Interview with Dryjacket

By Sean McCall

Dryjacket is an alternative-indie band from South Jersey under Hopeless Records.  The band's members consist of Joe Junod, Brad Wyllner, Ian Foley, and Adam Cerdan.  The majority of them are about 23-25 years old. I was fortunate enough to be able to sit down with a couple of them and talk a little more in depth about their band and what to expect in the future.

Many of the members of Dryjacket have had a lot of previous experience in other bands in the scene prior to forming Dryjacket.  The guitarist, Brad, used to be in a pop-punk band called Ampersand.  Ian and Brad used to be involved in a band called Exit 34, Adam was in Heartwell, and Joe had his own solo project entitled "Ides of June."

I asked them to describe their personal musical background leading up to the formation of Dryjacket, and Brad responded, “Everybody came in at different points.  I left Ampersand to pursue a different genre of music that I found more enjoyable.  My old band, Ampersand, wasn’t the music I wanted to go all in on.  So basically, I met Joe and we just jammed a bit until we found the right sound with the right people.  We had about two songs written that we’d test out with a couple of different people.  Ian had just graduated from West Chester, so he came to us and basically said he wanted to play music again.  Then my brother played in Heartwell with Adam, so we had known him from that as well as through high school.  It took about three to four months to really get everything set in stone and start recording.  We officially formed in February, and we started recording in April.”

I also asked how they chose their band name, and Joe told me he got the idea using a Back to the Future II reference, which is pretty cool.  Dryjacket is a pretty new artist with a solid jump-start into the music scene, getting signed onto Hopeless Records alongside bands such as Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, All Time Low, amongst many others.  I asked Brad how their band got the offer to sign to Hopeless and he said, “We got on Hopeless through Joe Marro, who is our Manager.  He had connections with Hopeless Records, and basically just sent our EP, 'Lights, Locks, & Faucets' to a friend on the label.  He didn’t suggest signing us or anything, but they must’ve liked our music enough to ask us.  Joe Marro is the guitarist of another well-known New Jersey band called The Early November.  He’s been in the band since he was 19, and he’s now 31.  He said he’s basically had enough of the road and wants to focus more on management.  We know Joe as a family friend of a friend, but as we got older, I started hanging out with my older brother a lot more, so we became friends.  Adam actually filled in on drums for The Early November on warped tour one year, so we have various connections here and there leading up to getting signed."

S.M.: Can you talk about the music you have released and maybe a little about the music to come?

Dryjacket:  The first EP came together very easily and quickly.  We worked hard prior to going into the studio.  We gave the songs the attention they needed, and we went in and recorded them the right way.  We didn’t settle for anything.  We were very picky until we got it the way we wanted. Which is similar to our full length we just recorded.  A lot of bands will wait to write, but we kept writing and revising immediately ever since the EP came out, so, but the time we went in to record the full length, we did a lot of preproduction and just did our best to be prepared.  We were kind of intimidated by the idea of doing a full length in two weeks initially, but we actually had a lot of extra time.  It was a very good feeling to be prepared.

How was your experience recording at Gradwell House recording studios?

It was a good experience, it was really nice to work with Greg Dunn.  He’s an engineer and producer, and also plays guitar and sings for a band Moving Mountains.  Greg moved here from New York to Philadelphia recently, so it was perfect timing just as he got here.  Since he moved here, he became good friends with our Manager, Joe Marro, so he’s been hanging out with us a lot.

Can you talk about how you got the opportunity to play with Have Mercy, The Movie Life, and the Early November at the Fillmore?

It was definitely our biggest show to date, and one of the most fun shows we’ve played.  The Fillmore is a beautiful venue.  Everybody was really nice, and people actually seemed to listen and be interested.  But playing just one of these big shows like that one, you don’t get as much recognition as you would think you would.  We didn’t get a lot more social media attention, but we did sell a lot of merch.  Going on a small tour with bands similar to your genre pays off much more with the small amount of fans you gain each time you tour.  But the show itself was an awesome experience.

Do you have any upcoming tours planned out?

Not as of right now, but we’re working on stuff.  Hopefully we’ll do something in the summer, but we plan to release our full length in the full around September or October, and then we’ll tour on that.

What is the name of this upcoming full length you just finished recording?

That’s to be determined.  We have some ideas, but nothing is set in stone yet so I don’t want to give anything away!

Dryjacket toured the Central/East Coast area last spring in April for about two weeks, and then later toured more along the West Coast with whetherbox and Fireworks for their final run on tour.  Fireworks asked Dryjacket personally to tour with them.  They really liked their music, and they were kind enough to not think about ticket sales, money, or anything.  Fireworks just thoroughly enjoyed their music enough to ask them to open for their final tour.  Obviously, Dryjacket has been rapidly gaining attention from bigger names and acts around the country, and they are only bound to grow further with their full-length release through Hopeless Records later this fall.  Their music is unique, dynamically driven, and almost calming while still having a solid drive throughout each song.  Their melodies are catchy, and their hooks are even better. They are a group of super-talented, passionate, and genuine musicians as well as people, and I promise they sound even tighter live.  If you don’t believe it, make sure to check them out yourself the next time they play in your area!


About the Writer

Sean McCall is a Music Business Technology Major studying at Rowan University with a Minor in Theatre.  He has been attending shows and events since he was in middle school and has had his own band he’s been involved in for about 7 years called Breaking Tradition.  He has been actively involved in the music scene since he was young and holds an overall passion for all types of music.  He has an ear for music and tries to pick up as many instruments as he can.  Sean has sung in multiple competitive honor choirs throughout the country, ranging from All-State Honor Choir to as far as All-National Honor Choir, and plans to take off in the Music Industry in as many ways possible.  Sean also recently helped book a show in Glassboro with his friends, Alex Lavallee and Alex Bradley, and plans to book many more independent shows in the near future.  With a passion for music, bands, and the overall scene, he is adding music journalism to his resumé to contribute even further into this talented area we call home.