Jaw Gems has been on a tear recently. If you haven’t heard of them yet, it’s probably time to hop on the Jaw Gems bandwagon. The Portland, ME band emerged out of the ether in 2016, signing with STS9‘s 1320 Records after being discovered by the band via a YouTube video. Jaw Gems released their EP Heatweaver on 1320 before hitting the road with Lettuce in December and January. They’ll be on tour supporting Papadosio this Spring, and there will be plenty of opportunities to catch them at festivals in 2017, including a recently-announced late-night show with Eric Krasno Band and the Krasno / Oteil Burbridge supergroup known as “The Infinity Jam” at Lettuce’s Fool’s Paradise.Lettuce has been huge supporters of Jaw Gems, with members Ryan Zoidis and Adam Deitch taking them under their wings and supporting their music. Deitch calls Jaw Gems “The future,” and thinks that they “have the coolest sound in music.” He says, “I’ve been a fan since day one and will continue to tell everyone I know about them.” Zoidis echoes that sentiment, claiming that they are “one of the coolest most creative young bands” and that “their style is one of a kind and their chemistry is undeniable.”Recently, writer Gideon Plotnicki sat down with Andrew Scherzer, who plays bass in Jaw Gems, to catch up with him about all of these opportunities that have quickly popped up for the band. In the interview, Andrew delves deep into the psyche of a musician emerging onto the live music scene. He discusses his experiences on the road, dealing with self-esteem issues while on tour with his musical idols, and plans for Jaw Gems in 2017. See below for a full transcript of their conversation, and get pumped for lots of Jaw Gems in 2017!Live For Live Music: I know you’ve been on tour with Lettuce, how’s the tour going so far?Andrew Scherzer: We actually just finished up our stint with them. Our last show with them was a show at Jannus Landing [in St. Petersburg, FL], which was amazing. We’ve known a few of the guys for a while, like Ryan Zoidis, who’s from Portland, Maine, which is our base of operations. We’ve known him for a while and he’s been real supportive. Also, Adam Deitch has been real supportive of us for a couple of years now. So they’ve been really gunning for us and supporting us and worked hard to get us out on tour with them.This experience to actually play night-to-night and to get to hang with them every night has been awesome. It’s great for me since I have mad self-confidence issues when it comes to musicianship, especially to be coming out now. I’m 34 and have been doing it for a while, but not at this level, so to be doing this now at this level is actually pretty frightening for me. To be on stage and look off stage and see Deitch or Neal Evans listening and actually getting down or throwing a thumbs-up… That’s crazy. I’m sure there will be great times ahead of us, but that’s been the most important thing for me. To see some of my most favorite musicians actually visibly enjoying our sets and then hanging out after and spending time with us.L4LM: Definitely, well I understand that. You know, Adam and Ryan are good friends of Live for Live Music, and I know that they’re very particular when it comes to the music they experience outside of Lettuce, so it’s cool that they’re so positive about you guys and bringing you on tour and all that. It must be a great experience for you from a musical perspective.AS: Yeah, it really is. It’s like, I swear, the way I’ve gotten into music with my life, it’s like a cheesy made-for-TV movie, it’s so dumb. All the cats that I was listening to when I first started playing music would’ve been Karl Denson, Lettuce, and Soulive, definitely Soulive. They were always in my CD player, and I’m always trying to rip off Neal Evans’ bass work and stuff, all the time. So to have one of the first big professional experiences be with those guys, it’s like having your dreams come true. It’s like being in your bedroom and listening to the Rolling Stones and then Mick Jagger knocks on your door and is like “Yo, hey wanna hang out, cool.” I’m like, “WHAT!?”L4LM: I totally get where you’re coming from. It must be so awesome to be a musician that’s on tour with your idols like that. I remember last year at Fool’s Paradise, we had Vulfpeck down there, and it’s the same thing with Theo Katzman from Vulfpeck. He grew up loving Soulive and Lettuce. During Vulfpeck’s set at Fool’s, the members of Lettuce came on stage one by one—Zoidis, then Kraz, then Deitch, most of them got up there—and watching the reactions from Theo and Vulfpeck as their dreams were coming true, it was just a wild experience. So it’s cool that the dudes from Lettuce are open to providing that “dream-come-true” experience for up-and-coming bands.AS: Absolutely. I mean, they are funk legends. They’re not even old, they’ve just been killing it since the moment they started. I remember the first time I saw Adam Deitch was with the John Scofield Band, I was actually sixteen years old and working security at the concert hall, even though I was mad skinny.L4LM: You mean the Überjam Band?AS: Yes, exactly. I was at the State Theater standing side stage, and Deitch is only a few years older than me so he was also still a kid, and I was just blown away. Like, “Who the hell is this guy!?” So, anyway, I’ve been following those cats and this group of musicians forever. It’s surreal, it’s absolutely surreal.L4LM: You just finished this tour with Lettuce, and I know you have some dates with Papadosio on deck. In general, what’s it like to be able to play with artists that you like and respect on your first real tours as a band?AS: It’s awesome, it’s freaky, it’s the worst, it’s the best. My brain’s just like, constantly fighting with itself. The first three nights with Lettuce was just like, raging, so much fun. Then my self-esteem started peeking it’s nasty head out and it was just like “oh God, everybody’s good, everybody that I meet on tour is so good at everything.” No matter whose hand you shake, they go on stage and then they absolutely crush, and I’m just like “dude, what!? I can’t do this! Ok, I’ll try, no, I quit, no, I’m back!” It’s crazy. There are so many cool and scary aspects to it.Meeting musicians who I admire, getting to watch and enjoy their music, and then to feel them enjoy your music is incredible. Meeting new musicians that you weren’t hip to is also huge. Papadosio is a great example, I hadn’t really listened to them, and then we played a couple of dates with them and we’re linking back up for a good long run in a couple of weeks. I wasn’t familiar with their stuff, I’m really bad at keeping my ear to the ground; I’m pretty closed in with my musical taste. So, to meet some really nice new people and then watch them play new music and see new ways of playing and new styles on any given night, it’s great. I get to meet a new crew of people, and they’re so nice, and now they’re treating us like family, and they’re dope at music. As a nightly experience, it’s overwhelming, but in the best possible way. It all kind of emotionally blurs together. You’re just in this constant state of emotionally walking around going “what!?”L4LM: You gotta pace yourself sometimes for sure.Andy: Exactly. And we’re all based out of Maine, and I’m from the country. We used to be a house band, so I’d like chill at my house, play video games, chill with my dog, go outside for walks…I’d keep to myself, I’d go to my gig, play it, go back and chill, then repeat. So to all of a sudden be out, night-to-night, meeting the best people and musicians out there, it’s just like I walked out of a cave and all of a sudden I’m experiencing this music world for the first time.L4LM: Well, you know what they say about that 10,000 hours rule. Sounds like you guys were grinding and biding your time, and after years of practice, you’re now ready to be on that level. You’re ready to go.AS: Totally. When I was 19 and 20 I moved to Texas for a minute and played in a pop band. We did pretty well, but I didn’t have the mental faculties to handle the lifestyle for sure. I started drinking too much and just didn’t have the discipline. I feel like if Jaw Gems would’ve been a thing years ago I wouldn’t have been ready and I would’ve gone off the rails, so I’m glad I had the practice to be chill for a while, and now I’m ready to be on tour and concentrate and make sure that I play at a high level. I always remind myself to listen to the music and not be distracted by a hot chick in the crowd, or the party backstage, or anything like that. I got that out of my system a long time ago.Watch Jaw Gems’ music video for “Party Slave” belowL4LM: You guys are signed to 1320 records, STS9’s record label. What kind of relationship do you have with STS9, and how has that impacted Jaw Gems as a band?AS: That definitely was a huge kick-start for us. Zach [Velmer], the drummer in STS9, found a video of us covering an LCD Soundsystem song at a festival called Waking Windows, which is definitely one of my favorite festivals because the artists they bring in are so eclectic. Anyway, Zach found this random video on YouTube and hit us up, and I guess told his management to reach out to us and hooked it up out of nowhere. It was super surreal and it still is to me. All of a sudden Sound Tribe Sector 9’s management hit us up out of nowhere and wanted to sign us…? I still can’t believe it.So we did one date with them, and then a three-night run with them, and it was so fun. Of course, their shows are epically huge, so that was really intense to play, even if the entire crowd wasn’t there for our set. Going out and all of a sudden playing in front of thousands of people was wild, and crazy to have their support. Again, to look off to the side of the stage and to see the band chilling and listening instead of hanging and relaxing on their bus, it’s wild.L4LM: It’s definitely a great look to be associated with 1320. They release a lot of cool, eclectic music, so it’s awesome to be part of that team. With all of that in mind, Jaw Gems really broke out in a big way in 2016, and 2017 figures to be a huge year for Jaw Gems. Is there anything you can tell us about upcoming plans for this year or any cool shows that you have coming up that you’re particularly excited about?AS: Well, we’re locking down some festivals right now. I know we have the Papadosio tour, which is going to be dope. Then we have one-off festivals we’re doing, and we’re going to add more. We’re trying to get the summer fully booked before figuring out the next set of moves. We’re looking out for some videographers to make another music video, we’re working on new material and have been writing and recording, and we definitely have to get into the studio. Our thing with recording is that we like to go somewhere just ourselves, we do all the production, so we don’t use actual studios. Our first album we used my friend’s family’s lake house and just set up there, stayed on the lake and recorded. Tyler, one of our keyboardists, his parents have a beautiful house in Augusta, so sometimes we’ll go chill there. We will figure out a time to take a week of time to go plant ourselves somewhere and grind out some more material.There’s a bunch of stuff in the air, and I think the summer–this summer and next summer–we want to get to all the festivals that we’re interested in hitting. This past year, everything started popping all of a sudden, so it’s kind of like we ran into this like a chicken with its head cut off. Within a very short period we got set up with a manager, a booking agent, a publicist, all these people are supporting us, and they just tell me where to go. So we’re in the midst of firing up all of the cylinders and starting to get going and getting the gears to shift. I’m sitting back watching it and gaining more faith every day in what we’re doing. Honestly, if you wanted to know what our plans are, you should ask our manager Janice. She’s killing it…huge shout out to Janice, like, huge. She’s been a big supporter, she was doing PR and stuff for us and started getting more involved on her own time because she loves the band, and has just been a huge supporter. She’s been so helpful, just helping us keep organized and keep all of our appointments, and it’s been the best. Having someone do so much for us and knowing what’s happening, she’s just so good at what she does.L4LM: Jaw Gems just got added to Fool’s Paradise to do a late night show. What are your thoughts on being added to the lineup?AS: Don’t really care, super bored about it, pretty over it, bro! Uh, no, we are so, so pumped for Fool’s Paradise. I think it’s been in the works for a minute and we were really hoping it would work out, and we’re so glad it did. It’s Lettuce, it’s family, we want to be down there in Florida with them. We loved the lineup last year, and we’re so pumped to be a part of it this year.L4LM: I know you just played Low End Theory in LA. It’s a pretty iconic venue, how’d that show go?AS: Oh man, it was such a good night. One, we got to meet the whole Jaw Gems family, our booking agent, Wes, came out and our whole team was there. We got to have a big team meeting which was great. We played, it felt great, all of my bandmates were in full crush mode, and then Flying Lotus showed up and threw down a DJ set last minute, and it was just magic. Jesus and Tyler Coomes came out and were just hangin’ out all night. The vibe was just magic.L4LM: Well thanks for chatting with us!Don’t miss Jaw Gems at Fool’s Paradise, in St. Augustine, FL from March 31st through April 1st. They’ll join Lettuce, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Floozies, The Motet, Manic Science (Break Science x Manic Focus), The Main Squeeze, Dumpstaphunk and Organ Freeman for two days of funk in the sun. Head to the Fool’s Paradise website for more details and to buy tickets.