Meet: LA alt-rockers Jagged Baptist Club

Alona Forsythe

With their recent signing to Nice Swan Records (English Teacher, Sprints,Opus Kink), and the release of their new single ‘Bull on a Chain’, Jagged Baptist Club are set for a great year ahead. We managed to get some questions with the band to find out where they come from and who inspired them.

Give us a potted history of the band

Blake – We are from LA.  We formed at the tail end of 2018, somehow made it through the pandemic, then really started cooking in 2022. We’ve been supported by BBC, Radio X, KCRW and KXLU as well as RTE.  We toured the West Coast of the United States with Sprints in March 2024 and before that we supported English Teacher, Division of Laura Lee and Death Lens.  We also completed our first IE/UK tour at the end of 2022.  We just signed with Nice Swan records out of the UK, and just put out our first single with them “Bull on a Chain” on May 21 2024.  We are thrilled to be working with them and have a few more surprises up our sleeves.

Who inspired you to start making music

CJ – My parents were musicians, as were most of their friends and people I was growing up.  So, I picked up a guitar at a really young age and never really put it back down.

Josh – When I was in college there was a year where I pretty much only listened to Nick Came, Murder City Devils and Tom Waits and taught myself how to play the organ, but my biggest inspirations as a synth player these days are Ron Mael from Sparks and Flake from Rammstein.

Morgan – My father, growing up my house was always full of so many interesting musicians and artists.  From an early age experiencing that world and the people involved, I knew music was my path.

And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically

Blake – Smashing Pumpkins’ “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” and Beck’s “Odelay” were the first two records I heard as a young kid that showed me a band can write whatever they want.  Both of those records are unbothered by genre, and both clearly display a wealth of seemingly disparate influences that are synthesized into a totally unique identity.  The boldness of experimentation on both of those albums was really inspiring to me when I was younger and still informs how I think about our records today.

If you’re trying to explain whom you sound like to someone who’s never heard you, what do you say

Blake – We’re like Blur and Public Image Limited trying to cover The Rapture and Happy Mondays while Division of Laura Lee and The Vines throw tomatoes at us.

Tell us about your new single

Blake – “Bull on a Chain” is our new song, and it’s released by Nice Swan Records.  We recorded it with Alex Newport out in Joshua Tree and it was mastered by Carl Saff in Chicago.  I wrote it with the goal of having a song that just starts at 11 and doesn’t let up until the end.  I wanted to write our version of Beastie Boys “Sabotage” but of course, I’m not the Beastie Boys so it ended up being a Jagged Baptist Club sonic missile, instead.  We love it, 1:45 seconds of pure force!

Tell us how you write

Blake – Sometimes I write a song alone, then bring it to the band, and they add their flavour.  Sometimes we might work in pairs and craft a song and then bring that in to the rest of the band.  Other times, someone brings in one little idea, and we work it out in the room together.  Music is generally first, then melody, then lyrics.  However sometimes the song title is first (I have a lot of them in the Notes app on my phone).  I’ll scroll back, see a title I wrote months ago and say “Yeah let’s write that one today”

Tell us about your live show What would be your dream gig

Blake – Our live show is one of the best things about us.  It’s always high energy, and we are always adamant about engaging the crowd.  Sometimes, I talk to the crowd a little longer than I should!  But for me, it’s a matter of respect, people showed up, spent their time and money to watch you play songs you wrote. That should be acknowledging and appreciated, without a crowd, it’s just rehearsal in a different room.  They’re excited to see us but we are just as excited to see them, we just want to have a party with everyone!

Dream gig has always been and will always be Glastonbury.  Let’s do the Park Stage at sunset.

What can we expect from you in the near future

Blake – “Bull on a Chain” is out now on Nice Swan records!  And while I can’t say much right now, it’s safe to say you’ll see some more new music from us throughout 2024. 

Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus/stereo

Blake – I just read the 33 1/3 books for The Clash’s “Sandinista” and Pulp’s “This is Hardcore” so I’ve been really into those two records again.  I also STILL love the new Be Your Own Pet album “Mommy” and I’ve been loving Lambrini Girls.

CJ – Kings of Leon “Can We Please Have Fun?”

Josh AG Cook – “Britpop”

Morgan – Justice – “Hyperdrama”

Find out more via the bands Website or Facebook

Check out the track Bull On A Chain, below:

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