Hey everyone, welcome back for another episode of N.J. Racket’s Racket Radio Podcast. Joining us for Episode #2 are two are very popular artists and personalities in the New Jersey DIY scene. Max Rauch of LKFFCT and NGHTCRWLRS is not only a great artist and performer in his own right, but is a well respected engineer who has worked with some of the best artists New Jersey has to offer, and John Cozz of John Cozz and the Squirts is everybody’s favorite anti-folk turned pop-punk, amateur filmmaker, crab leg enthusiast. In our episode, Max and Cozz talk about some of their other favorite artists in the scene, irony and sincerity in their songwriting, what their grandmothers think of their music, and how none of us have read Infinite Jest.
We have some very special guests joining us for the first ever installment of N.J. Racket‘s Racket Radio podcast series. Sniffling Indie Kids is one of the most influential labels in the New Jersey independent music landscape and the three owners, Frank DeFranco, Eric Goldberg, and Joe Lanza are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable people that I’ve had the privilege to know.
In this episode, Frank, Eric, and Joe talk us through the inception of the label, going back to the creation of the Tiny Giant Artist Collective, through meeting Neil Sabatino of Mint 400 Records, starting the North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, and their plans for the future.
Last week, Terrapin Productions, a project of Sunflower drummer Tyler Curtis, hosted a banger of an event in Montclair featuring five acts, including Banana on tour from, our neighbor to the north, Massachusetts. The show was held at The Groov Café, which, the show aside, is a great place to go for some fresh juice and has an unbeatable brunch, for all of you avocado-toast loving millennials out there.
A few weeks ago, Frank DeFranco approached me with the opportunity to co-promote a show with his label, Sniffling Indie Kids (SIK), and I couldn’t jump on it fast enough. Not only because the idea of hosting a show sounded cool as shit and was an idea that had been kicked around N.J. Racket HQ for some time, but because I was ecstatic to have the chance to collaborate with a group like SIK, who have made such a big splash in the local community. Max Rauch summed it up pretty well in our interview: “Honest tunes delivered by a label that passionately cares about what it brings to NJ.” Together, we put together a pretty stacked lineup (no point in being modest), featuring LKFFCT, Rosey Bengal, NGHTCRWLRS, and ManDancing; and with the help of another one of our favorites, Mint 400 Records, we locked down Stosh’s as the venue.
The first time N.J. Racket covered a NGHTCRWLRS show, Cooper took about two hundred photos of the set, and I’d guess about one hundred of those were of the band’s drummer Max Rauch. His excuse was “that dude has too much fun for me to take pictures of anyone else.” Totally accurate assessment. The second time we covered NGHTCRWLRS played out pretty much the same, only this time we introduced ourselves after the show and were thrilled to learn that not only is Max an excellent drummer that has a ton of fun performing, but he is also an incredibly chill and good dude.
Max Rauch is a name you’ve almost definitely heard before on N.J. Racket. Aside from NGHTCRWLRS, we’ve also covered his other band LKFFCT and we’ve reviewed more albums that he’s recorded and engineered than I can keep track of, including Salt Pepper Ketchup, from our own John Cozz, and most recently Within My World, by Sunflower. Max is easily one of the hardest working members of New Jersey’s DIY community and I am endlessly impressed by both the quantity and quality that he continues to produce and the knowledge and talent he shares with so many other artists is truly invaluable.
Last Saturday, John Cozz hosted a release show for his new album, Salt, Pepper, Ketchup, in the basement of the Underground Skate Shop in Newark. The show featured an impressive lineup, paintings on display from local artists, homemade Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches, and well over a hundred people packed into the basement. I’ve previously written a review for Salt, Pepper, Ketchup in which I praised John for his D.I.Y. attitude and all of the hard work he put into creating this album. It was really great to see him get the payoff he deserved with this show, so first and foremost, congratulations, John.