Mom Jeans is a four-piece Emo group out of Berkeley, CA, currently touring alongside bands Tiny Moving Parts and Oso Oso. Just before their January 26 concert at The Sett, Mom Jeans sat down with EMMIE to chat about their music, influences and future.
So, how’d the name come about?
Eric: So me and Austin lived on the same floor freshman year of college and that’s how we met each other, at UC Berkeley. We’d jam together and wanted to start a band, and, you know, it’s a funny name for a band.
Do you guys wear mom jeans?
Eric: Not really, unless, like, regular light-wash jeans are mom jeans. I don’t wear pants.
Bart: It’s funny, it’s like such an inanimate object, I was thinking if we call ourselves this, then no one will take us seriously and fans will be bummed listening to a band called Mom Jeans.
So, all of you guys studied at UC Berkeley. Can you quickly list your majors?
Eric: I was a sociology major.
Gabe: I was business/finance, and Austin was statistics.
What are your guys’ musical influences?
Eric: Joyce Manor was probably the band that got me to start [writing]. I was like this is cool. Modern Baseball is up there too, for sure. And probably. I mean shit, Tiny Moving Parts honestly, they’re one of the bands that me and Austin like hardcore. We were like, oh you like this band? I like this band too, lets start a band that sounds like this.
Bart: Um, I’d rather not say haha, ask Gabe. Gabe’s not gonna be any better. Let me guess, Growlers.
Gabe: Yes, yes, um Gorillaz, pretty much any band with the letter G, because you know. Austin likes pop punk shit, A Day to Remember.
Bart: Make sure you write that.
What got you involved in the playing music/songwriting, and at what point did you realize it would be your career?
Eric: I did band, like in elementary school through middle school, and I was in marching band in high school and stuff like that. And I wanted to be like, I’ve always wanted to be a musician that was a really serious trombone player in high school. Um, but my parents were always very much like, no, you have to be like so good in music to like be a professional player, which is true when you’re doing like orchestral scores, or whatever. So when I went to school it was like, I kind of wanted to do the same thing, I just wanted to like have a band to play in and have fun and do something on the weekends, and then we made the record and things started popping off and it was like, oh shit, if I can actually get somewhere with this band for a while and not have to get a real job, that would be sick.
Eric, can you describe your songwriting process? Is it just you as the writer or does the band contribute as well?
Eric: Yeah, I do the lyrics. Me and Austin, we kind of write everything collectively. Like I’m not a good drummer at all. And it’s like Austin also writes a lot of guitar riffs that I really like, and don’t like figuring out how to play, that I think are cool.
And then I dunno, lyrically I just think sometimes it’s really easy to tell when bands are like singing or saying something that doesn’t really seem like they necessarily like believe in, or like its pandering is like really obvious. A lot of music that I’ve grown up listening to sounds like it’s pandering and just like, I don’t know, I liked arts, listening to bands like Joyce Manor and Modern Baseball, sounding like those bands were singing about stuff that was real to that exhibit. I felt like it was real people talking about real stuff.
Is “Death Cup” a heartbreak song?
Eric: No, actually. Nothing on the record is heartbreak — well I guess it is heartbreak, but not like romantic heartbreak. Most of the songs on that album I’ve made, I’ve been with the same partner for the last three years and I’ve never broken up with them and had to deal with that. But uh, I think a lot of the same feelings that you go through when you lose a really close friend or lose ties with like your family, you just, you know, there’s people that you drifted away from in your every day, a lot of the feelings that you feel when that stuff happens. Like when you lose a close friend, [those] are the same feelings you feel, like you get dumped and just feel hopeless and shitty. So I think that’s why that comes across as like a breakup record, which in a sense it is, but it’s like breaking up with everything.
What do you guys like to do outside of music that contributes to your musicality?
Eric: Oh shit. That was a good question. I don’t know. I like binge-watching movies and TV shows. I get lot of inspiration from those … I really like, um, Seinfeld, The Office [and] any shows that highlight the monotony of daily life.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?
Eric: Me, Gabe and Austin all met in college and we were a three-piece band for a while ,and that’s how we made the record. I knew nothing about gears. We knew nothing about anything, just like the goal was just to make something that we were happy with and we were like confident to put out. Then Bart filled on bass for a couple tours. Throughout the whole process we were like woah, this band is way cooler with him in it, and we wanted another guitar player so adding him has definitely changed the sound a little bit. We started out like twinkle crystal clear tone-wise, and lately I’ve been getting really into gear.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Eric: I think the hardest thing is being away from home, like keeping your relationships healthy and our partners happy. Luckily all our partners are really supportive, but it’s stressful when you’re gone for a month at a time every other month and you’re just like not home. Like sometimes I fear that, you know, they start to feel lonely.
Bart: Being broke, man, not having any money. I mean hopefully it won’t be like that you know. Trying to put that work in. So that’s the idea.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands, or how to get your name out there?
Eric: I think some people get caught up in what’s cool and what’s not. … I think having low expectations and then being really grateful and just like taking everything with a grain of salt and just like finding a way to, again, find joy in the hard work and the creativity, [is better] than worrying about how many people show up to your show or how big of rooms you’re playing. It’s not going to matter, and people are going to gravitate towards [your music] because you’re doing something that you think is cool. … It might take them a while to catch on, but I think doing you and doing what you think is cool way sicker than trying to be something else, like, “I wanna be like this band.”
What are your favorite locations that you’ve visited on tour and where are you excited to go next?
Eric: My three favorite cities were Denton, Texas, Philadelphia and Chicago. I really want to go to the UK,I think that’d be really fun.
Gabe: I wanna go to Hawaii.
Bart: I’d say Boston, or Brooklyn. Basically any city that has homies in it is super fun to play.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard from a fan at a concert?
Eric: “Can you sign my vape?”
Bart: People usually ask if they can smoke weed with us [laughs].
Favorite American Football meme? LP1 or LP2?
Eric: OK. So there’s this really, really sick video and it’s a clip from the movie “Deliverance.” So there’s this clip where this dude is like playing guitar at this kid,he’s like playing these riffs and the kid copies it, and they like go back and forth like two or three times.They just go back and forth, like ripping back at each other and then you hear the “Never Meant” drop. LP1 for sure, LP2 is boring AF [sic].
What are your plans for the future? Are you working on any new music?
Eric: We’re gonna put out a new record and go on a huge tour after. Also we’re making sure we get home after this tour, and the idea is just to keep making music and to keep playing shows. … Like just play music with my friends and say that’s my job is like, that’s the dream, you know.