Dropping in on Jet West
by R.J. Villa
Jet West claims their music has just what you are looking for; the sound that makes you want to take that long drive, love someone, drop in on an overhead wave or even just to kick it on the porch watching another picturesque sunset over the skies of California. The energy and concepts behind their music can be found in the origin of the bandâ€™s name.
â€œWe all surf, skate and enjoy sunsets here on the West Coast,â€ says guitarist Chris Warner. â€œWe first chose the word â€˜West,â€™ and after reviewing several other options, we came up with Jet West. It is the notion that everyone wants to Jet West for warmer weather and a better way of life.â€
Jet West pulls their inspiration from the beauty that is Southern California: tan girls, good waves and great weather. Their debut album, Dropping In, was released DIY style under their record label Hidden Reef Records. The album contains 15 tracks that capture Southern California with songs like Alone, Irie Eyes, July Breeze, Mexico and Feeling It.
â€œMexico was one of the first songs we wrote and has always been a fan favorite going all the way back to when we first formed,â€ added drummer Derek Potter.
â€œEvery time we play Mexico, I feel like Iâ€™m jamming on a warm beach somewhere tropical,â€ Warner says.
â€œAlone has a sick melody, and I love the guitar and the heavy chorus,â€ says bassist Deren Schneider. â€œIt even has a sick outro.â€
â€œThe song Feeling It always makes me dance,â€ says lead singer and guitarist Scott Floquet. â€œI feel like Iâ€™m James Brown when I sing that song.â€
Floquet and Schneider are childhood friends and San Diego natives. Warner moved to San Diego in 2003 after floating around California. He was originally from the South Bay of Los Angeles and spent his high school and college years in Vermont. Potter lived all over the U.S., including Texas, North Carolina and Virginia, but spent most of his time growing up with his family in New Jersey before moving to San Diego in 2007.
Though the four musicians were born on different corners of the U.S., they came together through their lifestyles and love of similar music. The forming of Jet West appears to be just as laid-back as the Southern California lifestyle their reggae/rock music embodies.
â€œChris and I were working together at the time and decided to jam one day,â€ recalls Floquet. â€œWe came up with some sweet tunes. Deren was a childhood friend of mine and played in another band that was falling out. We didnâ€™t know that our close friend Derek could play drums until we decided to jam in Derenâ€™s garage. Derek jumped on the drums and the rest is history.â€
Schneider describes the recording process at Sushifish Recording Studios as very relaxed under a great sound engineer. Their debut album, Dropping In, was recorded at Sushifish with the help of sound engineer Matty Reynolds. Jet West found themselves extremely grateful to work with such a talented engineer. Reynoldsâ€™ skills remain in high demand and he is typically booked way out in advance.
â€œMatty at Sushifish was a total blessing,â€ explains Potter. â€œHe is super skilled and very patient too.â€
Jet West has shared the stage with bands such as Authority Zero, The B Foundation, The Pricks, Katastro, Fayuca, Ease Up, Project: Out of Bounds, Boom Culture, Thrive and Full Blown Stone. They hold aspirations to one day hit the road with bands that have influenced their musical style like Blink 182, Slightly Stoopid, Sum 41, Pepper and Rebelution.
This reggae/rock outfit has been touring regionally through Southern California from San Diego to Los Angeles for the past year and a half. They have also hit the road eastbound with shows in Arizona, Texas and Tennessee. This year, Jet West has joined the NASCAR circuit, having been flown out to Texas to play the Texas Motor Speedway on the Lift Master main stage. Later this summer, they have another race gig planned for Bristol, TN in August. Jet West looks to continue with expanding their fan base as their eyes and aspirations are fixed on hitting the road and exploring new markets.
Jet West has a busy May lined up to start the summer with gigs at the Belly Up Tavernâ€™s Reggae de Mayo event on May 5th, the OMBAC Music Festival on May 14th, and the 2nd Annual Cali Roots Music and Arts Festival on May 28th.
â€œWe are very blessed to have a chance to play at the Belly Up Tavern,â€ says Warner. â€œI have been attending shows there for a number of years and it has been a dream of mine since I first stepped foot in there 8 years ago. The 2nd Annual Cali Roots Music and Arts Festival looks like a great opportunity and awesome experience for Jet West.â€
â€œWe have a growing fan base in all areas of Arizona and have been ramping up our presence in Tennessee and Texas,â€ added Warner. â€œWe are also getting airplay in Hawaii and look to play out there when the opportunity comes our way. Based on the states where we have lived and have connections in, we also have a strong fan base in New England, Oregon and Las Vegas. We also have a strong fan base in Montreal, Canada with Scott having a lot of younger cousins that live in that area. We look to grow our movement to Colorado and the Midwest as soon as our lifecycle allows us.â€
Jet Westâ€™s debut album, Dropping In, is currently available on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon through Hidden Reef Records. Keep an ear open for Jet West as they are planning a tour up the coast of California this summer. For more information on Jet West, please visit their website at www.jetwestband.com
Upcoming Jet West Shows
May 5, 2011 â€“ Belly Up Tavern â€“ Reggae De Mayo – w/ J.A.M. Kwest and Sunny Rude
May 14, 2011 â€“ OMBAC Music Festival â€“ w/ RX Bandits, The Aggrolites, Authority Zero, Tomorrowâ€™s Bad Seeds and many more.
May 28,Â 2011 â€“ 2nd Annual Cali Roots Music and Arts Festival w/ Rebelution, Tribal Seeds and many more awesome bands over a two day festival.