Earlier this month, Jackson Katz, known as Brutus VIII, released the No-Wave Disco track “Too Hot for the Blankets”. I had the pleasure to speak with him about this single, his inspirations, and what drives him as an artist and performer. Read the full interview below!
For “Too Hot for the Blankets”, Jackson tells me this track was very sporadic in creation, as it has a “Corona-y vibe”. At the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdowns, Jackson wanted to create something that represented one of his biggest fears: the apocalypse. I ask him if he’s seen those shows that document extreme doomsday preppers, to which he replies “give me 10-15 years, and I’ll probably become them”. “Too Hot for the Blankets” is a “dance-y disco song about the end of the world” and is representative of “when the world was feeling scary”. He elaborates that things are obviously still a little scary, but it was much more abrupt and uncertain in March.
For an apocalyptic disco track, I’m curious about the title “Too Hot for the Blankets”. It’s rather clever, as Jackson explains that earlier in the year when he was in a relationship, he remembers that there was an intense heatwave in the summer when they would get incredibly hot laying down with the blankets. He also wanted to use the title as a light way of talking about global warming….”it’s sexy, but concerned”. From the sounds of it, it certainly is that. The track has this gothic-esque, chaotic sound, and instead of dancing to the single in underground clubs, we are dancing to it amidst a pandemic and warm weather in the thick of L.A. ‘s winter.
Even though Jackson tells me that this single was very “spur of the moment”, I wanted to know more about how he felt his sound has evolved since his beginnings. He tells me he’s always enjoyed creating music about apocalyptic themes with angst-y moments, but he says that he thinks “the production style has changed. I’ve become more fluent with my electronics”. Specifically, production-wise he’s inspired by Plastic Beach by Gorillaz, and this album means a lot to him as he “grew up with it”. Similarly, Plastic Beach was and still is one of my favorite albums, so I can definitely relate. Currently, Jackson’s really been enjoying Bauhaus and Caroline Polacheck’s recent record. “My taste has evolved outside of traditional pop, and I’m a little more open to break that”–Jackson emphasizes that he’s trying to experiment more sonically, especially through the use of more electronic elements in his production.
I ask him what he wants to convey through his music, to which he tells me that he wants his music to channel anger and angst, and “if not that, then a strong emotional reaction”…”When I make the music it helps me blow off steam”. As someone who similarly uses my artistic outlets to convey how I’m feeling, I ask him to elaborate. He explains that when he’s alone, he channels sadness when making music and channels anger when he’s on stage. Observing Jackson talk about the performance aspect, I can tell that this part of his artistry is very important to him. He tells me, “I’m always trying to do something different with it…trying out performance”. Despite the lack of performing in the scene currently, I ask him what his favorite performances have been so far. He mentions when he opened for Slow Hollows at The Echoplex and his collaboration performance art show at Basic Flowers. He tells me that in the beginning of the show, he was eating a nice steak as his friend was washing their hands in a rhythmic manner, and it eventually “bled into the music set”. It sounded really bizarre…I wish I could see it.
For final words, Jackson says “I knit and I’m lactose intolerant”.
Along with this single, Brutus VIII has more music in the works, with an upcoming album coming very soon. He is passionate about creating music that incites a strong feeling in you while manifesting his energy into an elaborate performance you’re sure to remember. Stream Brutus VIII on Spotify and Bandcamp. Keep up with Brutus VIII on Instagram and Twitter!
Written By: Alexa Terry