By Nikayla Goddard, July 1 2020—
The origins of Suit Jacket Society date back to fall of 2011, when the band was formed from the Delia, Morrin, Hanna and Drumheller area of Central Alberta to participate in the Consort School Battle of the Bands (BOTB). A self-proclaimed “basement rock band,” Suit Jacket Society (SJS) released their first album, We Aren’t Good and We’re Loud, on May 15 after about 10 years writing songs off and on and picking up gigs around Central Alberta. A mix of garage band rock with influences from classic hard rock and country, We Aren’t Good and We’re Loud serves as an impressive debut.
In an interview with the Gauntlet, the four band members talked about their early years, the gigs they have been getting since then, the creation of the album and their plans for the future, which includes another hopeful album. SJS consists of lead singer/guitar player Brad Bramfield, guitar player Ben Brinkman, bass/keyboard player Teddy Brinkman and drummer Tyler Adams, with current residence taken up in Lethbridge.
“The Battle of the Bands was the push for us,” Ben described. “It’s where we came up with the name, where we had to take things a little more seriously, because until then, we were just kinda having fun, figuring things out. But the Consort Battle of the Bands was the big push that got us going for sure.”
SJS participated in BOTB for three years, with success and awards for the first two, and during the last BOTB they participated in, where they tested out some of the songs they had written themselves, they “lost horribly” they said, with laughter.
After the BOTB days, SJS stuck together, landing gigs at dances and fundraisers, playing in bars and in music festivals such as Springfest and Beaumont Blues and Roots Festival over the next eight years in between pursuing their careers and day jobs. Over time, they started to transition their music from covers to their own original songs, and nowadays try to play as many of their original songs as they can at gigs.
Brad explained that the first song they wrote for the album, Idle Hands, was written in 2013, spurred by getting “more and more excited about writing our own stuff.”
“Things kinda slowed down after we finished recording to get time to get the album cover figured out and get all those details organized so that during that time we actually started on some new songs,” Teddy said. “We were questioning if we should just pause and do a double release, but we’re excited to get this first one out.”
“Getting faster at it for sure,” Ben added, noting that they are about halfway through writing another album already, though joking that there’s no promises about how soon it would be out given it took them almost 10 years to get the first one done.
“It was the first year we were all in the same city together, and we could start getting together a little more frequently, so that was really exciting,” Teddy added.
When asked if they hold down day jobs outside of the band, Tyler replied, “Oh, for sure!” and responded that he works at an auto repair shop as a mechanic, Ben works as a lab technician at the University of Lethbridge, Brad fixes overhead doors and Teddy teaches grade 1 and 2 at Coalhurst.
SJS’s plans for this summer look a bit different than they all expected, Ben said. “We had a bunch [of gigs] planned, we were gonna try to do as much as could this summer, but COVID has really slowed everything down. All we’ve done recently was a livestream. But we are definitely going to do some shows around here and try to do festivals. It’s just right now, nothing is booking. The festivals aren’t even sure if they’re going to happen.”
When asked if there was anything they wanted to tell their growing fanbase, Brad replied, “Tell them if they buy enough albums we won’t make another one.”