Jack + Eliza image

Jack and Eliza are a New York duo who came out with the sublime “Hold the Line” just a few weeks ago. They may sound too cool for school but in addition to being burgeoning songwriters they’re both full time brainiacs. We sat down with them recently to see what they’re all about.

Young Adult Mag: You guys are childhood friends.  At what point did you decide that you wanted to form a band together?

Eliza: I played drums in a band that Jack sang in (even though I can¹t exactly drum). All of our friends constantly told us to write music together and we both shied away from it. One day we wrote a song together and then another and then another!

Jack: We never actually said to each other “let’s form a band.” It just kind of happened. Friends and family members encouraged us to write music together and when we finally sat down and started writing, it seemed to organically become a thing.

YA: How do you guys function musically? Can you tell us a little bit about how your songwriting process comes together?

E: It’s pretty much a complete collaboration. We’ll sit together and play around with progressions and melodies or sometimes we’ll come into rehearsal with an idea or a melody that we¹ll share with one another.

J: It’s entirely a collaborative effort. Occasionally, one of us will bring in a melody or chord progression, but we really do write every song together.

YA: As long time friends and now business partners who presumably spend a lot of time together, you must sometimes have moments when you grate on one another.  Tell us about the most ridiculous argument you’ve ever had.

E: They are all ridiculous and ridiculously frequent.

J: I second that.


YA: Eliza, you were the youngest ever winner of the John Lennon ‘Song of the Year’ contest in 2011 at the tender age of 15.  Tell us about that experience (and don’t be afraid to brag).

E: It was completely surprising and a massive honor. To know that a group of songwriters dissected every aspect of a song I created and then liked it, felt and still feels amazing (and baffling) It made me excited to keep writing.

YA: Your music is incredibly complex and evocative considering how young you both are.  Which artists have you grown up listening to?

E: The music I listened to growing up: The Kinks, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Patti Smith, Karen Dalton, Lou Reed, William Onyeabor, MOTOWN, etc. and then music I listened to when I was a “pre-teen”: The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Feist, Regina Spector had a major influence on my songwriting. The music born from Motown is probably my favorite music.

J: The music I listened to growing up: The Beatles, Radiohead, Fountains of Wayne, Weezer, Nirvana, Queen, Rufus Wainwright, Gorillaz, The Strokes, a lot of blues, etc. I think Nirvana, the Beatles, and Radiohead have been the three largest influences on my songwriting from while I was growing up.

YA: Jack, you have a sweet looking Fender Jaguar (I have guitar jealousy, by the way).  How long have you been playing?  Is that your weapon of choice or do you have a bunch of different guitars you like to play?

J: The Jaguar is my weapon of choice right now. It has so many different inputs and features. Such a versatile guitar! I like to mess around with a Fender Telecaster every once in a while as well. I¹ve been playing guitar since I was about 6 years old, but I never really had classical training. I still have no idea how to read musical notation.

YA: You are both students as well as creating incredible music.  What do you both study (and where) and how do you juggle everything?

E: I just finished my first year at Columbia. I¹m studying English and Visual Arts. I love Classics and creative writing. Haven¹t fully decided on my Major(s) quite yet. Get back to me in a few years! Most of my free time is spent writing music with Jack.

J: I¹m going to be a Sophomore next fall at NYU studying political science, history, music, art theory, etc. (I’m clearly indecisive). I came into school thinking I would be doing primarily history and political science, and while I still am very interested in those topics, I took a couple of classes on ethics and aesthetics, and as a result, art theory has really become something I¹m much more interested in studying. In college, you¹re allotted a certain amount of free time with which you can do anything you so desire. I think we¹ve both chosen to take that time to write music.


YA: Do you think you’ll ever leave New York?  What’s your favorite place in the city?

E: I hope I feel ready to leave New York City at some point because I think it¹s extremely important to move away from your hometown from at least a little while. That being said,  I’m definitely not at that point yet and don¹t see it anywhere on the horizon. My favorite place would probably be a friend of mine’s backyard in Brooklyn where i’ve spent many a good time or at a restaurant I’ve been going to since i was born.

J: I don¹t foresee myself ever leaving New York City. I don’treally like silence or darkness. Vacations out to the sticks can be fun, but vacations only.

YA: You have worked with producer Chris Zane who has produced for Mumford and Sons and Passion Pit before.  Any other producers you are looking forward to working with during your careers?

J+E: Neither of us have really thought about this yet. We really enjoyed working with Chris. We¹ll just have to wait and see what the future has to offer!

YA: Has there been a top ‘show biz’ moment for you as a band so far?

E: I’m not so sure what would qualify as a show biz moment, so maybe I haven’t experienced one yet. I hope I know when I do!

J: I’m not quite sure what a ‘show biz’ moment is, but it sounds pretty cool. Hopefully one day it’ll happen!

YA: When and where can I catch you live?

J+E: We’re playing in brooklyn on the 11th and montauk on the 19th

YA: What five songs are playing on your iPod right now?

E: Candy Says  – Velvet Underground

Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Father John Misty

Baby Love – The Supremes

Passing Out Pieces – Mac Demarco

Blow – Beyonce

J: Who Loves the Sun – Velvet Underground

Blue Boy ­ – Mac Demarco

Golden Lady ­ – Stevie Wonder

Empire Ants ­ – Gorillaz

Crying – ­ Roy Orbison