Having started out as a couple of college guys playing music at NYU rooftop parties, Stolen Gin has blossomed into one of the buzziest jam bands on the scene. The dance-funk quintet is known for its high-energy live acts and avid improvisation which have cemented them as ones to look out for. This past year, the band opened up for respected outfit, TAUK, and they’ll be touring with Dopapod this upcoming fall. Their recent cover of “Gypsy Woman” took social media by storm. The future is looking very bright for this fivesome, and they’re just getting started.
We caught up with Stolen Gin prior to their sold out show at the Elsewhere Rooftop where they answered a few questions for the groovement.
What was the first concert you went to?
Evan: I saw The Eagles with Keith Urban and the Dixie Chicks, I was like five.
Jackson: When I was really young, I went to see Bobby McFarren with my parents in Barcelona and that was the first memorable show for me.
Will: I went with my older sister to Phish at Jones Beach.
Josh: I think when I was eight, at least one I can remember, I saw Alicia Keys.
Sawyer: The earliest I can remember, my mom took me to Beethoven’s 5th symphony when I was 11, I think.
How did you first get started?
Jackson: I met Will when I was a freshman, and he was a senior, and we started making music together. Then, our friends [the other band members] took to the music really quickly and really liked it. It was high energy, party vibes, and we had to get a live band together. There have been a lot of lineup changes, especially in the early days of the band, there were a flurry of changes. Since post-Covid, this rendition has been the core group.
What was the first concert you performed?
Will: Probably on a rooftop for an NYU party.
Jackson: 75 Bowery, rooftop, Chinatown, lots of people, lots of fun.
What is the origin of your name (if it’s different from their first name)?
Will: We were originally Bathtub Gin, and that was named after a Phish song. Little did we know how horrible marketing that would be at the time. There was a cover band of 50 year old Phish fans already called “Bathtub Gin” and before our first real show they sent us a cease and desist. So, we just joked that they stole our name, and then came “Stolen Gin”. That’s a better name anyway.
How would you describe your music – either by genre or general vibe?
Will: I think from the beginning, Jackson and I wanted to do a jam band-adjacent thing that was more about making people dance and more of a beat behind it. That’s kind of the core of it.
Jackson: I feel like, to be very general, if dance music and rock ’n’ roll had a baby, that’s us.
Josh: A bit of indie-pop too.
What is your pre-show routine (anything you need to do, eat or drink)?
Jackson: Nothing really, I don’t think we’ve ever had some type of ritual.
Will: Josh likes to get the Crown Royal in – one, good drink.
Who/what do you draw inspiration from?
Will: L’Impératrice… I think because at least Jackson and I grew up listening to the Dead and Phish and other jam bands, that’s kind of so inherently in it [our music] already, I almost find it more productive to draw inspiration from more modern bands right now.
Jackson: It honestly comes down to individual inspiration, because I am sure everyone in this room is inspired by someone who’s so different from the rest, so our music comes together in this weird collage of sound. As a band, I think L’Impératrice and Parcels, a bit of Phish and a bit of Daft Punk. I personally draw a lot of inspiration from the Grateful Dead, and singer/songwriters like John Mayer, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan, James Taylor… Stuff like that.
Evan: More like R&B, hip hop focused. Jazz is definitely an inspiration, it’s a subtle one for the band, but I think it is definitely there.
Josh: I have a lot of influences across all genres, I guess where my mind is for this group, some Earth, Wind & Fire, Sugarfoot, James Brown, and that type of stuff.
Sawyer: I really like British funk bands like Jamiroqui and Level 42. Level 42 is one of my favorite bands ever.
Will: I think my childhood favorites are Dave [Matthews Band] and Phish.
Do you have anything you want people to take away from your music?
Jackson: Damn, that’s a great question – I just want people to leave happy that they came. Had a good time, danced, not much more I want from people. As long as they’re happy.
What’s your dream venue to perform at?
Evan: This [Elsewhere] is one for me. I’ve come here so many times. This was a huge one for me.
Will: Radio City Music Hall probably. The sound there is just insane.
Sawyer: I’ve never been to Red Rocks, but when I see those pictures of those crazy, cascading rocks, it just looks like a lot of fun.
Josh: Irving Plaza, definitely MSG on a bigger scale.
Jackson: I’m going to spice things up especially because this venue doesn’t do concerts but The Camp Nou, the FC Barcelona stadium. I grew up 20 minutes from the stadium and am a big fan.
What’s next for you?
Jackson: What’s next is a little tour in August, a really special one for me, we’re going to my hometown up in Maine, and we’re doing a couple shows there. This will be a dream come true for me, and then we’re coming down south to New York.
Will: This fall we’re touring with Dopapod, so we have four shows with them, and then we added a University of Alabama stop, which will be cool.
📸: shot by Jill Boyatsis