KJ JansenFat Wreck Chords
By Shelby Monita on August 5th, 2015 at Bovine Sex Club - Toronto, ON
Continuing our coverage of Fat Wreck Chords‘ 25th Anniversary tour, we bring you our second interview with some Fat Wreck alumni: Chixdiggit!. Originally signing on to Fat Wreck‘s sister label Honest Don’s for their 1998 album Born On The First Of July, the Calgary four piece have carried their pop-punk tunes well into the new century.
We catch up with KJ at the Bovince Sex Club in Toronto at the kick-off party for the anniversary tour and talk about the label and the band known as Bum.
Also don’t forget to read our interview with Masked Intruder.
Shelby Monita: The past 25 years of Fat Wreck do you have any records that stand out to you, that were your favourite?
KJ: … it’s impossible to answer because there’s probably at least 25 but I previously picked Duh by Lagwagon, I love that record. The Masked Intruder record I love and yeah you know the NOFX records, they just keep on getting better and better. So I can’t really answer that with one record. I’m sure everyone is saying the same thing too, right? That it’s impossible to pick one
SM: I know Chixdiggit have toured with so many Fat Wreck bands, how does it feel touring with so many of your peers?
KJ: It’s funny all the questions have been about how does it feel to be a part of Fat Wreck Chords family or whatever. And it is totally a family, everybody knows everybody. A lot of the bands when they roll through Calgary, you know crash with us. You know it’s a family, so it’s like you see these people, then you don’t see them for three months, but then you see them again and it’s like nothings changed…
SM: Can you wrap up your experience with Fat Wreck in one word?
KJ: Um yeah I guess fun? Haha I don’t know!
SM: Do you have any advice for bands that want to work with Fat Wreck one day or that are still trying to make it?
KJ: Well I don’t know, I think the bands that Fat work with are all super themselves and they just sort of do your own thing, you know? There are a lot of bands that try to sound like other bands, but I think if you don’t do that and you do your own thing, you’re probably going to have a lot more success. Whether if that be with Fat Wreck Chords or any label.
SM: What is your favourite kind of pizza?
KJ: There’s this bacon and garlic one, but I’ve been cutting down on meat, so I guess just garlic?
SM: Garlic is really good.
KJ: It’s super good. Just a thin crust pizza with a little bit of tomato sauce and bacon and garlic.
SM: But only garlic sounds great.
KJ: Yeah yeah just garlic, even if you’re sick or whatever just garlic is great.
SM: Do you remember your first celebrity crush?
KJ: You know I was never into celebrities when I was young.
SM: Or Disney princess, anything like that?
KJ: You know I’m from a time when there weren’t really any Disney princesses or anything like that… probably Jaclyn Smith, one of the original Charlie’s Angels.
SM: That’s fair, probably on a lot of guy’s lists.
KJ: You know what, you’re probably right.
SM: What 3 records are you listening to on repeat?
KJ: Oh, yeah I can answer that! There’s uh The Copyrights North Sentinel Island. And a record that I found when I was cleaning the basement last week by a band called Silver Sun from the UK. Not Silver Sun Pickups, just Silver Sun… and it’s their first record and it’s just called Silver Sun.
SM: What year would that of been?
KJ: ’93? It’s killer and I only discovered them later. Um there’s a band from Victoria called Bum, do you know Bum at all?
KJ: Oh wow you would love Bum, if you know like rock n’ roll.
SM: Are they a newer band?
KJ No, and Bum would be the third one…. Because those are the only CDs I have in my car right now. But yeah, Silver Sun are great and the songs are insane. You’ll wonder why they didn’t make it over here because they are so powerful power pop, which is great. And Bum, the first time we went to Spain was ’98, we had never played outside of Canada and so we went to Spain. This is before the internet was really big and these kids knew of us and Bum. And we were like ‘well we know Bum because we played with them a few times’ though they never made it out East but they went to Spain and they were one of the biggest bands in Spain.
KJ: Yeah and there’ a rock magazine in Spain and in ’93 the #1 band in Spain was Nirvana, #2 was Bum and #3 was Pearl Jam, like in the national poll or whatever. These guys in Victoria that never played there but were huge there.
SM: Did they know that?
KJ: They did yeah. So we went out our first night in Spain, the promoter took us out to his bar and he had one whole wall painted with their album cover of Bum. It was totally crazy and before the Internet, you know, how do you know these guys?
SM: Have you watched the really famous documentary Searching for Sugar Man?
KJ: Yes, very similar to that. And these are on tour and just like week went back to Spain. And they have some unbelievable songs.
SM: Nice, I’ll check them out. I don’t know of many bands from Victoria.
KJ: Well there was Dayglo Abortions, No Means No who are like… have you seen No Means No play? Insane! And The Hanson Brothers and uh, Bum.
SM: Yeah I feel like Vancouver I can defiantly get into, Victoria is it’s own and then Saskatchewan, I can’t really think of any bands from there… not any punk rock bands.
KJ: yeah well there’s more people in Calgary than there are in Saskatchewan.
SM: As a whole?
KJ: Yeah, there’s like maybe a million people there.
SM: I feel like I’m showing my Toronto ignorance right now
KJ: No no it’s all-good! … I mean we just played Saskatchewan and there’s a crazy scene out there, but I don’t know of that many bands or whatever….
SM: So I’ve seen you play, obviously and you always yell “Let’s hear it for Chixdiggit!” Where did that come from, cheering for yourself?
KJ: Well I think it was kind of a joke… but I don’t know where that came from. I think most of that came from watching comedians and you know just like not rock n’ roll entertainers and see how they handle the crowd. You know we were sort of inspired by that and sort of thought that was funny, so I think it really just came from that.
SM: Are you really into comedians? Are you like a comedian buff kind of guy?
KJ: Not lately but more like, I’m sort of just into people who will just stand in front of a crowd and talk. Whether they are giving a book reading or a toast at a wedding. One of the things that freaks me out is a dad crying. At a wedding or a funeral or anything, I can’t handle that, that kind of power that goes with it, that kind of thing. But just people getting up and speaking in front of people… but that wasn’t a conscious thing, it was just joking around
SM: What is next for Chixdiggit! Do you have anything coming up?
KJ: Yeah we have lots of music written, we’ve been kind of, like my wife and I just had our second child about a month ago.
KJ: Thanks, yeah so we’re kind of getting back to getting some sleep. But yeah next year is our 25th anniversary so I think we’ve got to get some stuff out by then hopefully.
SM: Great, well I look forward to that!