Interview: Jetsetting – Sweet Escape

Synth pop? Space rock? Something in between? New York City’s Jetsetting isn’t as concerned with how you describe their music as they are with making sure your booty shakes when you listen to it. Their debut album The Spaceman combines relentless bass and drum rhythms with dreamy synthesizers, blistering guitar solos, and sticky vocal melodies to create grooves that will keep your head nodding long after you’ve stopped listening.

Hey Jetsetting, super nice to have the chance to chat with you. What first got you into music?

Ryan: Thanks for having us! I have been into music for as long as I can remember. Even as a very young child, I always had headphones on or my ear near a speaker. I have a lot of warm memories of being in the back of the car with my parents, listening to stuff like Hall & Oates and The Bee Gees. I started playing the saxophone in third grade, and from there, it was on! I’ve played in several bands across many different genres over the last 20 years. 

Phil: My parents would always have music playing. In their restaurants, food trucks, the house, the car, you name it, it was always on. So I would sing all these songs and when I got to sixth grade I joined the school chorus and rode that all the way into college. Like Ryan, I’ve been playing in and out of bands for the last 20 years.

Your latest song is ‘Sweet Escape’. Can you share with us the background of its creation and did any unusual things happen during its creation?

Ryan: This song actually came to life while we were in lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic. Because we’re in separate locations, we actually were never in the same room when we were writing and recording it. It was done all with file sharing. Initially, it started with a keyboard part that Phil sent me. I worked with that, built out the beat from there, and then sent it to Phil to write his lyrics and vocals.

Phil:  When Ryan sent me the track, I immediately went to work thinking about how to tackle this. Vocally I was playing with singing with a full, but breathy voice. Personally, I had only come out a few months prior and I felt that perhaps I could turn this into a coming out song. So when I wrote the lyrics, I intentionally left out specific pronouns or anything that would put it in a box. I wanted this song to be for everyone, and I wanted to capture the beauty and passion in that.

Where do you get inspiration for the very original photos you post on your social media?

Ryan: The band is extremely lucky to be based in Bushwick, Brooklyn among a great community of artists. A lot of our visuals come from just taking pictures around the neighborhood using street art as a background. We also have many wonderful people in our lives who help us to bring different visual ideas we have to life, which is how the “Sweet Escape” music video was made. Something we always strive for is to have our visuals be reminiscent of some type of psychedelic trip and the energy and spirituality that can come from those experiences.

Where are you from and do you have a stable home or do you prefer traveling?

Ryan: We have an interesting relationship because we live in different places. I’m based in Brooklyn, NY now, but initially I grew up in Southern New Jersey — shout outs to South Jersey! — not far from Philadelphia. It’s important for me to have a home base to help keep me grounded. But I do love to travel and the spontaneity that can come with that. 

Phil: I currently live at the beach in Cape May Court House, NJ. Like Ryan, I also grew up in Southern New Jersey. I think I can echo Ryan on this one. I do love coming home and having that time to unwind and rewind. But I have traveled a lot in my life and I always enjoy new and exciting adventures.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

Ryan: I view Jetsetting as an amalgamation of the many different genres of music I love. That has been my vision as we’ve developed the sound over the years. We try to bring in influences from all over, be it rock, pop, hip hop, or even some latin influence on some of our newer stuff. It’s important that the music makes you move, too. We both love to dance and we want our music to give people that same feeling.

Phil: I couldn’t have said it better. Ryan and I are always bouncing ideas, songs, aspects of songs, and recording tricks to keep it fresh and try to tick every box.

What was the best performance in your career? How do you remember it?

Ryan: This is a hard one! For me, it would have to be getting the opportunity to play at CBGB before it closed down. I was playing with this shitty screamo band when I was a teenager and we got booked there somehow. We wound up playing for like 20 people, the entire place was a complete wreck, and we sounded terrible, but nobody cared. It was such a fun experience and we had so much energy during the whole thing. Afterwards, our van got towed and we had to spend hours tracking it down, before hoofing it back to New Jersey to sleep on a floor. It was one of the most punk rock nights of my life.

Phil: A show that always sticks out for me was one that we played in Philly at an old venue called Emerald City. It was a great show and the place was packed! Afterwards we went out to the diner with another band on those shows. And that night, the entire place broke out in singing Build Me Up Buttercup. It was like a scene right out of a movie!

If you could go open a show for any artist or band who would it be?

Ryan: Living or dead? I’d have to go with either Pink Floyd or Philadelphia’s own Teddy Pendergrass.

Phil: For me, it would be Led Zeppelin at the peak of their power.

Who’s your ideal artist to collaborate with and why?

Ryan: I’d really love to collaborate with a great rhythm section. Somebody like a combination of Bootsy Collins on bass and Anderson .Paak on drums. Both of those guys know how to lay down a silky smooth groove and I’d love to get some more of those in our repertoire. Plus both guys are incredible songwriters. They’d make our lives very easy.

Phil: I’d love to add Nile Rodgers and Chromeo to that mix. The sheer booty shaking and soul moving grooves that could come out of that quintet would be absolutely unreal! I could only dream of the vocal harmonies that could come out of that!

What are your plans for the future

Ryan: We’ve got a couple more singles lined up to be released in the second half of 2022, and right now we’re also writing our follow up to [our 2020 debut EP] “The Spaceman.” We’re excited about that project, which is going to take place in the same universe The Spaceman did and maybe expand on the concept and story from that album a bit. We also want to start playing a lot more live shows and introducing more people to Jetsetting.Phil: We’ve got a lot of coals in the fire and with the reaction to Sweet Escape, I can’t wait to introduce everyone to more new material. We are constantly making moves and having fun, and there’s plenty more good times and tunes to be had in the future as well!

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