Shark Jump: Happy Days are here again

by Ryan Ritter-Jones

From the murky depths of the house show scene arises a reverb drenched, fun in the sun surf rock project, Shark Jump. A collaboration dating back to January 2017, Nate Kahn (ex-Step Dads) and Seth Little (Hello, I’m Sorry)’s artistic vision of a wild, funky, and off the cuff “Shark Rock” record has come to fruition in the form of their five track EP Bottom Of The Lake.” Like a sunburnt weekend getaway, this record is action packed and ends a bit too soon, leaving you desperate for one last dip in the water or a couple more minutes soaking up the rays. I was fortunate enough to sit down with Nate and Seth to talk with them about the process of recording this record, how the project came about, and what we can expect from Shark Jump in the future.

The duo told me about how this project was recorded at Unknown Studios in Anacortes. “We spent the entire weekend there recording… For this sessions we boxed our phones, so we threw them in a box and forget about them for three days… my head isn’t in like instagram mode, you try to be in the moment as much as possible.” Nate explained. “It was a really fun process,” adds Seth, “It’s this huge ass church so theres this like ambient reverb, dry reverb type stuff… A lot of the reverb that you hear on there is like half amp stuff and effects, other than that it’s literally just the church reverberating.” This adds plenty of wavey sounds and really accentuates the surf vibe.

Part of the free-wheeling spirit of this record is manifest in the semi-structured, but often improvisatory nature of the recording. Nate and Seth describe several instances where a track may not have turned out exactly as planned, but the unexpected result is a valued facet of the expression. Nate said that “part of the whole Shark Jump thing is that it’s not perfect, you’ll hear in some songs we slow down together, we speed up together, I’ll accidentally like hit a delay pedal.” “There were so many of those like accidental mistakes or “Happy accidents,” Seth chimed in, “Like on the second chorus of ‘Leslie’ Nate accidentally played the lead riff like half a step lower and it sounded really cool so we left it in there… At the beginning of Sea World, when the drums first kick in, before I start playing, I accidentally hit my guitar on my belt, and you can hear this like reverb type thing. There were so many things that we literally couldn’t edit out… which is kind of the whole mantra of Shark Jump, just jump the shark..” Although this record is intense at times, you get the sense that Nate and Seth never take themselves or the music too seriously. Embracing whatever happens in the studio doesn’t take away from the EP, as these “happy accidents” aren’t always detectable, but you can sense that the band are having fun and not worrying too much about playing everything perfectly, riffing and jamming as the music moves them.

The future looks bright for these guys, as they have no plans of slowing down and are very excited to continue playing together.

When I asked them if they intend to make more music, they replied enthusiastically. In regard to whether we can expect another record, Seth said “Totally, yeah 100 percent. It’s been so much fun. This has been the most fun I’ve ever had on a project… I couldn’t see it dissapating in the forseeable future.”

Nate added that “We’re young and ambitious and we have the energy to do this stuff.”

Even more exciting is the prospect of Shark Jump’s live shows. “We are playing a show on Sept. 27, the day before school starts, in the basement of the Karate Church – it’s going to be a tape release show,” Nate revealed, “We’re trying to make the shows as quasi ridiculous as possible… over the next three months will be the most ridiculous and fun time to see Shark Jump while we discover what it’s going to be like and what we like to do.”

As one of the most vibrant and energetic bands in the house show scene right now, I can’t wait to see what comes from this project in the future. Nate and Seth are clearly passionate about what they are doing and are eager to bring their zany and invigorating Shark Rock to the lovely people of Bellingham.

Catch Shark Jump’s tape release show at Karate Church on Sept. 27.