DS Exclusive: Wes Hoffman and Friends Sign with Jump Start Records, Announce Spring Tour Dates and November Full-Length
It’s a special day over here at Dying Scene HQ as we get the distinct honor of being the first to announce and congratulate the newest members of the Jump Start Records team: Wes Hoffman and Friends! Joining the catalog of punk rock heavy-hitters such as A Wilhelm Scream, MxPx, Off With Their Heads, among […]
It’s a special day over here at Dying Scene HQ as we get the distinct honor of being the first to announce and congratulate the newest members of the Jump Start Records team: Wes Hoffman and Friends! Joining the catalog of punk rock heavy-hitters such as A Wilhelm Scream, MxPx, Off With Their Heads, among many, many others, Wes Hoffman and Friends’ distinct blend of pop and skate punk make them a perfect fit for the lengthy resume Jump Start has already built.
“We seemed to have a similar mindset and perspective on things. We recently went on tour with Bad Planning who has been on Jump Start for a while, and they had nothing but good things to say. It all came together pretty organically and naturally”, wrote Hoffman. “After talking with the owner, Jeremy, and learning about the label’s ethos, I thought it would be a great fit for us.”
Not only is the St. Louis-based quintet signing to a label with a catalog full of “household names” around the punk community, but they’ll become labelmates with some of the bands’ largest influences who have put out some of their favorite releases. “Jump Start released MxPx’s ‘Plans Within Plans’ on vinyl in 2012. I listened to that album on repeat when it came out. I’ve been an MxPx fan for over 25 years, so they’ve been a huge influence on me as well as everyone else in the band”, wrote Hoffman. “A Wilhelm Scream has also released several albums on vinyl with Jump Start. I’ve always been a big fan of them, and we actually got to play with them last year. Belvedere is also one that played that brand of fast, technical skate punk.”
This signing comes just ahead of their debut full-length set to release in November. “How It Should Be” has everything a pop-punk or skate-punk fan could want, with elements familiar to fans of Belvedere and MxPx.
I couldn’t be happier seeing the hard work these guys have put in finally pay off. Although I’ve only been familiar with them for maybe 6 months, it’s been so cool following along with the shows they’ve been playing and the music they’ll soon be releasing. I made the short drive from Nashville up to Indianapolis last month to catch these guys live and, all I have to say is the only thing that outdid their live performance was how cool and friendly these dudes were.
Great things are sure to come as this should serve as both a healthy confidence booster and a great platform to expand their reach. Each member was able to share their own unique insight into what this personally meant, as well as how this benefits the continuing emergence of the group:
Johnny Wehner (Guitar) – “I never thought I’d play a show outside of St. Louis, so signing to a label means a lot to me. I am very excited to play more shows and to expose our music to a broader audience with the help of Jump Start!”
Hes Retnu (Drums) – “Partnerships are everything. I’m extremely excited to partner with Jump Start and earn the chance to amplify alongside the amazing roster of talent.”
Stephen Fee (Guitar) – “We love to write and play music and having Jump Start in our corner enables us to do more of what we love with a different level of support and focus. Turn it to 11!”
Jacob Boyd (Bass) – “Having Jump Start in our corner is incredibly validating and will definitely help our music reach an even bigger audience. I’m stoked for what the future holds.”
These guys have a ton in store for the coming months leading up to their release. If you aren’t familiar with Wes Hoffman and Friends, there’s all kinds of great stuff here to get the two of you acquainted: click here for the interview I had with Wes and bassist Jacob Boyd a few months back, catch WH&F at one of their Midwest dates listed below, or keep scrolling for the short email interview I had with the guys that details the journey leading up to their signing. As always, thanks for checking out the site, Cheers!
3/31 – Kansas City, MO – miniBar*
4/1 – Lincoln, NE – 1867 Bar*
4/2 – Columbia, MO – The Social Room (early show, 5pm)*
4/28 – Cape Girardeau, MO – Blue Diamond#
4/29 – Springfield, MO – Rock Bottom#
5/19 – St. Louis, MO – The Heavy Anchor^
5/20 – St. Joseph, MO – Sk8bar (early show, 5pm) ^
5/21 – Denver, CO – Globe Hall^
* with Stay the Course and My Escape
# with Stay the Course
^ with Years Down
What does it mean to you as a band to be asked to sign with this label?
We’re extremely excited to be a Jump Start band. For us, this is the start of a new era for our band. We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s truly an honor to be a part of the Jump Start roster and have our album be a part of their catalog. They’ve been around for over 25 years and done over 100 releases, so they’re a well-established label. We’re going to keep working hard: writing, touring, making connections, and adding more and more energy to our live show. The biggest change is that we now have support of an established label which we’re very thankful for.
Why do you feel Jump Start is a good fit for you guys?
Jump Start has had some awesome releases and bands that seem to fit well with our sound. I absolutely loved the You Vandal album “Pretend I Don’t Exist” that came out last year. It was one of my most-listened to albums of 2022. After talking with the owner, Jeremy, and learning about the label’s ethos, I thought it would be a great fit for us. We seemed to have a similar mindset and perspective on things. We recently went on tour with Bad Planning who has been on Jump Start for a while, and they had nothing but good things to say as well. It all came together pretty organically and naturally which was also a sign to me that it would be a good fit.
Are there any bands on this label that are particularly influential?
Jump Start released MxPx’s “Plans Within Plans” on vinyl in 2012. I listened to that album on repeat when it came out. I was training for a half-marathon at the time, and would just let it play front to back. I’ve been an MxPx fan for over 25 years, so they’ve been a huge influence on me as well as everyone else in the band. A Wilhelm Scream has also released several albums on vinyl with Jump Start. I’ve always been a big fan of them, and we actually got to play with them last year. Belvedere is also one that played that brand of fast, technical skate punk. They’ve partnered with Jump Start on several releases too. Oddly enough, we have a show with them later this year too. It will be super cool to be a part of a label that’s worked with some of our favorite bands.
How would you summarize this achievement based on the amount of hard work you guys put in to get to this point?
Over the last year, up until now, we’ve worked very hard. I’m at a point in my life where I really want to put 100% into my songs, our shows, our releases, etc. We spent a lot of time on the road last year, and I spent a lot of time in the studio working on songs for our new album. We really put everything we had into this upcoming album and did multiple sessions to add little touches like tambourine, gang vocals, and have some friends play keys and sing on it. When we started talking to labels, I felt like we had put in the right amount of work to land on a good label, and that’s exactly what happened. It’s very cool to see the late nights in the studio and long drives pay off.
I’d also love to hear about the process of how this occurred from start to finish, how long you’ve been talking with the label, stuff like that.
I had reached out to Jeremy from Jump Start in August 2022 after we had released our single and video for “Where Summer Never Ends.” That was the first single released from the new album, so I sent it to several labels and industry contacts. He had replied, said he liked the song, and we continued to talk about what a band-label relationship might look like. We checked in from time to time, but after I got the masters for the upcoming album, I sent them to him, we had a call, and decided to move forward in working with them.
I had also been talking with Disconnect Disconnect Records in the UK/EU and Wrecking Crew Records in Canada to help us release the record in those regions. Wrecking Crew had helped us with the release of our EP on cassette. John Page from Wrecking Crew had reached out to me when we released our first single, “What’s Left of Me.” We partnered with them as well as a local label here in St. Louis called The Record Label. Wrecking Crew is only a couple of years old, but they have released some really cool records. Most recently the Tears of a Fallen Hero album which is incredible.
Disconnect Disconnect has been around for a while. I had heard of them from their “Fast Around The World” compilation. They recently released the new American Thrills record in the UK/EU. I’m a huge fan of American Thrills and love a lot of the bands in the Disconnect catalog. Some of the ones that stuck out were Radar State, The Beautiful Mistake, and Ten Foot Pole. I had reached out to John there, and interacted with him quite a bit on social media. He really liked the record when I sent him the masters and was open to releasing it in the UK/EU. This will help people who want to purchase the record save money on shipping costs in Canada, the UK, and Europe. I’m really thankful for all these labels and their willingness to help us out!
Music is a very relationship-based industry. It takes a while to build those relationships and see how you vibe with people. I’m very thankful that this all came together very organically and naturally. It did feel like somewhat of a long process and at times, it was hard to be patient, but the patience eventually paid off. As I mentioned previously, I want to do everything right, and be as strategic and intentional with our goals as band as we possibly can.
I want to thank Jeremy at Jump Start for taking a chance on us, and giving us the opportunity to put this record out. And thanks to all the people who have supported us, been to a show, bought merch, or told people about our band. It means more to us than you can imagine!! There’s more to come. The album should see a release in November of this year.