Bottle Rockets and Cola Freaks - A Conversation with JINX


Written by Héctor Castro

JINX is a No Wave solo-project from San Diego, CA. Formed in early 2016, the band consists of Jonah (vocals/bass), Ethan (synth), and Droo (drums). Standing as a staple of the grime rulebook-tearing genre  -Vada Vada- JINX preaches total expression without boundaries. I sat down with frontman Jonah to ask what their music is, and what it means for the local music scene in San Diego.

Photo by Will Kerner

Photo by Will Kerner

Who are you?

My name is Jonah, I’m 19, from San Diego, and I like to play music, among other things.

Jonah, from Jinx. What can you tell us about Jinx? Who is in it?

Jinx is the name of my main music project that I’m apart of. I write and record everything on my own, so in a sense it’s kind of like a solo project for me, but when I play it live, I have my brother, Ethan Paz, on the keys, my friend, Droo Kerner, on the drums, and myself playing bass and singin’.

It seems like your music has been around for a while now, what made you want to approach this project? How did Jinx start?

Ya definitely. I started this project around the beginning of 2016 when I was still in Highschool and I’ve just been goin’ at it ever since. At the time, I was apart of two punk bands already (Vacant Youth, L4N P4R7Y) and I just wanted to start something on my own. I don’t know, I think I was just curious on what I could make by myself, with no one else dictating where I go with it. Plus, I wanted to make something that wasn’t just punk music, not because I was tired of playing it, but I just kind of wanted to see what I could produce without any labels attached to it. But I don’t know, even though jinx has been around for awhile, I think I really started pursuing it seriously this past year or so.

Photo by Ian White

Photo by Ian White

Where does Jonah from Jinx, get his juice? How’s your writing process?

My writing process kind of changes all the time. Sometimes I start with a bass riff, sometimes with keys, sometimes with a beat. There’s even times where I’m at work or something and I think of a little melody in my head and I record myself humming into my phone so I can remember it later. Other times I just sit on my computer and just wait for ideas to stick. Once I sort of have a little rough demo of a song, I then feel it out and listen to it on repeat so I can get ideas for vocal patterns and ultimately, lyrics. I don’t know, I think the main thing for me when it comes to writing songs is just to not really think too much about it. If I’m truly feeling something, as far as emotions or experiences, the song will take no effort and will come out on its own. Those are the songs I tend to like the most.

What is Vada Vada? 

Not sure if I’m really credible to answer that at all, but it’s definitely something that I admire. The Garden has definitely had a big impact on me, especially when it comes to their positivity and their desire for progression. A lot of people give me shit for soundin like them or whatever, which can get kind of annoying, but at the end of the day it’s just peoples opinions and I don’t let it get to me too much. I feel like when people tell me that it’s just them trying to put some sort of label on the whole thing, which I get. It’s just annoying when something that’s completely your own gets thrown under someone else’s moniker. Don’t know if the VV is really something that I can claim for my own, because it doesn’t really involve me, but I back what they do and definitely get some motivation and desire to create on my own  thing from it.

Who is L4N P4R7Y?

L4N P4R7Y is the name of the other project I’m in. It’s just straight punk music, nothin else really to it. We’ve gone on a couple tours, put out a couple of releases, and now we just play when people want us to. Not really a project that any of us pursue too heavily anymore, but it’s still really fun when we get together. This project started in 2015ish and is with myself on drums, Santi Torres on vocals, Kyle Beaureguard on guitar, and Ivan Delgado on bass.

Who is Angel Sánchez?

Fuck that guy! Just kidding, Angel is one of my best friends. He’s been in my life ever since I was like 14, and he’s shown me a lot. We were in Vacant Youth together, which was my first band, and we toured with that project in like 2014 when I was like barely 15 years old or something. It’s crazy to look back on the stuff we’ve done together, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Photo by Francisco Eme

Photo by Francisco Eme

What should people expect when they go to a Jinx show?

I guess it all depends. I think what makes our live show kind of unique is the change in energy throughout the entire set. You’ll have one song be very aggressive with maybe a little pit goin’, and then a lighter/dancier song following it. People should just expect a good ol’ time with their friends when they go to a Jinx show.

“Big Style, That’s the __________” What can you tell us about this lyric? 

That’s the fuckin’ motto! Ya Big Style is just kind of a term that encompasses a lot of different ideals so it’s kind of hard to explain. At its essence, Big Style is all about positivity, productivity, staying true to who you are, and giving everything you do 100% of yourself. This sort of mindset is something I personally live by, and it’s a big part of who I am. Plus, it’s the name of the new album comin’ out! 

There’s a distinct dance move that’s present in every Jinx show.. It’s either seen in the pit, or around the space once the show goes down. What is that dance move? Can you explain how it’s done?

There’s a lot of interesting moves I see at shows for sure, but I think the one you’re referring to is the good ol’ slime pit. I gotta give props to my friend Kyle because I’m pretty sure he’s the OG slimer, but basically a slime pit is when you go down on all fours, and crawl and cartwheel around. It’s really fun to do because everyone looks at you all funny, but it’s especially fun to see people slimin’ it up and getting dirty when we’re playing. My old baseball coaches use to say if you left the field with a clean uniform, you didn’t play hard enough. I find that same theory relevant with Jinx shows.

Why is the music scene essential for performers and artists?

Photo by Jorge Sanchez

Photo by Jorge Sanchez

I think it just gives us all something to be part of. I’ve been going to shows since I was like 13, so in a lot of ways being apart of a music scene is all I know. There was always a show for me to look forward to, always something for me to work towards. Besides that I think it obviously just gives us all connections and important relationships that have a lot potential to last a lifetime.

What are your favorite 90s cartoons? 

Damn, I don’t really know. I like rocket power a lot, but I don’t know if I could say it’s my favorite. Spongebob is kind of a cheap answer and not really that true 90s shit. You got me there bud!

Where does Jonah from Jinx, get his fashion inspirations?

Right now I feel like I’m in a pretty mellow stage of like, outfit experimenting, but when I do go crazy I don’t really know if I have any direct inspiration from anywhere. Definitely a little bit of punk, especially with the boots and leather and stuff, but I think the rest of it kind of just comes from whatever I think looks cool. I try not to think too much about it.

What is a bottle rocket? Who holds the champ title?

Photo by Jorge Sanchez

Photo by Jorge Sanchez

Feel like this answer might be a little underwhelming, but basically to do a bottle rocket, u just shake up a two liter and throw it on the ground. Diet Dr. Pepper tends to work the best. Currently I hold the title, but it’s subject to change.

The Smiths, Baseball, and October. What do they have to do with Jinx? 

Well, The Smiths are my favorite band, so I guess there might be a tiny bit of inspiration from them as far as sound goes for jinx. Also, Andy Rourke is my favorite bassist and I basically learned how to play bass by learning his bass lines. Baseball is just another passion of mine. I played a lot of it when I was younger, but in high school I kind of ignored that side of me because I just really wanted to be a punk or whatever. But ya I love it, especially since the padres are doing good this year so far. And October is cool for a lot of reasons I guess. My birthday, Halloween, postseason baseball, all the cool stuff

Photo by Jorge Sanchez

Photo by Jorge Sanchez

What can you tell us about Cola Freaks?

Cola Freak is a little record label that my friend Luke has. He’s put out a L4N P4R7Y tape through that label, and he also helped me with the JINX tapes I put out last year for face the facts. Cool dude, cool music, ch-ch-check em out!

With your forthcoming album on the way, what should people expect?

This one is a little different for sure. I’ve been in a really positive and enjoyable place in my life this past year or so, and I feel like the new album really represents that well. With that, I feel like my sound has progressed in different ways. There’s a lot of new elements to it, and a lot of experimenting with structure and patterns and stuff. Overall, I feel like people should just look forward to a fun, chaotic, and enjoyable album coming from the Jinx platform.

Where can people check out your new music?

It’ll be everywhere, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Spotify. As far as physicals, I’m shooting to get tapes and hopefully vinyls but like always, that sort of thing can be hard to acquire. But we’ll see. 

Why should people care about Jinx?

I’m trying to save up for a boat.