriend is gonna be so mad at me for misquoting it. It’s the one girl like “are those blueberries or raspberries” and she hits herself with the fucking bowl, that one’s really funny. 

JAKE: I really like the one where there’s the girl blows a fat cloud at a party and the guy’s like “Wow.

STERLING: And “Old English” by Young Thug is playing in the background.

 

What’s the best and worst part about going on tour?

STERLING: Honestly, not being in San Diego, it’s kinda nice there. Being in the car a lot. The car is nice, we love the Honda, but it ain’t no passenger van. We each have our own little seat, there’s no bench seat that we can like spread out on. For the most part it’s really nice. No A.C. is the worst part.

EDDY: The best part is all of being together most of the time and kind of aligning on the same wavelength mentally is fucking great. It makes the shows way better.

JAKE: And I’ll say, playing with Hate Drugs and Bay Faction and all of our homies. Organizing shows with people that we love, like The Licks.

EDDY: I’m really grateful that we can play with people whose music we like.

JAKE: It’s always a really loving environment and I really enjoy that out of everything.

EDDY: We all push each other to do the best we can.

 

What artist would you love to collaborate with?

STERLING: I mean, Brockhampton.

SHAWN: John Paul Jones.

STERLING: I feel like we’re gonna make a Skrillex type beat with John Paul Jones.

EDDY: Playboy Carti, Young Thug, Rico. Bon Iver, John Mayer. Matty Healy and George Daniel from The 1975 as a duo. Bearface from Brockhampton. Future.

JAKE: The Openers… That’s my dad’s cover band.

 

Anything else you want to add?

EDDY: We have a lot more new music on the way! We’re excited to push things in a little bit of a different direction because I think we’ve seen with the reception of what we’ve put out so far that people are really, really open minded to us exploring a little bit and we’re really grateful that the people who like our music do so in a way that they give us space to try things and they receive it really well. So we’re gonna be working on pushing ourselves as musicians, and producers, to make the best possible music we can. We want to have an album on the way as soon as we can.

SHAWN: *Echoing* Album… Coming… Soon…. It’s gonna be good.


Be sure to check out “Honda” and get tickets to their latest show announcement: opening for The 1975 in December!

Photos by Donna Borges

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