On the entire trek of Vans Warped Tour this summer promoting his new album Miles and Miles, Stephen Jerzak is gaining a good amount of fans with his exuberant live shows. Most of the dates have been over 100 degrees, but a pleasant reprieve to the brutal weather was to be found in the beach town stop of Ventura, California. We caught up with Stephen Jerzak right after his set to see how he was doing after the first week of Warped. Upbeat as ever, here is what Stephen had to say…
How has Warped Tour been going and what been some of the highlights so far?
Warped Tour has been awesome! It started last week, and I feel like it’s been 8 months already! But the highlights – today was really awesome – the best show yet here in Ventura, California – it’s my favorite place to be.
How do you prepare yourself to play in such intense heat? Today in Ventura has actually been the first nice weather day on the tour.
Yeah! The first couple of days in Texas were really, really hot. I just kind of dress light and did what I had to do. We have air conditioning in our trailer, so after the set, we just go in there and cool down for a couple of minutes.
You’ve been on a few cross-country tours already. How does Warped Tour compare to your other tours, and how do you like playing during the day?
The thing that’s different about Warped Tour is that is starts at like 10:00 every day – or 7 for some of us. Usually when you go to a show, it starts at like 4-5-6, but it’s an all day thing so it’s kind of non-stop. You just drive to the next show, wake up, go to Warped Tour, go to sleep – drive and then go to the next one. I like it so far – it’s been great.
How does the sound on your new album Miles And Miles differ from the earlier stuff?
All of my earlier stuff was just kind of self-produced – me and my buddy just did it in Wisconsin. And with the new record, I went out in LA and did everything with like six different producers. It was really, really great! It turned out awesome! It’s just a really good mix of what my old sound was like and the new modern pop sound.
How much pressure do you feel being signed to a major label?
There’s not so much pressure. I just kind of do what they tell me to do. I ask them if I could do stuff. It’s kind of like parents – parents in the music industry.
Your mom has a Twitter account. How interesting has it been to see your mom on Twitter all of the time?
Yeah, it was actually my idea. She never did any computer stuff and it was like, “Just get a Twitter. It’s pretty fun.” And she has like 3,000 followers and she’s really digging it. It’s cool, because my really diehard fans tweet her sometimes and she tweets back.
Who are the other members of the band and how did they become involved?
My keyboard player – his name is Adam Chojnacki – he lives in Wisconsin with me – we’ve just been friends for like three years. He came out on tour with us in 2009 and he’s been with me ever since. And my drummer Joel Tock – he was my first drummer – he did the first tour I ever did in the summer of 2009. He took a break with us and then came back on Warped Tour this year.
Did anyone offer you any advice on how to survive a summer at Warped Tour?
Uh, no. I didn’t really know what to expect coming into Warped Tour. I’ve never actually played Warped Tour before. I’ve only been to one show last year in California. But yeah, I just went into it blind and I’m just kind of going to go with the flow.
What advice would you give to a new band about to do this?
Drinks lots of water. I think that’s the key. Lots of water and sunscreen – and it’s not for the weak at heart.
What could one expect from a live Stephen Jerzak show at the Warped Tour?
Lots of energy, lots of fun. Fun songs – upbeat songs – and just us having a good time.
Have you ever considered something like acting at all? Is that something that would interest you?
I actually tried out for a TV show once. I like music better. It was like some Nickelodeon show a couple of years ago, but I’d rather do the music thing.
What’s up next for you after Warped Tour is over? Or do you want to think that far ahead? Warped still has a long way to go!
Warped Tour is like another month and a half long – so that’s long enough for me to think ahead. We’re trying to do a support tour in the fall and then I’ll start writing my second record.
Do you any messages for your fans out here in Los Angeles?
Just I love LA – and thanks for coming out to the show today if you were here. And if you weren’t at Warped Tour today, then I’ll probably play a lot of shows in LA, so I’ll see you then.
(Interview and Photos by Kenneth Morton)
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