Getting To Know... Ackerman

While their plans for an album, live shows, and the Pie Madness competition that the band love so much were rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak, indie-rockers Ackerman have still shown that they are very much still at it as they unveil their latest single 'Work In Finance'.

Born out of the eclectic music scene in Brooklyn, New York, the now bicoastal trio of Jordan McAfee-Hahn, Bernardo Ochoa, and Matti Dunietz have returned in stellar form as they go to town on this bright and psychedelic new offering. Much like all of their material to date, 'Work In Finance' showcases their own vibrant and flamboyant approach to music, filling this new release with pulsing energy and some truly bonkers synths.

So with their new cut smashing through our speakers on repeat right now, we sat down with them to find out more about their origins and what first inspired them in their careers.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

Jordan: Drums!

Bernando: Guitar! I took piano lessons for years before, but guitar was the first instrument that I felt like I could really express myself with.

What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?

J: Sick homies putting out amazing music from the Brooklyn scene!

B: The vibrancy of life, for real.

What kind of music did you love as a teenager?

J: Early teens I loved prog stuff, like Rush, Yes, ELO, Pink Floyd, XTC, etc... then it transformed into a weird jam band phase. I guess the through line throughout my entire teens was film scores like Atticus Ross, Trent Reznor, Howard Shore, Bernard Herrman, John Cale's score for American Psycho is off the charts.

B: The Strokes, Wilco, The Shins, Regina Spektor, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Ingrid Michaelson, Vampire Weekend, Belle & Sebastian, Dirty Projectors, Cat Power, you know, the classics.

Can you remember the first song that made you want to pursue a life in music?

J: Honestly, I wanted to be a guitar god like Joe Satriani when I was 9 or 10... didn't succeed, but that was when I first realized I wanted to be good at music in any capacity.

B: 'Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix.

When you wake up in the morning, what kind of music do you like to listen to?

J: Brian Eno always, Sigur Ros too. Or some nice folk like Milk Carton Kids, Fleet Foxes, or some of the lighter Andrew Bird stuff.

B: I try to listen to different things all the time. I mainly listen to records as opposed to playlists. Today I checked out ‘Invisible People’ by Chicano Batman.

How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?

J: I don't really write music in that way. I know that Nardo takes a lot of inspiration from that though, and that has made it's way into a bunch of our songs, and opened me up to think that way as well!

B: Like every single song lol. It’s kind of embarrassing. But the more I grow the more I like making these song portraits in different ways. Like instead of focusing on one person, taking a group photo. For your ears. Or focusing on an interesting funny intimate moment, as opposed to taking a professional headshot.

What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?

J: The tours have always been fun... Last summer we built a temporary studio in a farm house in New Jersey and lived there together for a month writing and jamming and recording and cooking. That was an all-time life moment right there.

B: I’m honestly not sure! I’m just enjoying the journey.

Outside of music, what is your biggest passion?

J: Filmmaking, Writing, Biking, Cooking, just took up rollerblading.

B: Hanging out with my friends in the many permutations that can take. I love playing board games and biking, doing yoga, and just spending good quality time with people I love.

If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?

J: My passion for film is a huge part of my life, and my capacity as a musician informs my life as a film director, and vice versa. Without either one, I don't know what I'd do.

B: In another life, I’d be a marine biologist.

And what advice would you give to other musicians looking to stay productive through the coronavirus lockdown?

J: As someone who is constantly waiting for "inspiration" and hates unproductive work, I honestly think just sitting down and devoting time to it will solve any creative difficulties (as long as you don't take the work you're producing too seriously). Getting discouraged because a song you're writing isn't working is not helpful! Just feel glad you put the time in, and eventually the diamonds will come out of the ruff. We talk about this a lot within the band -- No one writes a song they're happy with every time they sit down, so just push through.

B: Give yourself a break. You don’t have to be productive all the time. Maybe you can find rest and reflection in this strange time, and I think that’s just as valuable as someone who is working on their first double LP. Listen to your body, to yourself. You might be surprised by what is calling to you.

And if what is calling you is music, then find out what that means to you. Maybe that means recording, but maybe that means diving into that book of classical guitar that’s been sitting on your desk. Maybe that means doing live virtual shows. It’s all valuable, if it’s you.


Ackerman's new single 'Work In Finance' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.