Caleb Landry Jones is a continual creator. The Texan born star found fame as an actor – you’ll recognie him from key roles in X-Men: First Class, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, amongst others – but music is perhaps his first love, and his source of greatest comfort. A chance encounter with famed auteur Jim Jarmusch brought him into the orbit of Sacred Bones, and the stalwart independent released Caleb’s 2020 debut album ‘The Mother Stone’. Psychedelic in a defiantly non-retro way, this indulgent, freewheeling trip won critical acclaim, but masked a secret – he’d already finished another album.
Filming alongside Tom Hanks in dystopian themed Finch, Caleb found himself writing during those long evenings after the shoot in locations across New Mexico, idling away his hours by focussing on creativity. “I need it,” he says. “I’ve tried working without it. On one acting job, I intentionally didn’t bring a guitar to try and do it without music… but that didn’t last long. I need to create something – it could be a drawing, it could be a song – because otherwise I feel like I’m wasting time. Which is something I do plenty of on my own!”
New album ‘Gadzooks Vol. 1’ exists in a completely different realm from Caleb’s debut album. Ranging from spider-like wisps of neo-psychedelia through to vast swathes of synthetic chords, it’s a record that moves from joy to despair, from horror to glib humour. “‘The Mother Stone’ was so open to me, and it went to a lot of places, and it never came back to those places. And I wanted to just keep going,” he says. “I wanted to make something that made me smile and giggle!”
Working 18 hour days at Valentine Recording Studio – “oh boy, it’s immaculate!” – Caleb brought his vision into focus. Producer Nic Jodoin was key to the process – the pair’s relationship was deepened by their experiences on his debut. “I mean, technically, he’s a genius,” Caleb gushes. “I think we were able to trust each other more on things and go down the rabbit hole faster. We had more faith in ourselves.”
“But more importantly, I think it's his attitude. He’s always wanting to push himself, for me to push myself, and we're both wanting to make something that we haven't made before.”
Part of a flood-tide of creativity – as its title suggests, a second half to this album is already on the horizon – ‘Gadzooks Vol. 1’ is thrilling, shocking, and wonderfully entertaining. Each song starts and finishes in entirely unique places, often totally divorced from each other. “I'm trying to write something very simple,” he says. “And it gets really abstract because I don’t know any other way.”
Right now he’s living in Bushwick, New York - “long story short, I’m actually living in a bar!” – seeing out the pandemic, waiting for roles to come in and songs to appear. “It’s champagne problems!” he laughs. “I’m always writing. Always.”
He smiles and finishes: “I do this all the time. It’s a craft.”