Life Hacks Interview
We recently had the chance to talk Jeff, Mark and Morgan from Boston based band Life Hacks! Check out their music here and the full interview below:
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Who are Life Hacks?
Jeff - I’m Jeff, I play guitar and sing sometimes. I make mixtapes all day.
Mark - I play guitar and don’t sing.
Jeff - Yeah but you should tho.
Morgan - I’m Morgan, I play bass and sing sometimes. Jaimie plays drums and works as a union organizer with way less free time than the rest of us.
When did you first start making music? What are some of your inspirations (people/ideas/etc)?
Jeff - Life Hacks started practicing about a year ago (right?). We all used to be in another band together 8 years ago called Awful Man, and we felt like playing music again. I’m inspired by punk bands that don’t exclusively sing about girls. My favorite bands are probably Dillinger Four and Chumbawamba and Discharge. I read HG Wells and Ray Bradbury 4eva. My favorite website is giphy.
Mark - A couple of us were in flock of angry peasants together and some other bands. The marshmallows, shitbox, needle drugs and closet fairies. I’d say inspirations are definitely leatherface and the fastbacks.
Morgan - I don’t know if “inspired” is the right word, but pessimism about the state of the world is a big part of what I write about in pretty much every band. With Life Hacks in particular, a few songs actually date back to a country-punk band that Jaimie and I were supposed to start with Adam Haut (our old bandmate from Bread & Roses), before he died the summer before last. He was a once-in-a-lifetime friend, talented musician, and truly inspiring person; “Last Call And Testament” is about him.
Tell us a story from your childhood of when you realized how much music meant to you.
Mark - As a kid (like 1995) I’d listen to WJUL at night and would tape songs off the radio. They played punk and 90’s chugga core which at the time we just called hardcore. I realized the whole punk thing goes way beyond Dookie. Eventually I got over the chugga core phase.
Jeff - My dad was really into music when I was young, so I have been listening to music since forever. He had a shit ton of records that I would listen to all day. One time I came home with a fuckin Toadies record, and he was like “ohhh so you like metal or something?” then he played a Black Sabbath LP and I was like “oh ok thanks the toadies sux.” I got into diy punk music from the Lookout Records catalog inside a Green Day LP. I had always been into music, but I got really involved in it when I figured out that all the bands I liked were just ugly sweaty losers.
Morgan - Jeff definitely still loves the Toadies though. I discovered music (other than parent car mixtapes) by moving to Washington, DC sophomore year of high school. I met some kids who were really into punk and hardcore, and a completely different set of kids who were really into dungeons & dragons and 80s heavy metal (and definitely the 80s movie, “Heavy Metal”). Before that, I lived in France and let me tell you, 80s French pop music was pretty dismal.
Jeff - Oh I definitely still have the Toadies LP.
Mark - Vitamin wine.
Jeff - PBR out of a soda can walking to practice.
Morgan - Iced coffee with condensed milk, but honestly PBR also. Jaimie would probably say whatever incredibly hoppy ultra-IPA tastes most like an ulcer.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Jeff - That you can sing about “real shit, mannn”, but also that you can make fart jokes between songs. And that’s ok.
Mark - ACA fuckin’ B.
Jeff - What he said.
Morgan - Yeah, both of those. For me this is a band that’s more about playing music with these three people, rather than something that has a specific underlying concept if that makes sense? But I also feel like it’s still important to communicate real ideas and perspectives, even if they’re muddled up with a fair amount of knuckle-headedness.
Tell us about your creative process – how do you guys go about making new songs?
Jeff - Usually someone will show up with a full song written, and we’ll mess with it until we’re all into it.
Mark - Our drummer brings fully written songs, with lyrics to practice. It rules. I don’t write any songs. sometimes I’ll come up with like a decent 30 second part we’ll use. (citation needed)
Morgan - I keep a huge running list of song titles and vague ideas, and when I’m playing guitar on my own I’ll kind of feel around them until one clicks enough to start actually putting it together. With this band I’ve been trying to leave more space for the instruments to just sort of do their thing, instead of getting every second of the songs tightly buttoned down.
Favorite place in Boston?
Jeff - Our practice space probably. The other day I went there with my walkman. I plugged it into the PA and sat by myself listening to the JUDGE “bringin it down” tape drinking a beer. And the Coolidge Corner theater.
Mark - I don’t leave my apartment but the steps from the SSD record, or that Negative FX youtube video are supposed to be cool.
Jeff - Wait. Is the Negative FX youtube video a “place in Boston”?
Mark - Uhh yeah.
Morgan - I actually love Allston, where Mark and I both live. Kind of a dumb, grubby neighborhood with a lot of college bros but after living here for so long and going to so many billions of basement shows here, I can’t stay mad at it (which is what “We Can’t Stop Here, This Is Rat Country” is about, more or less).
Nicest thing anyone’s ever said to you about your music?
Mark - “Good set, can I use your amp?”
Jeff - “You guys sound like your old band.”
*Article photo taken by Al Quint
Amanda Glazer is a DJ and Online Content Head for Record Hospital.