HARTFORD — Originating out of Boston, The Jauntee are an excellent example of a band that isn’t afraid to push artistic boundaries. The unique and dynamic approach that the quartet of guitarist Caton Sollenberger, keyboardist Tyler Adams, bassist John Loland and drummer Scott Ferber have while performing has a knack for captivating audiences. This approach is also very fluid while running through the styles of funk, rock and jazz with it all being encompassed in a psychedelic aura.
Folks will get to see it all live on stage when The Jauntee takes over the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford on Sept.16 starting at 10 p.m. The upcoming show is part of their tour in support of their new album Anything that came out back on July 14.
Sollenberger and I had a talk ahead of the show about the making of the album, how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the creation process, the difficulty that comes with booking a tour these days and the band’s current setlist.
RD: Where was Anything recorded and did you guys handle the production and engineering yourselves along with the songwriting or did you work with someone in that aspect?
CS: We wrote all the songs and Scott is kind of like our main songwriter in the sense that he brings the most ideas to the table. We all have a lot of freedom as far as writing our own parts or when we want to switch something around because we’re pretty open to that kind of thing. It’s pretty collaborative, but Scott wrote most of the tunes on this album. Production wise, we recorded a lot of it at my house. We did a live drum take while we were playing with our amps in different rooms with headphones on and stuff.
After that, we basically re-recorded everything else so we got the live drum feel of playing with the band and then we overdubbed all of our other instruments to get a tighter recording quality. We pretty much did everything at my house except for the acoustic piano. We went and found a space, set up our mics and recorded a piano somewhere else. Tyler has a little recording set up at his house too where he contributed an organ and electric piano. Then we took all of the recorded tracks into a place called Violet Recording in Boulder, Colorado and we ran them all through their super nice gear to bring it all to life. The guy over there, Chris Wright, is a buddy of ours and he taught us how to use some of the big mixers and stuff like that so we were pretty hands-on with moving dials.
It was a really good learning experience and we’re super happy with the result. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a record these days.
RD: Yeah, it sounds like it is from how you described the process. Was there any sort of vision going into the making of the album? Did you guys aim to establish a certain theme or a certain vibe?
CS: Not particularly. We kind of started spit-balling the idea of recording at my house just with the pandemic happening. Towards lockdown we were playing any shows so we figured that we’d might as well use this time somehow. We started putting together a list of songs, we had a few more that were in the wings that we ended up not doing but 13 tracks is a lot for an album so we were kind of at the limit of a CD, basically. There isn’t a particular theme, except that we had a good chunk of songs out of the 13 that we were working on during the pandemic.
We thought that it would be cool to record these songs and put them out there before we ever played them live, so it was really the first time that we ever got to craft a song from start to finish in the studio or in a woodshed or whatever. We kind of made those versions first where normally we’d play the song live for months or even years and then we’d go in and record it. With that, we had a preconceived notion of our favorite version that we did live and we’d try to capture it. In this case, it was more like us making these versions their own thing, then performing them live and figuring that part out later.
RD: With writing the songs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think that’s what makes this album different from the rest of The Jauntee’s discography?
CS: Yeah, definitely. I think it was just more of the situation of being stuck at home and trying to find a creative outlet in a time where we weren’t able to do our normal creative outlet, which is playing shows. It lit the fire under us to do it, especially to try to do it on our own because recording in the studio takes up a good amount of the budget and we’re always kind of racing against the clock. I’d say that we were far more relaxed and we were more willing to explore unique production ideas while taking our time with it. Whereas if we would have done it before COVID, it would have been a little bit more of a stressful thing with us trying to get all our ideas out.
RD: Over the years, you guys have garnered acclaim for a steady amount of touring along with playing renowned venues and festivals around the country. With things opening up back in 2021 after the lockdowns, what would you say has changed the most with touring and playing live over the past couple of years?
CS: The biggest thing is that the venues have diminished. That’s been the biggest downfall, it’s hard to keep a business going with live music even in the best of times so a year or two of not being able to see any income was really hard on venues. The other thing is that the business side of the music industry has sort of shrunk, there’s less agents and there’s less managers so it’s become a kind of smaller world. I’d imagine that it’s pretty difficult to get your foot in the door at this time so we’re fortunate enough to have known people before the pandemic who are still on our radar. Then for the first couple of tours that we tried to do when we were coming back, it was really difficult to plan them because people didn’t want to book shows three to six months ahead of time because that’s how long in advance you need to route a tour properly.
It was tough to get venues to commit because they didn’t know if things were going to have to be shut down again. It seems to be evening out a little bit more, but we’re still dealing with the fact that there’s less agents and less venues. A lot of the venues that are around are owned by bigger companies so there’s a lot to navigate, for sure.
RD: What are your thoughts on the upcoming show at the Arch Street Tavern and what are The Jauntee’s plans for bringing this new album into your live performance?
CS: We did perform Anything in its entirety from start to finish at our album release party in Denver a few weeks ago, but we usually tend to vary our setlist from show to show. We try to cater to the vibe of wherever we’re playing, sometimes we’ll play stuff that’s better suited for a festival and requires a different approach. The same goes for a club show on a Friday night versus a daytime thing on a Thursday, we kind of approach each of them differently. We actually have a good handful of songs that are even newer than the album that we started performing, so it’ll be a mix of super new stuff, a bunch of tunes off of the album and our favorites that we always like to play.