Chicago’s JC Brooks attracted major critical acclaim for his band’s soulful music following two superb releases on Bloodshot Records. Now, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound are working under the title of their frontman and they’ve moved over to Rock Ridge Music for a new album, The Neon Jungle, that ratchets up the rock side of their sound. On “Drive”, we see JC Brooks blending soul and funk with post-punk and rock. It’s a broad sound freely drawing from multiple genres in popular music, you know, kinda like Prince. Heading for Prince territory offers the band a rich terrain to experiment and further develop their unique sound. JC Brooks says, “I feel like we carry that ethos with the genre-mixing blend of soul music we write, and the punk aspect is more about our DIY determination to get out there onstage and engage with our live crowds on a visceral level.”
Indeed, JC Brooks may be one of the better live bands in the US presently and “Drive” possesses all of the energy to make it performance favorite for years to come. JC Brooks is set to release a new album, The Neon Jungle, on 7 April 7 via Rock Ridge Music. Meanwhile, Brooks takes us through the creation of “Drive” in the mini interview below.
What inspired the song?
The concept behind the album is a wild night in Chicago and this song is supposed to capture the recklessness and anticipation of cruising into the city ready to fuck or fight and not really caring which one.
What was the recording process like? Was the song fully-formed before you went into the studio to work on it?
We wrote this one while we were recording. Our drummer, Kevin Marks, and producer, Josh Richter, came up with the proto-version and presented it to the band and we developed it from there.
Any great stories from recording this song?
We recorded in a really remote area about an hour outside the city. The only thing in walking distance was a museum of self-playing instruments, so there was no trouble to get into, lol. I had my dog out there and it was a gorgeous area so it was way less turnt and more idyllic than anything.
How do you feel about the way the song turned out? Did it end up sounding like what you imagined it might, or is it different?
I love it—I re-wrote the lyrics twice, and it doesn’t sound anything like the original demo, but that’s the beauty of collaboration… we all added something unique to the shape of the song. There are only two songs on this album that still sound the same as they did when introduced to the group.
What do you hope listeners take away from listening to this song?
Life is short, go hard.