If you haven’t yet heard the rad rhythms and bumpy beats of student band Jacklando, I’d recommend that’s the next thing you listen to. Headed by juniors, Peter Gray, Luke Westermeyer, Ryan Moore and sophomore Maddie Simmons, Jacklando is a band with jazzy tunes and bluesy undertones. It is the type of music that will make you sway without realizing it, paired by lyrics that will stir your curiosity.
“It’s funk/pop with jazz influences,” guitarist Moore said. “It’s like pop but with good musicianship I’d say."
“That sounds kind of pretentious," pianist, Gray joked.
Unlike other mainstream bands, the quality and atmosphere of Jacklando transcends the idea of being boxed into one music genre.
“It’s like applying jazz themes to pop music," Moore said.
The bandmates elaborated on the music they make.
“We do covers but a lot of pop songs don’t focus as much on the instrumentation but we’re all decent musicians, so we want to highlight that,” Gray said. “Maddie is also a super good singer so that allows us to do so many different genres. I would say we’re alternative, that’s what we are on Apple Music. But alternative basically means different”.
“Oh gosh, oh gosh I’d say it falls into R&B. I don’t know. Me, Peter and Ryan, so drums, piano and guitar, we all play Jazz so we all know a lot of blues and Maddie has just a great voice. It’s like pop music but there’s some cords that make it R&B-ish,” Westermeyer said.
Their sophisticated and refined sound makes it evident to the listener that music has been a constant in their lives.
“When I was maybe five or six, I got a Disney Princess karaoke set for Christmas and have been singing ever since," singer Simmons said.
Moore started playing jazz in fifth grade. Gray started playing music when he was five. The bands drummer, Westermeyer has also been into music for as long as he can remember..
“I started playing jazz in middle school and then in by high school I was pretty serious about just playing drums in general," Westermeyer said. “Then I got a scholarship here. We’re all pretty serious about it.”
The band member's individual experiences create a shared passion for music amongst themselves. For the four of them, their friendship is manifested in their music.
“First and foremost we’re all good friends. We all hang out all the time so we’re not just together because of the band. It really helps the atmosphere I think,” Moore said.
“Me, Ryan and Peter knew each other from the music department," said Westermeyer. "Peter and I knew each other from freshmen year, we lived in the same dorm. The three of us heard Maddie sing at Coffee House when she was a freshmen and Peter fell in love with her voice and wanted to play music so that’s how we all got to know each other."
From then on, the group has been making music together. However, it wasn’t until this semester that the four of them coined the name Jacklando.
“It’s a fun thing to say, it’s super catchy… Jacklando,” Gray said. Tthere’s a lot of different theories behind it and I like some of them. There’s Jack Sparrow and Orlando Bloom and we just put those together in Jacklando. There’s also Lando Callrissian and then we just put Jack in front of it. We kinda like to keep it a mystery. That’s part of the fun."
Not only has Jacklando been busy making new music but the band also recently released a music video for their latest single, “Dirty Dealer”.
“Two crazy talented student artists came together to create our video; Kathryn Graham and Griffin Koerner. It started with the band goofing off in the Music Annex as Kathryn took some pictures for us, and then went from there," Simmons said.
For those who have not seen it on Jacklando’s YouTube channel yet, the music video hits the quintessential idea of ‘cool’ in a way that skillfully juxtaposes grunge with quirkiness.
“I wanted to capture Jacklando’s theme of what they like to call ‘new vintage,’" creative director Griffin Koerner said. "Their music, videos and style all encapsulate this idea of nostalgic jazz, which is a theme we’ve been trying to embody for the band. The one day we decided to film the video turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, except for the hour-long rain shower that happened right when we started filming. However, this turned about to be advantageous for us, as the rain gave the video a more nostalgic and ambient look."
Set on a porch of a house in the Logan, no one would be able to tell the overcast skies in the 'Dirty Deal' music video were a happy coincidence. Everything, from the lyrics, the filmography and strange prop choices pair perfectly with gloomy day.
“If you want to know what Jacklando is, I would watch the video. That would be a good representation," Gray said.
On top of the band's dedication to their music, the four members are incredibly busy college students.
“Yeah, I’m a mechanical engineering major and I’m in all the bands in music so I’m taking 21 credits and I have a ton of homework,” Moore said. “I think the only way we’re able to do this is because we really love it. We work super hard and try to make time."
That hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Jacklando has had popular performances at Wild Walls, Coffee House and house shows.
As the year goes on there are more and more student bands coming about. Jacklando's advice to anyone thinking of starting a band is to just go for it.
“Stop waiting!" Simmons said. "If you love music or singing, stop waiting for opportunities to come to you, go out and find them. It can be scary, but you’ll learn a lot about who you are and what you want in the process."
Members of Jacklando agree that music is one of the truest forms of self-expression there is.
“It’s another way to put yourself out there," Westermeyer said. "It’s like a journal but not with words."
“Often times, it can be hard to articulate feelings and moods, but music has proved to be a way I can let loose and genuinely communicate," Simmons said.
Jacklando is currently writing their own music with the hopes of releasing an entire EP by the end of the year. The band is recording more music, playing more gigs around campus and coming out with more creative content. You can find Jacklando on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.
The band will be playing live Friday April 26th at Rock the Planet, an annual concert held by Gonzaga Environmental Organization at the end of Earth Week, in the Jundt Amphitheater. Stay tuned, Jacklando is onto to big things.
Valerie Fetzer is staff writer.
Music video for Jacklando's Dirty Dealer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKv_3y8bOzo