Jackson Albracht is the vocalist/lead guitarist/songwriter for the local SA band The Cartographers.
IDP: When did you start The Cartographers and how have you been involved in the SA music scene?
JA: We started in 2007. We’ve gone through a couple line-up changes but it’s not all that different now from when we started. Skyler [drums] and Justin [bass] and I are old friends and we’ve been playing in bands together since high school, and Justin introduced us to Raul [guitar]. We started out doing crappy shows until we got to play where we wanted to play, like Limelight and The Ten Eleven, you know, the actual music venues in town as opposed to the weird party and art shows that don’t really need a rock band.
IDP: How long have you been working on your new [second] album?
JA: We’ve been going on and off for about a year, it’s hard to find time to record. We recorded the drums and bass parts for most of the songs in one day. We recorded everything else in a few days. If you condensed the time down it’d probably only be a couple weeks of recording, and we’re just about done, trying to figure out if we want to have a physical release or just a download. You can get our previous album at our shows or on iTunes, by the way.
IDP: What do you like about the recording/writing process?
JA: I enjoy pretty much everything about the recording process, I feel very at home in the studio. I can record all day and I won’t think about eating or going to the bathroom, it’s just really exciting and one of my favourite things to do. I’m the dude who writes the songs, but it’s a fairly collaborative band, everyone writes their parts but I still kind of direct the big picture of things. I used to come to the band with more fully realized arrangements and parts for everyone to play, but in the last year or so, with having such a sharp band, it’s been a process of me coming in with just sections and fragments of a song, and I think the guys enjoy it more if they can add their own input into the song instead of me just dictating the arrangements.
IDP: Do you tend to write the music first or lyrics?
JA: It depends, sometimes I’ll have a chord progression or groove and it’ll take me a while to find the right melody for it, other times I’ll be driving around and a lyrical couplet will come up with its own rhythm already and I’ll write the song around that.
IDP: Who are some of your other collaborators?
JA: Sometimes I play in an ironic country band with John Dailey from We Leave At Midnight, I also really enjoy jamming with Chris Maddin at the Broadway 5050 whenever I can, or with Morris Orchids. John Dailey and I have actually been doing a little studio project of songs that my dad has written, we’re giving those a sort of Bob Dylan and The Band treatment. But I especially enjoy collaborating with my own bandmates.