It’s been a minute, but Jack & Jack are finally making their triumphant return with their new single ‘Stuttering.’ The boys are kicking off a whole new era of Jack & Jack, and they didn’t come to play. There’s nothing off the table, no strings, and Johnson and Gilinsky are ready to share their new music with the world and give us an insight into the highs and lows of the past few years.
Jack & Jack have come a long way since they met in Kindergarten. Together they journeyed through the worlds of YouTube, Vine, Magcon, and Record labels. After a brief hiatus, the boys are back and getting ready to once again take the music industry by storm, this time as independent artists. Their latest single ‘Stuttering’ has already amassed over half a million streams across all streaming platforms showing the J&J fans are as loyal as ever and have long awaited the group’s return. The catchy tune and video‘s vibrant vibes have made us more excited than ever for whats to come, you can check it out here:
To hear all about their latest single, ‘Stuttering’ and all the exciting plans to come for Jack & Jack fans, make sure you read the full interview. From moving on from Vine and industry troubles, to their favorite social media and upcoming shows, we covered everything you need to know.
You took a hiatus for a while and have launched into a new era as independent artists. What does that mean to you to have that additional creative control over your music and what you want to put out into the world?
Jack J: I would say, yeah this new era of being independent artists it’s very liberating; it’s great to be able to make what me and G want to make. It’s kind of how everything started 8 years ago, but I don’t think we were as skilled of musicians, studio musicians as we are now, you know, even writers, producers, everything across the board, our melodic knack, whatever it may be. I think we’ve gotten so much better in 8 years. So now being able to really create what we want to create again with our newfound skills that I feel like we’ve added to the table. It’s amazing, and I feel like between the two of us, nothing ever really falls through the cracks.
Jack G: It means everything to us to start this new era as independent artists and to have creative control over our music and what we’re putting out into the world. That’s how this whole thing started with Jack & Jack in Omaha, Nebraska as 16-year-old kids just making music because we loved to do that and connect directly with our fans. With the label, it definitely had its perks, and there are pros and cons to everything, but for us, we felt like it kind of got in the way of our genuine connection with our fans, and sometimes things ended up being amazing and other times things just didn’t come across the way we wanted them to. So that’s one of the amazing things about being an independent artist is that ultimately these things are up to you. Our team around us will always push us in the right direction and give us their best advice, but it’s going to come down to what we feel is right for us as Jack & Jack. So it’s awesome, and we’re really excited to move forward as independent artists. If one day we do stumble into a label situation, we’re going to make sure it’s on our terms.
What can we expect from this new independent era of Jack & Jack? Are there going to be drastic changes to your sound or anything you’re experimenting with?
J: I wouldn’t say drastic changes to the sound. I’d say that we’re trying to incorporate more live instrumentation into certain records. It’s still G singing, and me rapping for the most part. I’m trying to get more melodic from my perspective because I like to sing, I’m not the best singer, but I really enjoy singing and writing melodies. So yeah, it’s just a lot of vibes across the spectrum, you know. Our vocals and our tones are always the glue between record to record. It’s going to be reminiscent of J&J stuff over the past, but I think it’s going to be the most transparent and, I would say, the most authentic version of us that anybody who has ever supported us is ever going to be getting. And to any new fans, I think they’ll be getting a good first representation if they’re discovering our music right now.
G: You can definitely expect a lot from this new era of Jack & Jack. I think that for us it’s more so of a progression and growth. We’re always going to try to make the best music we possibly can. So it will for sure change over time as we’re growing as artists and people and writing about different life situations or things we observe in our world but no drastic changes. A slight change you might notice is there will be more tracks that we produce ourselves. Obviously, Johnson is technically the guy when it comes to producing but I for sure have some great ideas that I convey to him, and he can then put them in the actual system and make a song out of it, but we’ll be making a lot of our own beats which is new. If you go back to the old era of Jack & Jack we never really did that. We’ll also be writing 100% of every lyric we sing so there’s a change! We’re not really experimenting with anything we’re just having fun and trying to make the best music we can and making sure everything is genuine. What people can expect is that this is going to be us to the fullest, there’s no smoke and mirrors, no label pulling the strings, we’re just having fun making music and going back to our roots and where it all started.
You have been friends for basically your whole lives at this point; how have you navigated fame while still keeping that relationship strong?
G: Like you said, Johnson and I have known each other for our entire lives. When you meet someone when you’re 4 years old, it’s kind of tough to pretend you’re someone you’re not when you’re around that person and I think that’s something that has held us together and kept us genuine and authentic to who we are as people through this whole ride of coming up on Vine, moving to Los Angeles, having success in the music industry. Just being in LA in general can definitely have an effect on someone but having your best friend you’ve known since you were a child who can call you on your BS and can also lift you up when you’re down because they know you better than anyone else, that can be a huge advantage. I think it’s easier in our situation to be who we are and remain who we are from the beginning because we have each other to hold ourselves accountable but also to lean on when times are rough. We haven’t really had to try to keep the relationship strong, it’s just a natural friendship, and the most genuine authentic friendships there are, they’re just second nature. We enjoy each other’s presence and in this case making music together, having a business together, and working professionally so it’s never felt like it was any effort to maintain a friendship through the last 10 years, we’re just having fun.
J: It’s never really crossed our minds, having notoriety and being best friends; we’re just best friends at heart, and that’s never even come into question. All this could’ve been stripped away, we could’ve had very different career paths in life, and lo and behold, whatever happened, I think me and G would still be best friends. So it’s never been a worry of mine or something we’ve had to work at even; it’s just always come naturally since we were in Kindergarten.
When you look back to where you started, what would you say has been your biggest growth as artists?
J: Our confidence. I listen to our first songs, and I can tell I was timid on the microphone, and I don’t really believe in myself sounding good. I don’t know, I think I’m fully confident now in myself as an artist, and I think G can say that for himself as well. But you can really hear it in our tones, it shines through. It feels like these kids really believe in themselves, and it took a while to develop. Just being thrust into the studio at the age of 17/18 like, “oh what are we doing, we’re not super confident in our abilities yet,” and I think it’s really grown how confident we come across on the microphone. And I would say I think our biggest growth is our writing ability. I listen to some of our old bars and lyrics, and I’m like, “damn, did we really say that?” *J laughs* “That was kind of cringy,” but everything now between me and G; when we get in the room and write, I think we knock it out of the park. We’re great writing partners, so I think that’s really improved as well.
G: When I look back on where we started, I’d say my biggest growth, at least personally as an artist, came from when Johnson and I were forced to take a hiatus in 2019. I was kind of persuaded to sign an independent label deal and get a creative director and a choreographer, I had this manager. All these people are so talented and really good at what they do, and I think that certain people could have so much success working with them; they’ve proven that. It all started with the vision the label had for me, it didn’t align with the vision I had for myself, and I don’t think I really had that vision for myself because it was all so immediate. One day we were Jack & Jack, and the next, it was like you were working on your solo project when that wasn’t even on the cards in my mind a week before. That was a very weird situation. I had to figure out who I was as a solo artist while I was trying to make these songs that I don’t feel were very genuine to who I was. I think I had a lot of people around me trying to tell me who I was or what I could be, and I just wasn’t that. It took a while for me to grow through that process and tell people that it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. It took me like a year to finally be able to say, “I don’t think I can keep doing this, I’m not happy doing this.” It wasn’t about making music on my own outside of Jack & Jack because I enjoyed that, and we’re going to continue to do that in the future. But in 2019 and 2020, alongside the pandemic, it was just a really mentally tough time for me because I couldn’t figure out who I was as a solo artist, and that forced me to grow a ton. J & I have talked about this in the past, so much after that weird fog had cleared after being forced to take a hiatus. I’d say the past 4 years have been my most growth. It’s funny because someone might say, “oh, your growth came when you were performing in arenas and on tour and meeting fans, writing music every day,” but the growth came from the hard times, not the good times. I think it’s true with anything, you’ve got to go through the struggle to come out the other side a stronger person.
Jack Gilinsky, congrats on the baby! She’s absolutely adorable! How has becoming a father changed your approach to your career?
G: Thank you very much, she’s so adorable and the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I will say that I don’t know if having a baby has changed my approach when it comes to my career, but it does have this effect on me where it just makes me hungrier to succeed. Not that I was ever lacking that hunger to succeed but I think that every parent wants to give their child the world. Me specifically I feel very fortunate to be in a situation where I provide for her, and I have no problem getting whatever she needs. You know she’s a baby right now so she doesn’t need much, we take care of her, her mother is the best mother in the world, and together I think that we do a great job. But I’m hungry to give her everything she could ever want, need, and more. So that’s definitely in the back of my head when I’m making and writing a song and envisioning where we’re performing these things, I also envision the fruits of that labor, and I’m like “Okay, I want to take my baby to the Caribbean and show them the islands, and I want to take them to Europe and show them all these different cultures” I definitely want to have the means to show my daughter the world and give her and provide her everything she needs. It definitely makes me hungrier.
We think ‘Stuttering’ is going to be a big hit this summer; what was it about the song that made you want to release it as your big comeback this year?
J: We thought it felt pretty reminiscent of some records off A Good Friend Is Nice, like ‘No One Compares To You’ has the pluck guitar and nice pumping bass line. We wanted to re-familiarise our fans with something that might feel familiar to them, that might feel like J&J from the past. ‘Stuttering’ is really just skimming the surface. We wanted to come out with a fun pop song, something that wasn’t too deep because, you know, these are the months when the suns out, and you just want to cruise to something with the window down and not think too much or get in your feels too much. Granted, we will have plenty of those songs on the project, but this one felt like it was going to be a fun summer song. It just makes you want to cruise down the highway at high speeds – even if you shouldn’t, so don’t do that! – I’m a big fan of ‘Stuttering’
G: We 100% agree with you, we think ‘Stuttering’ should be a massive hit this summer. It just feels like such a big smash. We really appreciate you saying that as well; thank you; we’re glad you like it! Listening to the song, I think it’s obvious why we’d want that one. It feels like a good representation of me as a vocalist and Johnson doing his thing as a rapper. I think that’s something -going back to another question – on the label side of things, we weren’t really able to showcase J’s rap as much as I know he wanted to and as much as we used to on OG Jack & Jack records. That was a big thing for us, how we can we make it so I get this cool singing part, a big hook, a cool verse, and then we want Johnson to come in and do his thing. So honestly, every song on the album that’s coming out this fall has these elements. We’re not trying to be anything we’re not; J isn’t trying to sing a verse that he doesn’t feel comfortable singing. So ‘Stuttering’ is no different from the other songs, but I think where it is different is its pop smash appeal, in my mind, and something that we all heard and finished it; we just knew it should be the one we lead with. I feel the same as you; I feel like it should be a massive hit!
How did ‘Stuttering’ come about? What came first: lyrics or the sound?
G: We were in Johnson’s bedroom maybe 3 or 4 months ago. The writing process was very quick, maybe 45 minutes, and then spent another day on the verses. We were listening to beats from this producer, Jay Uncut, who’d send us like 100’s of beats like “Hey, if you hear anything, let me know what you think” We really took that like, let’s find 10 great beats and see what we can do with them. One of the very first ones we opened up, and we were like, “This has potential, it sounds like this could be on the radio, we should write a good song to it and see what it sounds like.” Earlier that day, I’d been listening to a Billy Joel song, and he had this stutter in a part where he said “heart attack,” and I thought it was so cool. I didn’t want to copy him, but I was thinking about what to say, and he was kind of stuttering and came up with that line. J immediately connected with that and was like, “Bro, that’s a hit; let’s run with that.” So we just started writing away, got it voice noted, and took it into the studio a week later. It was a really quick and natural writing process, and we’re just grateful that Jay sent us those beats because we think it’s a hit!
Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for this track and what you hope fans take away as the message?
J: There’s not like a huge message to take away, but it’s about clamming up and feeling nervous around someone. I think we’ve all been in that scenario, whether it’s somebody that you might idolize or somebody that you may be very smitten with or into, I think everybody has those moments where they clam up or get nervous. In this instance, it was about a girl that made us feel this way, I feel like anyone could apply that to a significant other or somebody that they had an interest in that made them feel very nervous and made them very intimidated, even though they might be confident at the end of the day. Sometimes people just have that effect on you, so there’s not really a deeper meaning behind it; it’s just a fun song about a common human experience, I’d say.
G: We just love to create a great Pop song and we feel like that’s our strong suit. We genuinely love Pop music, it’s fun, you hear it everywhere and we want to make those anthems for the summer time where everyones out and having a good time in the sun. Lyrically, it’s about that one person that makes you stutter.
Some people have crowned TikTok the successor to Vine. Obviously, you guys were huge on Vine and are now on TikTok. We gotta ask, which one is your favorite?
J: I would say Vine was great for what it is, but TikTok, there’s really no comparison just because of the scope of what you can do within the app. The internal editing software that’s in there, the ability to do videos up to 3 minutes, I think you can even go further than 3 minutes now? Certainly verified creators. But it makes it so you can make a Vine’s worth of content, a 6-second looping video, but you also can do something more long form. I feel like people are learning a lot from TikTok, there’s a lot of educational stuff on there, and you can see more long-form stuff that you might not otherwise be able to get the full scope of in Vine. So I’d say TikTok has expanded upon the basis of Vine and made everything as seamless as possible. Big fan!
G: I can see how people could crown TikTok as a successor to Vine, but in my opinion, coming from Vine, I think they’re extremely different. I think TikTok allows you to be a little more creative in a sense, but on the flip side, Vine, it was only 6 seconds, and it really forced you to get creative in a way that TikTok doesn’t force you. They allow you to express yourself in a more individual way because you can make as many videos as you want, any length, but Vine was 6 seconds, and you’re done, no editing. That’s what made it so special. When you watch Vines now on YouTube or something, and you see some old Vines, they have this nostalgic feeling because it’s not like TikTok. Certain TikToks will come up, and the comments will be like, “This has Vine energy” because there’s just this special thing you can’t explain it. It’s hard to compare the two. If I had to pick one, man, that’s tough because I really love Vine, and it did so much for us, and I do think it should’ve stayed around, and we would’ve continued to post there and have so much fun creating. But TikTok just allows you to be more of an individual, which is important in this day and age, so I think now I would pick TikTok, but I’ve got endless love for Vine. I think it would thrive even if they brought it back now because it is different from TikTok.
So many of your fans have been around since the early Vine days and have really grown up with y’all; what was it like seeing the reaction to you announcing new music and the Peppermint Club show?
J: It’s been amazing! The songs already got well over half a million streams across all platforms, it’s been what? 2, 2/3 weeks? Man, we’re just so grateful that these people have ridden with us and stuck with us all the way, even through our hiatus. Even when we didn’t know if we were contractually going to be able to make music together again anytime in the near future, and luckily we figured that out. But our core fans, our core supporters, are still riding with us, and hopefully, there are a lot of new ones coming out of the woodwork or people who kind of forgot about us and are realizing that we’re making and putting on shows again. The first Peppermint Club show selling out so fast was huge! Even being able to announce a second show it just felt good. Like yo, these people still want to come see us live; there’s so much room for growth; we just feel like we’re getting started. So we appreciate everybody who’s shown a good reaction.
G: It really is crazy to see certain fans on social media or in person that have grown up with us since 2013/14 and even people who came in 2016/17/18; that was 6 years ago at this point. It’s amazing to see them, they’ve grown up with us, and they have seen us grow up in front of them. I think we have this bond with our current fan base that is unbreakable. It’s about mutual respect. We’ve seen each other through the highs and the lows. I hope to continue amassing new people who like our music, but the fans we have currently will always be so special to us. It’s cool seeing their reaction when we announce new music, especially these days with ‘Stuttering’ because everyone kind of knew this was the beginning of something really exciting. It’s a classic J&J pop song, and they appreciate that because it’s like the stuff we started feeding them when we were 16 years old. The OG fans, it’s so fun to see them excited about new music and the show at the Peppermint. For the show, I think the excitement outweighs the nerves, and I can wait to see their reaction when we’re performing new stuff. I forget what it’s like to be out there, so I can’t wait.
It’s been a minute since you played live, and we can’t wait to see you take the stage again. What is it going to be like for you to be performing live again, and are there any surprises we can look forward to?
J: Surprises? I think we’re still coming up with the setlist, and this weekend we’re actually going to be diving into how we want things to flow. We might bring out a couple of people – who knows! But we really just want it to be an intimate night for our real supporters on the west coast on our first night back. Peppermint Club is only a 250 capacity, and we were hoping to sell it out quick. When we did, we were – cause we were a little nervous, we hadn’t sold out a show in 4 years, so we were like, “are people going to still come see us live, do they even care?” – selling out that show was a breath of fresh air and it made us feel like we were back in the mix again. So yeah, that felt really good, and in terms of surprises, you’ve got to pull up to the show, you know, if you want to see what’s going on! But we’re stoked to get back on that stage, it’s going to be phenomenal.
G: Like I touched on in the last question, it’s so exciting to think about performing again, but there are some nerves that come with it. We’ve been out of it for 4 years, and it’s like any muscle. If you work out a lot, it’s easy to lift weights. It’s fun, and you don’t have to think about it. But when you stop lifting and then go back to it, you’re like, this is kind of sore and harder than it used to be. I don’t have that muscle memory to rely on as much as I used to. It’s going to be interesting to get back up there for sure, but it’s so exciting, and we’re going to put out best foot forward. I don’t think we have anything too surprising up our sleeve, it’s going to be a classic J&J performance, and our boy Sam is going to kill it. We’ve got some collaborations with him. I’m going to let you in on a surprise, it’s not that big of a surprise, but we’ve never performed this song called ‘Throw Signs,’ which is a popular song that we made with Sam back in like 2016. We’ve never performed it, so we’ll definitely be performing that. Maybe we’ll bring out some other people who aren’t on the bill, but you’ll just have to come to the show to find out!
Speaking of, we know you said that there are plans for a tour eventually. Is there any more info you can give us?
J: Well, we’re going to try and get to a market near everybody; that’s all I can really say on that. The projects going to come first, the album is going to come first, and then the tour announcement will be shortly after, and we’re already talking to people. Things are in the works, we’re already pre-planning. We know a lot of people were upset they couldn’t make it to the LA show because a lot of them weren’t in the premise, so we’re going to be trying to get to all of our fans, internationally and domestically, in 2024 at the absolute latest. So keep your eyes peeled!
G: It sounds like it’s so in the future, but it’s actually around 6 months. I believe we’ll have so much more information for anyone wondering as the album starts to roll out. We don’t have hard details to give just yet, but if you’re interested, be on the lookout! 100% you’ll see a tour soon
What are you most excited for in the new era?
J: We’re really just showcasing who J&J is. Putting out the music we want to put out and not feeling like we’re being controlled by like a puppet master within the industry and someone’s pulling our strings and telling us what to sing and what to do. Really having that freedom and liberty to explore who we are as artists and not just having to regurgitate songs somebody else wrote. It’s really just to connect with our music again and give our fans the most transparent and authentic version of J&J as possible. I’m just super excited.
G: I think the thing I’m most excited for is to just be able to be ourselves and do what we want to do when it comes to making music, going on tour, and making music videos. Just creatively being ourselves and going back to our roots. It’s just about being Jack & Jack, we’re always having the most fun when we’re being authentic. I think that also shines through. Our fans -like you’ve said, and everyone that knows us- they know us so well and have been with us so long that they know when we’re being genuine. That’s what I’m most excited about, to give them what they know is truly us. Meeting fans the way we used to, making music as me and J, and just going out there and seeing people singing lyrics you wrote is a special thing. Every bit of it I’m excited for.
We love Jack & Jack here at THP HQ, so it was so fun to catch up with them and hear all about their new music! We can’t wait to hear everything that’s to come, and we hope whether you’re an OG fan or just discovered your new favorite band that you’ll be along for the ride. There are still some tickets available for the Peppermint Club night 2 so make sure you snap them up here if you want to catch the boys live next week!
How excited are you for the Jack & Jack renaissance? Have you been relentlessly streaming ‘Stuttering?’ Let us know in the comments or drop us a Tweet @thehoneypop. We love hearing from you. You can also find us over on Facebook or Instagram!