Meet *repeat repeat: Bragg Jam 2017
Picture this: a college student with cracked earphones desolate from exchanging goodbyes in a crowded airport. When I ran out of every sentimental song my Spotify playlists had to offer, I needed new fuel to recoup. At the same time, Molly was emailing me asking if there was anyone I’d like to interview for Bragg Jam, so I skimmed the lineup and listened to every name on the list. I found myself downloading the album Bad Latitude on my phone for the plane ride and immediately sent her the band’s name. Grab a snack, kick up your feet, and sit down with me as we meet Jared, Andy, and Kristyn––aka, *repeat repeat.
Q: What if I told you that I’ve had *repeat repeat on repeat (haha) for the past week? I’m definitely a fan.
J: Love that. We need as many of you as possible.
Q: The band name…tell me about that. Don’t forget to explain the sun-kissed asterisk!
J: It came from a shampoo bottle. I saw “Lather, Rinse*” and then at the bottom “*repeat, repeat” and thought the idea of an instruction would make a good band name. For a quick minute we kept the comma in the name too, but that felt a little over the top. But the asterisk has been a fun way to stand out.
Q: When I was in high school, my friends and I sat in front of the auditorium for lunch. During our auditorium lunch breaks we passed around our cracked iPhones, and I discovered bands like The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Cage the Elephant, and Best Coast. When I first listened to *repeat repeat on Spotify, I couldn’t help but think your sound would be shared during my high school lunch, particularly because your music is reminiscent of the stylish gritty lo-fi indie rock I heard when I first jammed out to Best Coast. What do you make of this?
A: That’s a really huge compliment. All those bands you named all kinda did their own thing musically and people eventually took notice. They never tried to be anything else other than who they are, and I’ve always hoped *repeat repeat would get viewed that way as well. We’ve always just been ourselves and some people get it and some people don’t.
I remember passing around music in high school too and I get what you’re saying.
I think for kids it’s always a couple of things. One thing could be wanting to discover a band that’s kinda under the radar still. That’s always exciting to find a band not a lot of people have heard of yet and be the first person in your friend circle to get into them.
Another thing I think, going back to the bands you mentioned, in high school everyone is searching for their identity and wants to be themselves and sometimes that’s not the cool thing to do. So I think it’s refreshing to find a band that is doing their own thing regardless of whatever trend is happening around them.
I don’t think we’re re-inventing rock ‘n’ roll or anything like that [laughs], I just mean we have always kinda had a sound or look that took a minute for people to really get.
Q: There is definitely a West Coast influence to your songs. Assuming that you are mostly away from California and mainly here in the East Coast where *repeat repeat originated, what do your atmosphere and surroundings look like while songwriting?
K: All of the songs so far have been written [in] our music room at our house in East Nashville. Our complete discography comes from that one room, now that I think about it! It’s been the temporary dwelling of dear roommates past, and was painted a chalky, boring, scuffed-from-gear light blue initially, but we’ve since changed the color to the brightest pink we could find and it has been the music room since [Jared and I] got married in 2012. Our bass cab is the same color. We love it. Jared picked it out.
Q: Your music covers a range of themes, yet even the casual listener can’t help but notice that there are reoccurring messages about romantic love. Are we listening to the love story between married couple Jared and Kristyn?
K: Ha, well, our first album (Bad Latitude) was exactly that. We were starting forever together when that album was written, and if I’m not mistaken, virtually every song on that record came from the start of our life as a family (with the ten rescue animals we love to share our life with, although there weren’t quite that many then). For this record though, Floral Canyon, we wanted to add new characters to the stories we were telling, so I think album two is about half-half. You can probably tell which ones are written based around our own life on how saccharin and bubble-gummy those songs tend to be [laughs], or at least a little more so than the others. I’d have to acknowledge that love tends to have a strong presence in our albums because it has a strong presence in our life.
Q: I’m closing my eyes and am listening to *repeat repeat. What do you want me to envision while listening to your music?
K: I’m so glad you asked! This is something I always think about. Some of our songs are abrupt, and fast and crunchy, so as much as we’d like for you to be super chill when listening, that’s maybe not the number one [laughs]. I’d be really stoked if you listened to our music when you’re on the highway, at the beach, camping, and when you’re ready to be generally feeling good. A huge influence of ours has always been bands like The Mamas & the Papas, with their massive, layery choruses swimming in 60s harmonies. We want you to feel alive, awake, in charge of your life, and feeling groovy.
Q: I’ve been keeping up with your Instagram, and you just recently shot a new music video for your new single in your new album! All of this new is so exciting! How has your sound evolved since your first album, Bad Latitude, and can Bragg Jammers expect to hear any of your new material on Saturday?
J: Bad Latitude was written entirely as one theme. It was about meeting, falling in love, and marrying my wife Kristyn. Every song was conceptualized while in the early stages of our life together. With the new record Floral Canyon (out September 15) each song was a different story or experience I had. All of it actually happened and it makes each song off the new album a little vignette. We wanted the album to flow together though, so we connected it with a series of transitions from 60s drive-in movies, old vintage organs, and one fire-and-brimstone preacher. On vinyl, the record will instruct you to play Side A & Side B over and over again.
Currently, we’re playing six or seven songs off the new record at our live shows now. It’s really exciting.
Q: Is this your first time in Middle Georgia? If so, what do you imagine Macon will be like?
J: Oh no, this isn’t even our first time at Bragg Jam! We played last year. We’ve also been to The Hummingbird twice. We have an ongoing list of smaller cities that we love and have believed in us since the early days and Macon has become one of those cities.
Q: *repeat repeat is not the only hybrid indie band playing at this year’s Bragg Jam. What separates you from other names on the lineup?
J: We like to say our music is the perfect mix of “Bloom & Doom.” Our set is loud and fast at times, and also sweet and fun. Like a punk rock Mamas & the Papas. We also try to be the most friendly band, so if you love the set come say hi.
My airport experience definitely wasn’t the easiest, but after listening to lots of *repeat repeat I began to feel what Kristyn wants––”alive, awake, in charge of [my] life, and feeling groovy.” Moreover, I currently have a beach trip planned with some of my greatest friends, and *repeat repeat is definitely on our beach playlist! Feel good with me while listening to *repeat repeat perform at Bragg Jam this Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 PM in Barefoot Beer Garden on 2nd Street.
Sunny in the southern sunshine,