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Central California Life Magazine

Fresno-Area Band The Jacktones Explores New Ways of Structuring Songs & Bending the Rules

May 03, 2017 05:30PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

From left: Ryan Calvert, Ian Suhovy, D.J. Shirley, Matt Nygren, Kyle Lowe

Local Fresno Band, The Jacktones, have set the tune to the community's music scene since 2012. 

Focused in the alternative rock genre, The Jacktones love to integrate different genres into their songs, such as blues, jazz, and even funk. This fun and innovative band has one album under their belt and is currently working on their second. 

We were able to get in touch with The Jacktones' lead singer/songwriter Ian Suhovy and learn a little bit more about the group. 

Tell us a little bit about the history of The Jacktones. When and how did it get started?

In March of 2012, drummer Ryan Calvert and myself met at a mutual friend's wedding celebration. We shared back and forth our interests in Dave Mathews Band and Adele and talked about music for hours, as well as what instruments we played. After our hours-long chat, we decided it would be fun to get a jam session set up.

We put some tunes together that I wrote over the 15 years I have been a singer and song writer. After some successful jam sessions, we decided to start a band together. We then set up try outs and met our first bass player Ben Wiles, and our current sax player D.J. Shirley not too long after.

Our first show was at The Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles after being together for only about a year. After playing locally for a bit, we started putting together our first album, which was released in May of 2014, titled "Unriddled."

After being on the scene for a number of years we continue to grow our fan base one like at a time through social media and playing gigs around town. We actually met our 2 newest members, Kyle Lowe who plays lead guitar and Matt Nygren on bass. We all work as a team to bring the best out of my original material that we can. My band members have the freedom to mold their parts of each song and we make sure that nobody sells themselves short of their abilities. 

What genre would you categorize yourself?

Alternative mostly, but we sneak in some Blues, Rock, and even Funk into our music.

Did you all always want to be in a band?

Yes, For the most part it's been our goal to make this our lifestyle for as long as it takes.

How does the songwriting process work? Do you all work together, or does one person take the lead?

For the most part, they are all songs that I have written, but other band members continue to inspire me to mold the songs into the shape they are today.

For instance, Kyle and D.J. help me see the full potential of the lyrics and melodies and help me interpret not only what I'm singing about but how to build up the strength in my structure. Matt and Ryan know how to pick out the rhythm of my songs and find the heart and soul of each one to help me complete my writing process.

My goal is to make each song catchy and as different as I can, exploring new ways of structuring the song, and even bending the rules. 

Where do you find inspiration?

My wife and family life are a big portion of my songs, reading the Bible, poetry, words I like in the dictionary, and even watching movies. Inspiration is really everywhere for me.

Do you have any albums out or in the works?

Our LP titled "Unriddled" and we are currently recording our next album. Hoping to release sometime before the end of the year. 

Are there any upcoming shows we should know about? 

June 4th @8pm The Mint, Los Angeles CA

June 16th @7pm at North Side Christian coffee shop, The Frappe House 

What have been some of the most memorable shows?

We played locally for bands like Smash Mouth, Everclear, Alien Ant Farm, Fuel, The Toadies, The Misfits, and performed at the Famous Viper Room in Los Angeles. 

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