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Sweet Gloom

Sweet Gloom is a pop punk/powerpop trio comprised of California music veterans Jaake Margot (guitar, vocals), Chris Clark (bass, vocals), and Morris Carrillo (drums, vocals). They released their debut LP “Reverie” earlier this year on the legendary punk label Asian Man Records, who describes their sound as “CROONER CORE” and “SINATRA CORE.”

We sat down with Jaake Margot to hear about his storied history in the Bay Area & Southern California music scenes, and how he ended up all over the world with his friends playing & supporting music.

Photo: Courtesy of Sweet Gloom



1.  What was it about punk rock in particular that drew you in?

I think I heard The Clash on the radio. I remember that I would go to the library when I was super young, like in middle school, and just check out CDs that I thought looked punk. And that’s how I got into Asian Man Records stuff. Like, I picked up Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms, and that kind of led me on the whole journey that I’ve been on ever since. 

2.  Are those the records that made you want to start a band?

I always wanted to start a band when I was getting into punk. My mom was into Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and The Beach Boys, and that was what I was really into when I was young. And then I heard punk wherever I heard it, got into punk, checked out those CDs, and I went to live performances that made me want to play in a band. I always was like, “okay. I’m going to start a band. I’m going to start a band.” I joined a band my freshman year in high school. I didn’t start going to Asian Man until I was maybe a junior in high school. So I was in a band first.

3.  What was it like starting your first band? How did you go about it?

In my freshman year in high school, I didn’t really know anybody at the time who played. There was this kid named Luke I went to high school with. He heard I could sing. Somebody told him that I was a good singer. I was walking to where I would get picked up and he stopped me. He’s like, “Hey. Do you want to like, sing in my band?” And I was like, “yes.” And yeah, I joined a band. I think later that week I went to band practice with them and it was pretty close to my parents’ house. I was in that band for the rest of high school. They were called Cheers to Doerr.

I finally made some friends that played instruments. We had a band called Logic & the Valentines that I played guitar and sang in. And then it was pretty crazy. I was in both those bands simultaneously. And then at the end of high school, I was working at a grocery store and a friend of mine showed up with two buddies and they were talking to me in the parking lot because I was pushing carts. And they were like, “Oh, yeah, we’re going to start a band. We’re looking for a bass player.” And I was just like, “I’ll do it.” And I joined that band on bass. That band was called Disabled Intent. Silly name. So yeah, those were like my three high school bands.

4.  How did you meet Mike Park, and end up getting involved with Asian Man Records?

When I was like 16, I had just gotten my driver’s license. I had bought a bunch of Asian Man stuff online. I think I bought like a couple records and maybe some t-shirts. I don’t remember exactly what. But I bought it online from Asian man. And I got an email back from Mike saying,  “hey,  I don’t want to pay shipping.  And I looked it up and you live really close. Do you want to just come pick this up?” I was like, “yeah, okay.” So the first time I ever drove my car on the freeway by myself at 16 years old, I went to Asian Man and picked them up. I remember very vividly, I got there. Mike Park was there. Mike Huguenor was there. He plays in the Jeff Rosenstock band.  He was in the San Jose legend band called Shinobu, and another one called Hard Girls. He was there like helping out. And yeah, I just hung out with them. I think I packed some records. And then I pretty much went every Thursday for like the rest of the time I lived in San Jose. I would go hang out with Mike on Thursdays and pack records. And yeah, we became really good friends. We used to see movies all the time.

5.  When did you go on your first tour, and what band was it with?

The first tour I ever did, I was 17 or 18. And it was just like four days in the Pacific Northwest with me and an acoustic guitar. I went with a person named L. I think that their band, their acoustic-person name, was Kid Nothing, if I remember correctly. And they were just like, “hey, do you want to do this tour with me? I think it was like three or four shows. I think the first show was in Oakland. And then it was like Seattle, Portland, maybe Bellingham. It was just, you know, Pacific Northwest. I think that they rented a car and we just put our guitars in the car. And we went up there and we did a couple shows. 

I made a bunch of friends and hung out with a lot of people. It was really cool. And I was like, “oh, no. This is all I want to do with my life.” And then pretty soon after that, I was filling in on bass for this band called the Albert Square. And we did a West Coast tour. I think that was like 15 days or something. And I remember I had just started a new band after all those high school bands called Kill the Bats. It was like this weird little emo band from San Jose with a bunch of friends of mine. And I really wanted to take that band seriously. And to me, I thought that meant, you know, let’s tour, tour, tour. And so I went on this tour with the Albert Square playing bass. I made a point to, you know, get everyone’s information everywhere I went so I could just rebook the whole tour with my band. And I did. So then like a month or so later, I did a Kill the Bats tour.

And then we toured a couple of times as, you know, we were only a band for a couple of years, but we put out a record and we toured a little bit. And pretty much from then on out, I like couldn’t stop. It was just like, when that band ended I started a band called Get Married. And we toured a ton. And when we were touring, it was like I became “the guy.” It was all in my brain. Like, I knew how to do it.

6.  What lead to you becoming a Tour Manager for so many bands?

Kill the Bats did a tour with this band called Just Friends. We did this West Coast tour forever ago. And then, flash forward years into the future, like 2021. I got a call from the singer of Just Friends. They’re now doing pretty well. And he goes, “hey, we need a tour manager. We know that you can do the job. Will you do it?” And I was like, I was afraid. I was like, “oh, that’s a long time to be gone for something that isn’t my band.” And my girlfriend at the time was like, “you should do it. I think you should do it.” And I said, “OK.” And I had a blast. It was so much fun. I still would prefer to be playing music. But if I have to do something for work, I would like it to be music-involved. 

And so I started TM-ing Just Friends. I tour managed them three or four times, I think. And then through that, I started getting other merch-guy jobs or tour manager jobs. And so I ended up doing merch for a band called Pool Kids, who I love. Those are good friends of mine. And I did merch for Dan Andriano from Alkaline Trio, which was a pretty gigantic full circle moment for me. I tour managed this British band called Mama’s Gun. They’re a soul band. And I’m actually about a week off from doing merch for Alkaline Trio themselves, which is pretty crazy. Yeah, that’s how I got involved in that part of music. Because no one liked my band. So I had to start working for other bands.

That’s a joke. Some people like my band. My mom. Only my mom.

7.  You’ve been to a ton of places as a musician, tour manager, and merch guy. Of all the place that you’ve gone, which was the craziest for you?

I went with a band called Stick Up Kid. They went to Japan and I got to go with them as just kind of a crew member. I think I was supposed to do merch or something, but I don’t speak Japanese. So I filmed everything on a camera for them. Some of the footage ended up in a music video, but I don’t know what else they did with it. But yeah, so I was in Japan for a month with them and I never thought I’d end up there. That was really cool. I remember getting off the plane, getting in the van that we were going to be in for the whole tour, and going to the place we stayed the first night. And looking out the window. “How am I in Japan because of music?” That was very cool. That was excellent.

I’ve ended up in many places I never thought I would be, you know. Not as cool. But then I’m like, “oh, I’m in Kentucky.” No offense, people in Kentucky. But I never thought I’d end up in Kentucky. And then there I am in Kentucky. Get Married played a show in Kentucky, and I remember I was standing on a bridge looking at Cincinnati. And I’m like, “that’s pretty cool.” I’ve never thought I’d be here.

Sweet Gloom just did a tour in June, and we were in Durham, North Carolina. I just remember I was having so much fun. I remember saying out loud, like at the bar. I was just “having a suspiciously good time here in Durham, North Carolina.” I love seeing the world. And then I think I very much love seeing it because of music. Like, you know, some people love to travel. Yeah, traveling is cool. But it’s cooler when you’re in a shitty dive bar in every city in America and you’re playing songs you wrote to a bartender and your mom’s friends, you know?

8. Being in so many bands over the years, what lessons did you learn that you wanted to apply to Sweet Gloom?

I think Sweet Gloom made me realize there’s not a right way to do it. It’s truthfully just like luck and money. If you have the money and the luck, you can do pretty much anything. And I have neither of those things. With Sweet Gloom, you know, I’m really passionate about it. I want it to do well. We put out a record and we did a big tour on it. And we’re going to keep doing it. We’re going to keep working hard as we can. I think the only thing I’m avoiding is, I’m trying not to do anything with Sweet Gloom that will make me miserable. I want to play a bunch of shows. I want to tour and I want to put out music. Everybody’s like, “oh, you should be making Tik-Toks and stuff like that.” And I just am not, because it makes me very unhappy, which is probably not good. So maybe I’m learning the wrong lessons, but I don’t know. This is something I’m very passionate about. Something that makes me happy. And I don’t want to hate it. You know what I mean? That’s the only thing I’ve learned. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do, which is bad advice, but it’s what I’ve learned.

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