Ackerman Interview: “I think we’re moving in a fun new sonic direction”

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While their plans for an album, live shows, and the Pie Madness competition that the band love so much ended up having to be rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak, US indie-rockers Ackerman have managed to keep the buzz moving as they unveil their latest single Work In Finance.

Emerging from the eclectic music scene in Brooklyn, New York, the now bicoastal trio treat us to this bright and psychedelic new offering. Following their recent delight Surf King, Work In Finance showcases more of that vibrant and flamboyant approach to music, filling this new release with pulsing energy and some truly bonkers synths.

So with their new cut smashing it over here and at home, we sat down with the band’s Jordan McAfee-Hahn to find out more about their latest material and what the future holds for them.

Hi Jordan, how are you today?

I’m good all things considered! Made some coffee and it’s hot as balls outside, finally starting to feel like summer. Losing my mind slower today than usual. Thanks for doing this!

For those that aren’t familiar with your music, how would you best describe your sound?

I like to say experimental rock or electronic rock just by association, although I feel like those words are pretty meaningless. Our music is not-very-weird weird I guess!

And what artists have influenced you the most over the years?

I think the three of us are a stew of Sigur Ros, Brian Eno, 80s house, 70s prog, and mid 00s indie rock, with a Spirit of the Beehive garnish.

You have just released your latest single ‘Work In Finance’. Can you tell us a little bit about how that track came about?

I was listening to a lot of super fun, synth-wavey head banging tracks, and wanted to take a crack at it. The bass line came first and the song just came out quickly. There’s a very specific vibe I get from people our age when it comes to their financial struggles — everyone works so hard, but for many reasons that work isn’t validated financially, and there’s just this throw your hands up and laugh attitude despite the underlying desperation. I was feeling it hard. These lyrics and sing-along melody felt like our version of an end-of-the-world party anthem for people who are feeling the pressure that has been handed to us.

And are you planning to make it part of a larger release, such as an EP or album, in the months to come?

We are working on a whole new LP that we’re super stoked on, but I think that Surf King and Work in Finance are so enigmatic and such a product of the early 2020 world-clusterfuck we’re in that it’s hard to see them on a record… I think we’re moving in a fun new sonic direction and these singles were a fun way of trying on some new sounds.

The lockdown has affected everyone’s plans right now, but what are you doing to stay productive throughout it and are you still able to work on new music?

We’re used to working remotely, so we’re trying to keep moving this record forward, working and producing when we can, as well as working on individual projects while this is all going on. We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves though, because now more than ever mental health is the most important thing.

And finally, if you weren’t a musician, what advice would you give other artists trying to stay productive during this crisis?

My friend Daniel put it best: creative work is like a well. There’s a time to draw water from the well, and time to allow the water to replenish. I know on social media there’s all this bullshit like “if you don’t end quarantine with your novel finished, you’re a failure” and that’s fucking stupid. Don’t be afraid to sit back and let water back into the well. If you do nothing but draw from it, you’re going to exhaust it. Take it easy, appreciate your life, wash your hands, and watch all three seasons of Avatar in one week if you have to.


Ackerman’s latest single Work In Finance is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it below.

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Indie is not a genre

Indie is not a genre