With the sound of choir practice echoing through the thin walls of the backstage of Manchester Academy 3, I met up with Birmingham band JAWS ahead of their gig in Manchester. After already playing dates in Norwich and London on the tour, JAWS were set to play their largest headline date in Manchester to a sold out audience. With the smell of 6 massive Papa John’s takeaway pizzas lingering in the air, we delved straight into the interview.
So first how are you? How are you finding Manchester?
Ed – Love it, done a lot of walking today, it’s a big city.
Jake – It’s nicer than Birmingham, great place.
You’ve done two dates on the tour so far, how have they gone?
Jake – Shocking, but I mean shocking in a good way.
Connor – Shockingly good.
Ed – Yeah they’ve been great.
What’s it like then headlining these bigger venues?
Ed – Well the tour we did with The Enemy in December was in even bigger venues, so that was a good opportunity to see what it would be like to do it on our own. It’s kind of just the routine now of getting here and soundchecking. Everything just sounds a bit different now.
Have you got any new tracks on the go at the moment?
Jake – We just went into the studio and recorded three new tracks that we’ll hopefully do something with, they all sound absolutely amazing.
Ed – We’ve been playing two of the new ones on this tour.
Alex – They’ve been going down really well and people have been guessing lyrics.
Ed – They go mad and they haven’t even heard them before.
What are they sounding like these new songs?
Connor – One sounds like the heavens opening up and the other sounds like falling into hell, that’s the difference between them.
(Live versions of new songs below)
So when you’re writing new material, what’s the method you take? Is it the same way each time or do you approach each track differently?
Connor – It’s always a little bit different each time I guess.
Ed – Connor usually comes up with the base song structure, with the hook and chorus. Then we head to the studio and add our own little flavour to it.
Jake – We just give Ed a shitload of LSD and let him go mad on the drums.
The first time I saw you play live was at Leeds Fest 2013, how do you think you’ve changed as a band since then?
Jake – I think my ego has got bigger…
Connor – In every way possible really because at that point we hadn’t toured properly, so if anything we’ve become better musicians. But generally everything is better and more fine tuned in a way. That’s what you pick up from through touring.
Ed – Even though that was really good gig, I’d love to play it again because I know it would be even better now that we’ve got them two years under our belts.
Alex – I think we’re more professional now. We’re not just trying to play our songs but we’re also doing them justice.
Jake – I just think with every year, every tour and every festival you pick up another piece of experience, it won’t stop. You’ll always be picking up something new that will help you.
Which tracks do you like playing the most as a band?
Jake – None of them I think, our songs are awful.
Ed – I’m enjoying these new songs and Gold always goes off. I get this massive rush of energy that I really need because I’m usually knackered by the end of the set.
What are your overall plans then for 2015? Any big festivals?
Jake – We’ve been announced for Truck Festival, Saint Raymond and Rae Morris are playing.
Ed – Pulled Apart By Horses are there too.
Connor – I guess we’ll be recording, hopefully have a second album or something similar by the end of this year.
Ed – I like to think that when we’re not playing gigs, we’ll be in the studio writing loads of new stuff.
Recently Zane Lowe left Radio 1, do you think this will have a knock on effect on up-and coming bands getting recognised?
Ed – No because they’ve got great DJs like Phil Taggart and Huw Stephens. Out of all the radio DJs, they’ve helped us out the most. Zane did play our song and that was a cool day because if he picks your song then you’re like ‘Oh my god, we must be doing something really right’.
Connor – Also Annie Mac who’s replacing him is a great DJ and she’s played us before, so she’ll do the same job.
Jake – Radio will still go on, bands will still be found but he’ll just have a bigger paycheck.
When new bands start out things can be a bit rough at the beginning, for example you had some of your merch unfortunately stolen last year. So finally do you have any advice for bands who are just starting up?
Jake – Yeah get security guards.
Ed – Get some bodyguards straight away.
Connor – Watch your merch if you’re selling it.
Ed – Also graft, it won’t happen overnight.
Alex – Even if nobody is there to see you and you’re playing to an empty room, don’t see it as a bad show but rather a free practice.
Connor – If you’d rather get fucked then play a good gig then don’t even bother doing the gig, just go and get fucked. There’s just no point doing that at the beginning.
Ed – It would cost twice the amount of money to be in a band and get fucked because you would have to spend your money on gear and drugs. It’s one or the other really. So if you want to do drugs then just don’t start a band is what I’m saying.
Jake – Also if you are going to do a Queen tribute act then stop, don’t even think about it because they are all crap…
Alex – Only he said that…
From there the lads went on to discuss their individual love and hate for Queen. The gig that followed the interview was probably the best live performance from JAWS I have ever seen. They sounded so slick and every member of the crowd loved it. It was pure chaos and it was brilliant. JAWS are simply four best friends having the time of their lives by being able to play their songs to hundreds of adoring fans. Something about the gig marked a real benchmark for the band and, towards the end of the year, JAWS could be getting the full recognition that they deserve.
Thanks again for JAWS for the interview. Come visit my blog next week where there will be an interview with Little Comets.