Five questions with Jinnouchi Power songwriter Patrick MacCready ahead of the band’s long-awaited album release party

Jinnouchi Power album release show

Dec. 9, xBk Live, 7 p.m., $10-15

Jinnouchi Power — Photo by Amanda Gibbons

After working on their newest album, Kaleidocoi, for close to eight years, Des Moines supergroup Jinnouchi Power is hosting an album release event at xBk on Dec. 9 to celebrate its release. The 11-track record will be streamable on all platforms on the same day.

Little Village caught up with JP’s lead songwriter, Patrick MacCready, to ask about how the band came to be, what to expect at the release show, and the process of creating the album.

How did Jinnouchi Power start?

I was in my mom’s basement [in Pella], just making music and recording it [under] another name, St. Jorge. But I had a friend who was going to college at the time, his name is Forest Cochran and he was living in Des Moines, and he was like, “Oh, you should move here so we can form a band together.” And we did. And through him, and the band that he was in, I met all these people and the entire community was connected.

And jeez, I barely did any of the work. I think, once I moved here, we moved into a house together. Forest introduced me to some people he was playing with, and that’s how I met lead guitar player Sean Bremhorst. Forest played the bass and Sean’s friend, Reed Iverson, was our first drummer. And then he ended up leaving to become a monk. So he was replaced with somebody, we had two people revolving in and out. But now our drummer is Alex Pargulski.

It’s like all of us have played with each other in different groups at different times. So this is just the way it’s shaken out now. Now we have a new keyboard player, her name is Amanda Gibbons. She’s filling in the vocal stuff that Carolyn did with some piano, too. So we’re trying to expand the sound we’ve got going on.

Where does your band name come from?

The band name itself came from a movie called Summer Wars. It’s an anime from the director of the Digimon movie and it centers around a cross-class working family and their last name is Jinnouchi, and when I heard it for the first time I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I watch the movie, like, twice a year and cry like a baby every single time. Jinnouchi roughly translates to “spirit inside.”

The vibe of Jinnouchi Power is supposed to be a fake electric company. It was inspired by, there’s an art collective out of Japan called Maywa Denki and they came up with the Otamatone, those little note-shaped toys that you can play music on. They made those, they made a lot of other nonsense machines, but they’re like an electrical company and I love that so much. And then when Jinnouchi Power came to me, I was like, “Oh, electric company.” So the official name is that whole thing, which is a mouthful. But the idea behind the band is that we’re making music, and selling it as a product to make people feel good. You know, it’s a utility you can pay for. And we’ve been doing that for a long time — it feels like we’ve been doing it forever.

This album has been a long time coming. Can you tell us about the process of recording it and planning the release show?

The album has been conceived and conceptualized for so long. The album’s called Kaledokoi, and it’s mostly because it kind of takes on a spectrum of different genres. It has a kaleidoscopic idea, in my own brain, at least, that’s the way I kind of envision it. I also love fish, I’m a Pisces; Kaledokoi just seemed really perfect.

The first chunk of the album are songs that are older, that were written before I got the band together, and kind of brought it to them. Then the next ones are what I wrote way later. So it kind of stretches that span of three or four years. But the reason it took so long is because I wanted to do it right. I was like, “Well, we should have a real, right and true rock-and-roll album. And we’re gonna go to a producer, we’ll have Phil Young do it. And we’re gonna get it mastered and all of this stuff.” And that was really expensive. I pretty much always just worked in a restaurant until recently. So living paycheck to paycheck, it’s hard to plan a bunch of sessions. They all cost 60 bucks, and you’re just paying for it all.

So yeah, it’s a big deal for us, because it’s taken about six years in this entire process. And it sounds great. And we’re just really excited to play it. And we’re also really excited to play new stuff now. Like, “Here it is everybody.” We have, like, two albums worth of stuff that we’re ready to work on and start showing people.

What is it about the Des Moines art scene that keeps you here?

I often forget who the governor is because when I exist in Des Moines day to day, and I’m a research assistant at an agricultural science company, so you’d think that I’d be surrounded by more, like, rightwing nuts, but two of the people on my team are trans and I just never feel out of place. But that’s the Des Moines community.

I think what I like about the Des Moines art community is that it is not too big. And I think that’s its biggest downfall because every little thing can be scrutinized, every little musical act. You can talk to somebody for like an hour about the effect that it has directly on the scene because it’s so small. But that’s also one of its strengths is that everything you do matters. Everybody in this community wants to contribute to something and they all have something really great to give. It feels like we’re a big family.

And another thing we did for the release of the album is make a booklet and every page, every song, has a different art style from a different artist. So I tried to get as many people as I could from our scene here. So it was anyone who really wanted to be a part of it. I hope it has the same aesthetic as a coffee table book.

What can people expect from your Dec. 9 release show?

We’re going to replicate what we did in the first show we had. We’re going to have a bed set up with a bunch of pillows and blankets. So I’m gonna play one song on it, but the potential for a pillow fight or something is always there. It’s happened before. [We’ll be] just kind of cozying up the space, and playing clips from kung fu movies on the projector screen. We like the cozy stuff. We wanted to try to replicate our first album release, but make it a little bit more over the top. It’s gonna sound better because the sound is great. We have some pretty big ideas for some future shows. But we want to focus on the songs more.

I wanted the openers and us to work in this beautiful, like, swelling way where it just gets bigger and better as it goes on. But it’s all kind of the same vibe: soothing, but rock and roll. We opened for Good Morning Midnight’s record release, which was maybe two, three years ago. We’re trying to have things come full circle on this. So not exactly repeating things we’ve done in the past, but trying to take some of the same ideas and do them better. And have some of the same people that were there during our journey come back again. But now they’ve grown a lot, too.

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