For this Bands Interviewing Bands we paired up Joss Jaffe, who combines reggae and pop to create a blend of organic and electric sounds, and Waiting For London, an alt-rock band who describes themselves as “hookier than a bass tournament”. Jaffe has appeared in numerous festivals including Beloved, Lighting in a Bottle, Lucidity, Wanderlust, and more, and his album Meditation Music even reached the top 10 Billboard New Age Chart i 2019.
Waiting For London are gearing up for their June 6th EP release, ‘Worth The Wait’, the band promises an explosion of pop, rock, and even jazz and classical influences for a fusion of influences and personalities.
In this interview, the two collide words to discuss method, share intimate stories, and discuss life during COVID-19.
Joss: The songs are awesome and guitar-driven, but I couldn’t help noticing the bass propelling the songs as well (loved the bass breakdown in Make You Mine). Let’s give a shout out to the Rhythm Section. I’m curious what the dynamic is like when you guys compose the ‘nuts and bolts’ of your songs?
WFL: Great question! It’s been a mixture of strategies so far. Some songs (like “What Are You Waiting For”) had the music written by the producers at Loud Lion Productions in CT. Ryan and Chris started working with them in February 2019 to write some songs for the new band before finishing the lineup. Considering the producers had the music mostly created, Ryan wrote lyrics for the songs. Other songs, such as “Make You Mine” and the rest on our upcoming EP Worth The Wait, have been from Ryan’s previous solo career. When he brought them to the table, we worked individually to develop our parts before bringing it to practice to see if it fit. As for new material, we like to write guitars first usually, so we tend to start with a new riff from Ryan or Casey. Then we bring it to practice for Chris and Kevin to add the low end.
Waiting For London: What made you get into music?
Joss Jaffe: My Mom forced me to play guitar when I was 9. Literally. She said, my Dad and I have decided you must play a musical instrument. You can choose but you have to do it. Of course I chose the electric guitar. I remember being incredibly frustrated. My fingers just wouldn’t do it. They’d be bruised and have grooves in them from the strings. I actually hated it. After 1 year I demanded the lessons stopped. I was completely through. OK she said. A few years later when I went to a different school that had a big outdoors program, all the cool kids at the school played guitar including the girls (rawr). So I dusted out that old guitar from the closet and never went back. (Happy Mother’s Day!)
Joss: The melodies are super sweet, even in the hard rock inspired The Calling you have a lovely, laid back pop-style vocal melody on top. I’m curious if this dynamic of light and heavy was intentional and if you like juxtaposing different elements and if so, how you came to that style?
WFL: Yes, it’s actually intentional and we’re glad you noticed that! We’re all influenced by numerous genres of music. Even though our music is categorized as pop/rock alternative, you can find elements of all sorts of genres in our songs. For instance, in our Worth The Wait EP, we have songs that infuse a jazz drum beat (due to Kevin being a jazz drummer) with swinging pop/punk rock guitar melodies from Casey. We also have songs that have a hint of classical piano from Ryan’s love of classical music partnered with Chris’s heavy style of playing bass. We came into this band wanting to play music we love, so we decided to combine our influences to create a unique sound.
WFL: How do you find time to balance music with life?
JJ: There is a great book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. It describes how different artists over the epochs have divvied up their day. It’s true there are only so many hours in a day so we have to make them count! The thing I thought was interesting about the book is that there really was no formula, everyone had a wildly different schedule. The only similarity I could ascertain was that everyone just kept at it. They did something every day, even in the dry spells. So that is my main goal. Do a little bit every day to move the ball forward and over time we accomplish our goals, complete the albums, compose the songs.
Joss: How are you staying sane in the era of Covid-19?
WFL: A couple of us are essential employees, so we’ve been working. Others are simply trying to stay busy and productive to stay sane! It helps to keep in mind that there will be an end in sight for the quarantine in the North East and we’ll be able to play shows again soon.
WFL: What have you found is the best way to communicate with your fans?
JJ: Prior to Covid19 I think the best way has always been touring and performing live. That face-to-face contact is really the best way in my opinion and I really love a good live show. This unprecedented time has highlighted something that has already been here. The enormous power of social media and online tools to reach fans. I (like probably most other artists) have now done my first Zoom concert, Facebook Lives, Instagram Lives, Youtube Premiers, and various other ways to interact with fans online. Ultimately at the end of the day what you are looking for is making a connection, whether it’s face-to-face or millions of miles away through the online portal, you have to make that personal connection count and feel real.
Joss: Where is Waiting For London going Next?
WFL: Chris says, “To the top!” Haha, actually we have plans of performing more once the quarantine lifts and working on more original songs to add to our set. In the near future, we’ll be promoting our EP, doing some Livestreams, and launching all sorts of contests for our fans. Regarding long term, we’d like to tour eventually and continue doing what we love.
Waiting for London
Bands Interviewing Bands: Joss Jaffe (top) Photo Credit: Kim Jae Yoon. Waiting For London (bottom) photo credit: Photo Credit: Maeve Imagery