“By doing everything I can to feel something, I end up really tired in the end.”
It’s just a Zoom interview, but Salem-based indie-rock band going222jail arrives 20 minutes early to ensure they don’t miss it. Their playful energy is contagious, like their music, and the members are full of jokes while ecstatically discussing their new debut EP, Ragweed.
going222jail is Jools Skiffington (vocalist), Sean Nicholas (drums), Chris Civetta (guitar), and Matti Lepkowski (bass). In 2020, the former three were a part of a band called Italian Ice, but quickly broke apart during the pandemic. Last June, they joined with Lepkowski, and have since slowly gone to make a name for themselves on the local music scene.
Skiffington laughs when explaining that the band name derives from a viral Vine video where a guy yells “I’m going to jail!” into a stranger’s camera. The extra two’s in the name were added to differentiate themselves from a Spotify account that uploads piano demos under the name “goingtojail.”
Inspired by Green Day, Third Eye Blind, and Modest Mouse, Ragweed has dreamy yet grungy alternative elements to it. The EP’s lyrics mirror the mundaneness of entering adulthood and shedding one’s past self.
The first track, “bed of sin,” starts off with a soft, melodic guitar that makes for a calming listen. The second half transitions to a punk influence, as raucous guitar riffs kick in and drums pick up in speed. Skiffington’s raspy voice shines as he sings, “Took a minute just to catch my breath/I can feel you when the air gets thin.”
“faceplant,” a favorite among Nicholas and Civetta, contrasts “bed of sin” with its bright, nostalgic sound. Skiffington drives home the theme of losing the person you once were as he repeats, “What ever happened to your face?” The track ends with a slow, shoegaze breakdown, matching the bittersweet message.
The EP’s most lively song is “GOD,” which the band says was birthed following a typical jam session. Influenced by Skiffington’s love for Japanese horror writer Junji Ito’s work, the accelerated tempo fills with heavy drums and layered guitars, and is meant to reflect the disturbing feeling of one’s life being stuck in a loop.
“i am so thin,” perfectly ends the EP. Its feel-good beat distracts the listener from its vulnerable lyrics regarding Skiffington’s feelings towards his past year of being an adult: “Trying to get myself stung/If it’s just a few times/I can get so tired/Staring at a beehive.”
“I just feel like I’m stretching myself out, and trying to do everything but getting nothing out of it,” he says. “By doing everything I can to feel something, I end up really tired in the end.”
going222jail plays the Jungle in Somerville on May 30 and at the Rockwell on June 15. linktr.ee/going222jail
Alexa Maddi is a journalism student at Emerson College who is most passionate about music writing.