Jake McCallister is best known as the eponymous frontman of Leeds folk-punks Jake & The Jellyfish. To reflect their maturing, evolving melodic punk sound, they’ve recently changed their name to Sunliner and joined the crew at both Lockjaw Records and Paper + Plastik in the process!
Jake also hosts the brilliant Desert Island Punks podcast, asking punks for their desert island album choices in the classic format, including interviews with Frank Turner, Spanish Love Songs, Red City Radio and many more.
Hello! Who are you and what do you do?
Hello! I’m Jake. I sing and play guitar in Sunliner. I also run a podcast called Desert Island Punks.
How did you first get involved with the punk rock community?
I suppose through going to shows at The Croft in Bristol (now moved to The Exchange). Me, my now girlfriend Laura, Ren and Joe (of Petrol Girls) and a bunch of other mates used to go to whatever vaguely punk rock came through there. That and writing my own music that didn’t seem to fit anywhere else, I just started playing shows and that’s where I ended up!
What’s your favourite album of all time (and what do you love most about it)?
See, I’m not used to being the one asked this! I’m usually the one asking the tough questions. I think like most people this is a revolving position, but I think if I was pushed, I’d probably go for Supporting Caste by Propagandhi. I bought it when it came out and was so quickly obsessed with it. I could honestly listen to that album every single day (and did for a long while) and never get bored, there’s so much explore in the musicianship of it and Chris’s lyric writing and delivery is so different to what everybody else I was listening to was doing at the time. I couldn’t get my head around the rhyming schemes, how he writes as if it’s prose and then it’s broken up into lines. Genuine genius.
Who’s your favourite new band right now?
I don’t know if they count as ‘new’ but I got super into Press Club last year. Really great high energy punk rock with awesome hooks.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about music?
Probably from Robin from Random Hand. When Jake & The Jellyfish were starting up we played a lot of shows with them and I remember coming off stage one time and being really bummed out ‘cause I’d messed up a moment. At that point we’d been playing really regularly and when I voiced this to him he just went, “Look, even a bad show for you guys now is a really, really good show, so stop worrying about it and just enjoy it.” I took it to heart and started to care way less about things we couldn’t control, and I started to enjoy gigs so much more.
Musically, what’s been your proudest moment?
I don’t know if I have one stand out moment. Honestly, I’ve got to do so much cool shit by playing music. Going to America, playing huge shows, really great festivals, regularly touring. I’m honestly super grateful I can still do this and that people listen to our music all over the world and care about what we do! Super soppy response, but it’s true!
Who do you most admire in the scene at the moment?
There are loads of people I admire in the scene, but I think some people don’t get enough recognition and some of those are behind the scenes, so I’m gonna say Bob Cooper. He’s recorded us a bunch of times now and loads and loads of people we know, and he’s fucking great. His work ethic and his relentless positivity is inspiring, one of the nicest, most hard-working guys I know. He’s just moved into such a beautiful new studio as well!
What have you got coming up that you’d like people to hear about?
Well, I suppose it’s that Jake & The Jellyfish have changed our name to Sunliner and are about to release two new songs on your great label along with Paper + Plastick in the states. Gonna be doing a solo acoustic tour in March, as well as loads of shows throughout the year. The podcast will probs be really busy too haha!
Keep up with the latest on Sunliner’s new releases by following the Lockjaw mailing list. You can keep track of all Jake’s gigs by following the Sunliner Facebook page. You should also give a listen to his Desert Island Punks podcast.