Floridian ska-punks Less Than Jake play Riot Fest at the end of August after putting out the See the Light album in 2013, so we spoke to frontman Chris DeMakes.A
Yellow Scene: Are you working on a follow-up to See the Light?
Chris DeMakes: We’ve been touring behind the record for the last two years by the time we get done in October, so we’ve been out for the last year-and-a-half. There hasn’t been any time for writing – we’ve all been writing on our own and at the end of the year we hope to start getting some songs together and record next year.
YS: In the meantime, you’ve been working on solo material…
CD: Well, I did a couple of solo tours. I did three solo tours last year. I go out and play my own stuff, I play some covers, and I do a couple of Jake songs at the end of the set. I haven’t really been focussing on doing anything recording-wise. I don’t really know how I want to go about it. It’s been a lot of fun – it’s just something for me to do outside of the band. I get together with some friends of mine and we go have a good time for a couple of days. The solo things – I’m playing really small bars and pubs. Really intimate, and the crowds range anywhere between 30, 40 people to upwards of 100. One of the biggest shows I played was in New Jersey to 250 people with a bunch of other bands on the bill. It’s completely different to the band because it’s just me. It’s cool to go back to the band when we fire up again.
YS: Are you looking forward to Riot Fest?
CD: Oh yeah. Riot Fest is great. It’s one of the cooler festivals. A lot of festivals have started popping up in the States, because people have seen how things go over in England and Europe, plus Australia and Japan. Of course, you had Lollapalooza 20 years ago that started the festival thing, and it went to OzzFest and the Bonnaroos. Riot Fest, to me, is the best of them all because you’re getting all these genres of music. Warped Tour is metal and screamo, Bonnaroo is more of this type of style. Riot Fest is all over the place, and that’s what I love about it.
YS: What can we expect from your set?
CD: You can expect lots of really crappy jokes that your uncle would tell you when you were a kid. High energy. We go out there and have fun. We throw a party for ourselves, and somehow it always translates to the fans. We feed off that energy. That’s part of our shows – the spontaneity of it. If you go se us in Denver on a Thursday and then Colorado Springs on a Friday, you’ll see the same band but a different show. Nothing’s ever scripted, and that’s what I love about it.
YS: When Riot Fest is over, what’s next?
CD: We’re going to do our annual Wake & Bake in Gainesville. It’s our hometown party. We do three days over Labor Day Weekend every year, and fans from all over the country and the world fly in for it. We do activities with the fans, different stuff all weekend. It’s amazing. We do Riot Fest Chicago after that, then we go to Japan, Australia, play Hawaii on the way back, then the It’s Not Dead Festival out in California. It’s all the bands from yesteryear that did Warped tour. It’s us, Lagwagon, Descendents, NOFX, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, the Vandals. We play that, then October 16 is our last show of the year – we’re playing for the Orlando men’s soccer team. How that came about, I have no idea.
Less Than Jake plays Denver Riot Fest; August 28-30; riotfest.org/denver.