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Like Pacific’s Jordan Black: “If The Pandemic Taught Me Anything, It Was Not To Take People’s Shit”

Jack Rogers
Jack Rogers 1 December 2021 at 16.30

"The determination was there, and without that, I think we would have been fucked"

Like Pacific are about to drop their long-awaited new album 'Control My Sanity' this Friday (December 03) via Pure Noise Records.

It's taken a minute for the band to get the record together, but the wait is all the more worth it as they have produced their most pristine, powerful and phenomenal collection of songs to date. Stark, sincere and dripping in pop sensibility, it's a record that is as catchy as it is cathartic, and one that will live under your skin long after it the last note has faded.

We sat down with vocalist Jordan Black to find out about the journey and what it has been like creating music in one of the heaviest and most confusing periods any of us will ever live through...

In many ways, this record picks up where ‘In Spite Of Me’ left off in terms of the last few years of your life. But what did that album do for you that led you to where we are now?
"The last record, honestly, felt a little bit like flop era. That’s funny to us. I’m not saying it did terribly, but it didn’t do as good as we thought it was going to do. I think we were also exhausted from touring at that point because we had been given so many opportunities. We took all of them, and it was amazing, but we weren’t bringing anything new to the table within it. We made ‘In Spite Of Me’ in the way we wanted to make it. It’s a really raw record with no crazy production. But as we advanced, and being a little bit older, we started to say, ‘Why don’t we just play what we want to play?’ the thing is we all like poppier stuff. I understand the structure of a pop song more now and what makes it so appealing, which I didn’t back then because I was ignorant and didn’t care. It felt like I was forcing myself to do something at the time, but now I know exactly what I want to do. And we have already seen how these new songs have been gaining so much traction. It’s been really good to see that, especially with how this record feels so different in a good way."

It must be easy to fall into an expectation of what you should be, especially when you’re moving so fast and not having any time to re-evaluate where you are going or where you want to go…
"My biggest fear was how when we kicked things off with ‘Ketamine Jesus’, people would be saying, ‘Oh, this just sounds like the old shit’. But people were actually, ‘Oh wow, they’re back’ which was a big relief and a positive response. Like the last album was a raw rock record that was very lyric and vocal drive. Whereas now there’s a lot more going on. It’s a whole different minefield now."

And making it all inside of a time where the way you make albums has been completely turned on its head…
"It was hard. None of us could be in the same spot because of COVID, so everything took way longer than it should have. But the dynamics because of that were weird because you’re no longer sat in a room with all of your friends. When you’re Zooming, things get lost in translation. It’s like texting someone, it almost loses context. It’s just so weird that it took so long. That different vibe had such an effect. It felt disconnected, but then when we did get together, we made sure we were working hard at it. The determination was there, and without that, I think we would have been fucked."

When you’re making emotional music, you need that connection…
"Yeah, and the vibe that you get from each other over Zoom is so different. And when you’re together, you need to find that vibe by getting the personal catch-ups out of the way before you can even consider working on something."

Where ‘In Spite Of Me’ was written with a different sort of lyrical tone in mind, it feels like this record is all the starker in what you are saying because of the structure you are writing in. What was that like putting together?
"If the pandemic taught me anything, it was not to take people’s shit anymore. A lot of people are fucking terrible in their ideals and need to be told that. But being at home with nothing to do, when we did get to go into the studio, it was so much of a treat. But that downtime and alone time gave me the chance to perfect what I wanted to do even more so. It was an emotional ride because I was alone in my head with these things, and when I would show what I had to the rest of the band, they could tell I had written it within the pandemic because it all felt like it was coming from a place of confusion and anger. And having those things written down and then showing them to somebody else when you’ve been on your own for so long, it’s a lot."

It’s interesting the conclusions that you come to when the only person you have to process them with…
"Some of the stuff that I have put into a song thinking that it is about one idea, further down the line, ends up being about something completely different. There was so much on my mind during that time that I looked at what I made when we were able to go into the studio and thought about just how much they have changed and shifted. The thing is that nobody is the same as they were 18 months ago. At least, I hope nobody is. There’s been so much shit thrown at us that I can’t imagine there is anyone out there that still has an easy-going outlook on things. Certainly not me!"

In terms of this starkness, a song like ‘Rest In The Dirt’ is the absolute peak of the darkness and frank despair that this period has produced. A song where you are thinking about how it will feel when you pass away. What does it feel like to pen a song like that and put it under the Like Pacific name?
"That song is almost like an intrusive thought that you can’t ignore. It was weird because it is such a vulnerable song to put out and a topic that people have never really wanted to hear or talk about. But in the age of social media, it’s been a lot more accepting to open up and understand. I wrote that song during the pandemic, and it does show. But I’m glad that the idea of mental health is taken a lot more seriously than it was before. I see ads on the subway now showing how you can get the help that would never have been there before. It’s things that we all know exist, but with it being put in front of your face more and more, it’s becoming more and more normalised. There’s a lot of vulnerability that has been come to fruition in the last two years, and it’s been great but also a learning curve for a lot of people."

It’s clear how proud you are of Like Pacific and how important it is to have it in your life. But how does that feel as you look towards what you want the future to hold? 
"When you’re doing so many things and trying to reach a certain level, it’s easy for that thing that you love to become even more like a job. Especially when you’ve been doing it for as long as we have. But having the time away from the road allowed us to consider the things that might be wrong with what we are doing and what we want this band to do. And because we were experiencing things outside of music, it became even more of an outlet for us. I work at a bar right now, and I got lucky with a cool boss and everything, but I don’t want to do it all my life. I want to be a musician. That’s all I’ve wanted to do. I know what I know, and that’s what I want to do, and I think that has become more and more apparent. Before, I was happy to travel the world and do some cool things, but now it is exactly what I want, and I’m going to push as hard as I can to make it a reality. My drive is different now."  

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