Stomping Grounds: Eric Jernigan (Driftoff) on Brooklyn, New York

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Driftoff consists of members of Junius, Rosetta, and City of Ships. On Modern Fear, these vets drive hard with a burly post-hardcore sound in line with bands like Quicksand, Hot Water Music, and Planes Mistaken For Stars. Layers of yearning vocals and radiant guitars shine atop a massive rhythm section. The quartet plows through four perfect post-hardcore gems, taking lyrical inspiration from stories about its hometown of New York.
That’s why Ghettoblaster caught up with guitarist, vocalist Eric Jernigan to discuss his home, Prospect Park, Joey Ramone and more.
What’s your town’s nickname?
What’s your nickname for your town?
“The Greatest.”
Why do you live there?
Came for a girl, stayed for the pizza.
Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
Two of us grew up in the NYC area. The other two are southern boys who nature pushed out of a culture vacuum.
What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
For 18 months a very nice, wealthy family entrusted care of their four children to me. I picked them up from school, helped them with homework, and accompanied them to the city’s best museums. Best job I ever had.
What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
I live around the corner from Prospect Park in Brooklyn, which is in itself the size of a small city. It’s one of a few places a New Yorker can go for some quiet solitude. Just ignore the sketchy dudes cruising for illicit hookups in the evenings. They’re mostly harmless.
What is your favorite local event or festival?
The New York Brewfest on Governors Island is incredible. Take a ferry to the island, grab a cup, and wander around tasting some of the best craft beer in the world for hours.
What is the best time of year to be there?
Nothing quite like the first day of spring. Millions of cranky New Yorkers, all of whom were yesterday stir-crazy and on the verge of suicide, emerge from their homes whistling and high-fiving each other.
Who is your favorite local celebrity?
Joey Ramone.
Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
Our go-to bar is Washington Commons in Prospect Heights. Killer rotating tap selection. Always something you didn’t know you wanted. Reasonable prices.
Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
Charlene’s Bar, a dive on Flatbush Avenue. All the Sabbath, Zeppelin, and Thin Lizzy you can handle.
Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?
Too many good spots in this city, really. Saint Vitus and Union Pool are always good spots for an intimate gig.
Does where you live influence your music?
Unquestionably. We collaborate on lyrics for this band and have drawn so much inspiration from our actual experiences in the city.
What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
Bowery Ballroom. I saw Swervedriver there and it was just electric. It was their first NYC show in years and the crowd was psyched.
What is your favorite local band?
It’s impossible to name a favorite as there are so many good bands in this town. I saw Primitive Weapons open for Torche the other night and their new stuff is so good. They are a force.
What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Collectively we’ve eaten about four tons of Mexican food from Maya Taqueria on Vanderbilt Ave. $6.50 for a burrito that will leave you hating yourself by the time you’re done. Think I’m gonna head there after I finish this interview, actually.
What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
This might not be a popular answer but there’s a guy who sets up a table full of killer records outside of the Trader Joe’s on Atlantic Ave. I scored George Harrison’s Living in the Material World from that dude for 50 cents a while back.
What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
We live and die by the show list at
What is your favorite local shop?
Always love checking out guitars and amps at Main Drag in Williamsburg.
If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
Tuscany. Sunshine, amazing food, incredible history everywhere. Best region on the planet by my measure.
(Modern Fear, the debut EP by Driftoff, is out today on Science of Silence Records in the U.S. and Golden Antenna Records in Europe.
Listen to the EP, here. Buy Modern Fear direct from the band (“name your price” digital pre-order and exclusive, limited-edition, 180-gram, “coke bottle” clear vinyl), here.
Buy Modern Fear from Science of Silence Records (exclusive, limited-edition, 180-gram, grey vinyl), here.
Buy Modern Fear from Golden Antenna Records (Europe/UK only), here.
New Yorkers, catch Driftoff live at the following shows:
Nov 4 – Brooklyn, NY @ Black Bear w/ + special guest headliner, So Hideous, Edhochuli
Nov 7 – Amityville, NY @ Amityville Music Hall)