By Jordan Stovka
The impressive musical stylings of the Frederick, Maryland, four-piece band jacket. are nothing short of spectacular, and the spectacle continues when you consider that none of the bandmates are older than 20.
Freshman Spanish major Bryce Watson is the oldest of the group at 19-years-old, while the remainder of the band is still in high school: vocalist Jackson Knight and drummer Nick Belski are both seniors at Linganore High School, while guitarist Cosimo Tauraso is a junior at Middletown High School.
From Watson’s perspective, each member brings his own expertise and experience to the group — whether it be musically or otherwise — providing them with the chance to learn from one another regardless of their age.
“Everyone’s kind of the youngest in their own way, and everyone has their own wisdom that they bring,” Watson said. “So it doesn’t ever really feel like I’m playing with people younger than me.”
Occasionally, mid-set promposals and talks of high school drama reveal his bandmates’ differing chapters of life, but Watson takes it all in stride.
“I think it’s funny when they talk about high school stuff. Even though I graduated last year, I’ve forgotten about that lifestyle entirely, and it’s kind of funny to still be able to live it vicariously through them,” he added.
Although high school may seem like a thing of the past, those years are what ultimately brought jacket. together. Watson, Knight and Belski credit high school jazz band for giving them the opportunity to “jam everyday,” while Knight and Tauraso have known each other since age 4, reconnecting in their later years over their love for music.
Despite the band’s jazz roots, jacket.’s sound can’t easily be defined.
“There’s no genre to describe it,” Watson said. “It’s bluesy and jazzy, but it’s not blues or jazz.”
With influences hailing from Kings of Leon, John Mayer, Young The Giant and Pinegrove, the band identifies with alternative, while their lyrics are often inspired by everyday sensationalism.
“How something is happening or how people are interacting kind of feeds into our songwriting, and we try to recreate those feelings,” Knight, 18, said.
Jacket. recently performed an acoustic set (in the absence of Belski) for the Terrapin Record Label Showcase April 9 as the featured artist of the semester, having been signed by the label after competing in live auditions held Feb. 17.
“We were all so stoked that night when we heard that we had the opportunity to record,” Tauraso, 17, said.
“It gave a medium for all the ideas we had to come to reality,” Knight added.
Working with TRL has been the “ideal situation,” according to Knight, while Watson described the experience as the perfect balance between being an independent artist and being signed to a label.
“They take care of business. They’re covering so much: recording, music videos, photos, artwork. Whatever we need,” Knight said. “Instead of it being a regular record label where they control everything, it’s like having a team; it’s like a team working together.”
Recording their first EP, Sugar on Blue Days, is tentatively aimed to finish in early May and ready to be on the market by June.
In addition to local College Park and Frederick gigs, jacket. is set to play next at the Earth Day Benefit at the Stamp Grand Ballroom April 21, as well as the Rock The Row festival at the Terrapin Row apartments on May 6.
Although Belski is planning to attend Belmont University in Nashville for professional music performance, Tauraso and Knight pledged to stay local in their college endeavors, hereby preserving jacket.’s companionship. Asking about the band’s future, however, ensued three varying responses.
Knight and Tauraso aimed their goals high…
“We want to play at Red Rocks,” Knight said.
“I want to tour the country. I want to play a lot of music,” Tauraso said. “Creatively, I want to have absolute freedom and the ability behind us to record and make the music we want. Play it out, play it out with big crowds.”
…while Watson has simpler plans.
“I just want to start writing songs that are good enough for jacket.,” he said, laughing.
Featured Photo Credit: Frederick-based alternative band jacket. performs at the Terrapin Record Label Showcase held at WMUC Radio Saturday, April 9, 2017 (Jordan Stovka/Bloc Reporter).
Jordan Stovka is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.