Inky Jack
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Inky Jack

New York, New York, United States | INDIE

New York, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock




"AfropunkFest 2012 band Inky Jack gets lost in LA in their newest video “Red For Days”"

Inky Jack killed it this summer at the Afropunk Festival and at the 2012 Battle of the Bands with their sound like melted Depeche Mode. They're back with their latest single “Red For Days.”

The track trades the final frontier of “Space Oddity” for the never ending urban sprawl of Los Angeles. Combining crushing guitars, soulful vocals, and spaced-out synths, singer Kwame paints a picture of that moment when a night out in LA changes from fun and exciting to totally disorienting and maybe hopeless. (If you've ever been to LA you know exactly what this feels like. If not, just listen to the song, you're not really missing anything...) Eyes bloodshot for days, and undecided if you can find your way back to reality or—more to the point—if you'd want to.
The video (directed by Ron Brody) creates that same atmosphere of disorientation and confusion. It's beautifully shot, strange, and surreal. Treading that fine line between where hope and hopelessness meet. You know, kinda like Los Angeles itself.

- Words by Nathan Leigh - Afropunk

"Brooklyn's Inky Jack"

As my search for a new residence continues, my focus has been largely on Brooklyn. I’ve been told that this borough would be of interest to me since before I even moved to the East Coast. Because of Brooklyn’s multitude of venues and bands, it seems to be the perfect place for an aspiring music journalist looking for new and unknown music to cover. In the past few weeks, I have gotten the chance to get to know one of these bands, so ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to Inky Jack.

When I first heard of the synth-rock band, through mutual friends of guitarist Dipesh Sinha, they were still known as Patchwerk. The group made a preemptive name change to avoid possible copyright issues with a studio in Atlanta of the same name. (Their current moniker comes from a character in Neil Gamon’s novel “American Gods,” a one-armed Haitian revolutionary.)

Since their incarnation, Inky Jack’s location has had a lot to do with their ability to make fast connections. When asked what advantages being a band in Brooklyn holds, Sinha’s explanation sounds pretty similar to my own reasons for wanting to move out there.

“There are so many people here, and not as in population, but as in resources. There are some of the best photographers, managers, video people, and general creators in the world over here, so it’s a good place to grow your network with like-minded people, especially when you’re trying to do it without a label. You basically have to be your own label and find people who believe in your project and work with you, and that is possible here.”

While the abundance of creative residents may make Brooklyn seem to be the perfect place for a group of aspiring artists, it does also have its drawbacks. As Sinha pointed out, the label of being an “up-and coming” Brooklyn band has become somewhat “trite,” nowadays. Drummer Sly Shippy also explained that one has to be selective about the connections made in this part of New York.

“I feel like, living in a wonderful place like Brooklyn, as a place [with] so much diversity and history, you can become a part of a music scene that feels like you’re really just floating in an ocean that’s moving around you. But you have to open your senses. If you want to see someone through, you have to ride a wave with them, or hold their hand or let them float away. You can go to a few parties or openings or plays that seem like they’ll be cool and be bummed out by it in the end; maybe it was all superficial or narcissistic or hedonism.”

There is a silver lining, though, since as Shippy says, “once in a while you go to a show where you’ll meet some great people or see old friends and you can ride a wave forever with them.” Sinha also emphasized that the band members have only played in Brooklyn, so it’s difficult to compare it to anything else. (And as a native of a city notorious for superficiality, I would say this description of Brooklyn could be applied to any town.)

The aforementioned “scene” was celebrated when I got the chance to witness Inky Jack in action at their last show as Patchwerk, at the first annual Brooklyn Indie Music Festival on September 17th. The band took the second stage at Littlefield, just after 9 p.m., for a well-received set of tracks like “Radar,” the catchy “Jump Bunny,” (fans in the audience were singing the hook, “give me your hand,” long after the band had left the stage) and the chilled out “Shortie with a Shottie.”

Since I tend to judge a band’s talent on their live performances, I wouldn’t say I am usually drawn to music with computer-generated sounds. While digitally created smusic may work well in a recording, I have found it doesn’t often translate as well live. This is not the case with Inky Jack, whose performance revealed a solid and soulful group of musicians.

It seems that the spirited sound of this band is completely intentional, as Sinha explained the goal of Inky Jack, “We just like to make honest, raw music. We feel like this honesty is what resonates with people.” This aim toward genuineness came after tiring out on working in manufactured music, though.

Sinha’s musical work began at the age of eighteen, when he started working and interning under various producers, who dabbled mostly in pop music. (Seeing as their music is so effects heavy, it comes as no surprise that Sinha’s background is in producing.) He bluntly described the result of this as “a lot of crap music.” His dislike of the material eventually led him to take an extended break from music.

A trip to Austin’s South by Southwest Festival in 2009, however, inspired him to jump back into the musical world. He decided to join forces with Inky Jack vocalist Kwame Butler, who had also come from the pop world, having previously sung in a Boyz 2 Men style group. The Sinha/Butler collaboration began as a “side project,” but blossomed into Inky Jack after the two linked up with Sly and bassist Steve “Stegro” Walker of Sinha’s other project Pterodactyl Machine, which he describes as “free rock jammage,” in December 2010.

It took seven months of rehearsals before the group was ready to make its live debut since, as Sinha explains, “ None of us were used to playing along with track in perfect time, arranging what synths we [could] play live.”

Now that Inky Jack has mastered this ability, they have been booking multiple NYC area shows, and have recorded a soon to be released EP, which fans will be able to obtain for free or by donation. They have also hooked up with manager Shay Vishawadia, who has over 20 years of experience under his belt, including as the former manager of The Skatalites and Vice President of the Knitting Factory.

2012 looks to be a productive year for Inky Jack, who are “planning on releasing a song every month (separately of the EP) and doing a New York show for that release, hopefully around the same date every month. They will be full releases, with their own artwork, b-sides or remixes (for most at least). We [also] shot a pretty high-tech video for ‘Radar’ and are working on it now. We hope to release the record with the video within a few months.”

Fans can also look forward to an EP of remixes by Dubbism label owner Tony Dubshot at the end of this year. Sinha says, “He is curating a number of remixes to one of our tracks “Under the Ground” by various producers across Europe and the U.S., including Process Rebel, Soroka, and Vendera. It will be a 5 or 6 track EP that will feature the same track in various tracks, such as dance, Moroccan dub, dubstep, and the like.”

For those in the New York area who want an immediate Inky Jack fix, the band will be hitting the stage at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival on October 19th. The future looks promising for this Brooklyn band, and in spite of existing in an uncertain time for musicians, Sinha seems especially optimistic about Inky Jack’s independent status.

“One of the reasons I worked/interned in all the fields is so I would learn everything and not have to be dependent on others. With the music industry in flux, no one really has the answers as to how to [go] about having a successful music career – the music labels seem to be the furthest behind in this department in certain cases. If our ideas as to how to make it are just as valid as anyone else’s, why not give it a go.” - Natalie Jill


"Red for days" Out on Famous Records 10/26/12

Inky Jack debut album out 2013.



Inky Jack, a four-man madhouse of influences ranging from electro-pop, reggae and punk, is releasing their debut album in the coming months, after releasing their single "Red For Days", through Famous Records/Universal on October 26th, 2012.

The founding members found themselves working deep in the urban/pop machine with the likes of Cash Money, and Diplomats before coming to consciousness and delving back into their indie roots with newly-minted pop sensibilities. They have coined the term darkwave dub rock to describe their records as well as their live shows, which consist of a system of drum machines and synthesizers in addition to the classic components of rock band. The vocalist belts and croons in a creamy rasp worthy of the nicotine-addicted, illegitimate Caribbean son of Luther Vandross and Macy Gray (which, sadly, he isnt).

Inky Jack is resonating with people through music that is fun loving, energetic, varied and honest, as indicated by their growing fan base.

They have been compared to TV on the Radio, Passion Pit and Gnarls Barkley, among others.