Jump The Fence – Well constructed sound


Jump The Fence, Hot CatJump The Fence Jump The Fence was formed in February of 2015, performing original music written by singer and keyboardist Jody, finalized by the band. I went to see them at Hot Cat a few weeks back. First thing I noticed a part from the pretty big crowd was Ryan under his hat on stage; he just fits there. Playing his guitar like a boss with a content face. Lucas is completely focused on his drums and isn’t giving any attention at all to the crowd. I’ve seen him jump in a few times (see what I did there?) to play the drums at our Open Mic; and he is always really focused. Still haven’t yet managed to get a smile out of that boy for a photo, but damn it, I will. Fred on the other hand, is rocking out wearing a contagious smile while moving around a lot. Sidenote: To be fair to Lucas, it’s quite tricky to dance with drums, since they ain’t as easy to carry. Fred was making contact with the band and shared an inviting body language towards the crowd. Naturally, I loved it. Jodys multitasking was impressive. He was making jokes, visiting the dance floor to spin the ladies, playing keys and doing the vocals. Busy guy! Obviously, he is not just a singer, he is an entertainer. Why come to this show? – Because we have a genuine expression. Meaning we make music, we don’t just play it.  

Hanging out with Ryan is easy. His elaborate answer to my every question and elegant command of the English language makes him interesting to talk to. Naturally, him being talkative helps. We met at Ocean Grounds Coffeehouse and walked over to Great Leap Brewery for beers. During that walk we talked about his job as an English teacher, which he loves. In a way never expressed to me before, I learned why a musician loves being a teacher. It’s really simple if you think about. Being a teacher means you spend your days on a stage in front of people having devoted their attention to you, which is perfect to fill the gaps between shows.

Jody on Keyboard and Vocals / Also plays guitar and piano
Ryan on Guitar / Also plays bass and sings
Lucas on Drums / Also plays keys and writes music
Fred on Bass / Also plays guitar

Ryan, tell me a little bit about Jump The Fences sound in general. Our music is well constructed, well thought out sound. We are all songwriters and we all get involved. TogeHot Cat Club, Jump The Fencether, I think we construct music that appeals to a lot of people. In addition to that, the music also is democratic.

How do you mean, “democratic”? Nobody is left out. For example, our song White Painted Walls was brought in by Jody. At first it had just 3 verses, 3 choruses, and was every keyboard centric. When we got into it; the feel of it was transformed by Lucas adding drums, Fred the bass and me the guitar. After that, we felt it was still a bit clunky – so we added a Latin part as an outro. Then Lucas came up with the idea of hinting the Latin sound in the middle first, which gives more effect to the end. Everyone is involved in the songwriting process.

How did Jump The Fence come to be? Actually, Jump The Fence owes its creation to another band called The Harridans. At the end of 2014 they invited me to come play bass for them… I know we’re talking about Jump The Fence but this band is really great. During the shows I would see Jody and Fred frequently in the audience, so one day I went to speak to Fred cus he is a great bassplayer. Told him I am looking for a band to play guitar in. Then we got Lucas to play the drums, whom I had been jamming together with in our previous bands Red Menace and Dragon Ghost. The three of us invited Jody over for a jam session and it just worked out. We just kept going and eventually booked a gig.

Ryan Brown Jumping The Fence

 “Jump The Fence”, who came up with that? I don’t really know actually, but we thought about naming the band Jump The Wall, as a reference to the Great Wall of China. My girlfriend suggested us a Chinese version of that name, directly named after the Chinese Soup dish called “Fo Tiao Qiang”, which basically means “Buddha Jumps off the wall”, cus the soup is so good. We kept the Chinese name but changed the English.

How strict are you guys with band practice? We practice quite often and we jam together a lot.

I happen to know you are a singer as well, so how come Jody is on vocals? Because Jody is an awesome singer! He played in a piano bar before, where he would sing, entertain and play the piano. He is good with the crowd. And I mean, when you are in a band — every one does what they do best.

Does Jump The Fence have designated band of inspiration? We haven’t come up with a specific artist but we have agreed on a goal – we want the same sound as modern chart rock music. Like Bastille or Alabama Shakes, but with a spin. Instead of verse chorus verse chorus, we want people to notice how we have done things differently.

Is there any instrument you think would do great in your band? I’ve always thought that a violin would complement our music really well, especially our song Like you. Like you.

What was played in the house growing up? Everybody loved Michael Jackson, but individually the music differed a lot. Dad was a big funk disco, black music fan. Parliament, James Brown, Prince, The Temptations, Earth Wind and Fire. A Solid Gold set, basically. Mom liked The Fifth Dimension, 60’s flower bands and she had Salt n’ Pepper’s Push it as ring tone. My sister liked Gravy Train and The Arctic Monkeys before they got really big. I liked new metal like Corn. Then Incubus and stuff like that, then I started digging through my fathers old music…

What did you find in your fathers music collection that you really liked? An Eddy Murphy Comedy album called Party all the time. Casey and The Sunshine. Earth Wind and Fire.

What do you listen to nowadays? At this point I’m in to everything, but not a lot of Classical or Opera, more rhythmic music like The Neighbourhood and Mumford and Sons latest album that wasn’t so much folk… Alabama Shakes.

What was you first visit to 4 Corners like? My first visit must have been in 2012… 2011? The years all blend now. A friend said “My friends bar is opening up now!”, and he told me it was Tavey from Solid Gold, whom I already knew. I remember it was still cluttered and they hadn’t quite figured where to put everything yet. Tavey was really good to us.. We sat outside drinking Qing Daos cus the bar was a bit pricey for us, but he invited us to come inside where it’s warm instead of sending us away. I don’t know if he will remember that. Lately 4C has become one of my favourite places in Beijing, because they have taken an artistic route. The Open Mic is the best Open Mic in Beijing, both for foreigners and Chinese. It’s just a really good environment and the reorganization of the bar gave a really chill atmosphere. I also like the Story telling night vibe, because if the Open Mic is non judgemental and supportive – the Story telling nights is even more so. The Pub Quiz is good fun. We won as a band last time and got 200 kuai in the bar, which we will give away to our 10 first audience members who comes up and says hello.


Writer & Photographer Sanna K / sanna@sannak.se