STA is now Ten Years Old

We Want The Airwaves Back Interviews Andrew And Jamie On Jetplane Landing

"Cahir has been working on a very sexy little club track called "Jackhammer"..." - Jamie

The phenomenal Jetplane Landing are one of Britain's hardest working bands, as well as being one of the most hard rockin' and just generally amazing. I had the chance to e-harass their incredibly smart and handsome vocalist/guitarist Mr Andrew Ferris and their equally incredibly smart and handsome bassist/vocalist Jamie Burchell. Here are the disastrous and embarassing results.

Disastrous and embarassing for me I mean.


Question The First:
First off, could one of you fine gentlemen give me any information you have on your new album - possible tracklisting, album name, possible cover artist, possible artists you cover on the record (such as Bon Jovi), or if you've decided to take a markedly different musical direction this time around for number three.

Jamie: I am afraid that I can't give away that name of the album yet, but we do have a title that we are working under at the moment, we are all sworn to secrecy and if one of us breaks the pact they can be punished by death or being chucked out the band or both. As for track listing, we never decide that until after the record is recorded. At this stage we are still just demoing tracks. There will be no covers on our album as usual. And as for direction, our third album will be as different from our second album as our second was from our first. I'm sorry if this all sounds very undercover cop but for now that's the way. It's comfortable working.

Andrew: All I can really say about this record is that our collective hope is that it doesn't sound like anything you've ever heard before! I'm excited about creating these songs - we all are.


Question The Second:
For an unsigned band, you guys seem to get a hell of a lot more done (especially in terms of touring, which seems to take up more of your time than sleeping does) than so-called major label spooners like Avenged Sevenfold who are, quite frankly, dire. Do you ever regret the decision to not sell your souls to corporate America for a taste of the sweet, sweet benjamins/dollahz/moneymoney? And if not, what remains your motivation for remaining so stoic in terms of this issue?

Jamie: Unsigned band? We release our records on our label Smalltown America, which is as real and functioning a label as many a small indie. But that's something that has come up over and over since we started the band. People do think that our position is that we are an unsigned band and that being unsigned, in their minds, means being a bit amateur. Lots of bands get signed to major and indie labels every year and never even get to release records. To me, these days, releasing records should be more of a touchstone for people as to whether a band should be regarded as worthwhile or relevant, and this can be achieved in so many different ways other than the old fashioned vision of getting an A&R man to like your demo and sign you up. The only thing that gets me down about our position is that as a band we can go and play all over the UK and get a reasonable crowd in front of us, where some of these so-called signed bands play whole tours losing money every night because nobody is there, yet they still appear to be doing well because their label can afford big press campaigns or to put pressure on festivals bookers for slots and on radio stations for plays. We just have to keep our heads down and keep on working and hope that in the long grass people will see the wood from the Formica.

Andrew: We don't really hold with the notion of being 'unsigned' it's kind of a dirty word round here! We're very proud of Smalltown America and the records that we've released on there. I don't regret moving our band onto a major in the early days, it really would have coloured our work up to this point. I love our first couple of albums, they're completely us - no middlemen. All that said, Jamie and I have always answered every business enquiry we receive equally. That's the sort of people we are - we keep our options open. Our motivation for continuing to work the way we do is simply because the fruits of working within our own little world are so satisfying.


Question The Third:
Speaking of labels, for anyone that isn't aware of the fine Smalltown America records, could you please give a brief introduction to the self-funded and rapidly expanding label you guys set up a few years ago in order to expose fresh, juicy, and rare talent?

Andrew:
Smalltown America is an independent record label based in London. Our aim is to cultivate a self-sustainable business model through which artists can release the best records they can possibly produce. To date, we have released music by over 100 artists in various forms. We listen to everything that comes through the door: 58 Casterbridge Road, London, SE3 9AQ. Please tell your friends to get their new music to us! There is no A&R policy, there isn't really any agenda other than getting good music heard. It's not an anti-corporate label by any means, we're just trying to do our little bit to document some of the great music that's released every week all round the world. Lots more information on our projects can be found on the website smalltownamerica.co.uk


Question The Fourth:
Could I also trouble you both for three bands each (either Smalltown's or otherwise) who you feel are deserving of more attention these days but, gosh darn it, just plain don't get it?

Jamie: Distophia, Fickle Public - who's debut album should come out on STA later this year. and as always Les Savy Fav, if Bloc Party can appear on the main stage of Glastonbury then Les Savy Fav should be headlining the whole damn thing.

Andrew: We Versus The Shark (US), The Young Playthings (UK), Thee More Shallows (UK), Boom In The Diamond Industry (UK), Dragonflies Draw Flame (UK), Oppenheimer (Ireland), An Emergency (UK) are some of my favourites at the moment. We're very lucky at the office, because we get sent so much good stuff - it's really inspiring. A lot of the artists Jamie and I have mentioned will be appearing on our next label compilation Public Service Broadcast #7 which is released on September 19th, 2005. Only 5 English Sheets!


Question The Fifth:
What is up with Cahir's little clubbing side project thing? That one track was awesome. Can we expect him to be hooking up with my boy Pharrell for some mad Justin Timberlake style collaborations in the future? Or is this one way of passing time in the studio that will never again see the light of day?

Jamie:
Cahir has been working on a very sexy little club track called "Jackhammer", it's got hit written all over it, if it doesn't get banned for being just far too hot to handle by the squares at radio.

Andrew: I haven't heard it yet but any song with the word 'lingerie' in it has to be a good one.


Question The Sixth:
Andrew, in terms of your solo shows, what can an audience expect? For anyone that bought the "There Is No Real Courage Without Real Danger" single, there are several little teasers, but do you play exclusively acoustic JPL stuff, or do you like to mix it up with, say, a cover of a Bon Jovi song ("Dead Or Alive" is a good example of such a song)?

Andrew:
I do play some covers when I do the acoustic gigs, I have been known to do anything from Fugazi to Lisa Loeb. However, it's mainly older Jetplane Landing songs that are played, which is nice for me to do. Plunder the back catalogue!


Question The Seventh:
Going back to the new album, I've noticed the progression from "Zero For Conduct" to "Once Like A Spark" is quite dramatic: from delicate ballads and up-beat rock-pop songs to balls-to-the-wall straight up rock, with a hardcore twist. You guys sure got angry in between the two. Personally, I think that made for a more empowering and passionate record experience, but is there such a contrast between album number tres and album dos?

Jamie: We will be changing again. What's the point of making the same records over and over again, becoming slightly better at doing it (Coldplay I am looking at you!) and not trying to make something new? I feel even making the effort to do something different is better than getting stuck in a groove. I means that as a band you will never really know what you're going to get with Jetplane Landing, but if you don't like that then there's plenty of other bands out there who make five very similar albums, with increasing budgets, and then split up.

Andrew: I think it's in our nature to try and push things as far as we can. There are so many bands making such brave records (Like 'Ruin Everything!' by We Versus The Shark, or 'Love In The Fascist Brothel' by Plot to Blow Up The Eiffel Tower) that it makes us want to work that much harder. I'm really glad that you think the second record has lots of power, it was a potent time - a close friend had died and the record was about seizing opportunity. The first record was about becoming aware of your surroundings and realising that your actions have big effects on those close to you. I'd like to think that a good album reflects how you feel at that moment, documenting your emotion. Our next record will be that again - my emotion at the moment…?
I WANT TO RIP THE FUCKING STAGE APART.


Question The Eighth:
Speaking of the words "dos" and "tres", why do you Mr Ferris occasionally lapse into what appears to be either Spanish or Portuguese in some of the songs on "Once Like A Spark"? It makes me feel like like I am inadequate knowing only half a language myself, but at the same time thrills me with the prospect of telling my friends I understand what they mean.

Andrew: Pretentious..? Moi? I have a friend at work called Sammy who speaks Arabic and French, I grew really fond of him when we were making 'Once Like A Spark' and one day when writing words for a track ('Strength Of Our Conviction') I thought 'I'll get Sammy to translate this verse into French - since I'm just trying to say the same thing twice anyhow!' He wrote those words out for me and they ended up on the record. On other occasions Spanish sounds better than the English equivalent. There might be a bit of Irish on the next album. I like doing it, I just like how words sound sometimes. My favourite English word is 'Liaison' and my favourite Irish word is 'Aoibhneas' (pronounced eve-nyass) it means beauty. There is a Jetplane Biscuit in it for anyone that can identify all the languages used on the next album.


Question The Ninth:
This is quite an annoying question, but just to set the record straight, do you, Jetplane Landing, consider yourselves as socio-political commentators, inasmuch as you can consider yourself a "political" rock band?

Jamie: As a person I am interested in politics but I don't consider the band as being a political entity. Sometimes, we might say something in our lyrics that sounds political but I think it's more a reflection of our lives, that is to say that when we make records what else are we going to write about than the things that are in our hearts and minds at that time? But if I really wanted to be, as you say a socio-political commentator, I wouldn't choose a rock band as my vehicle to do it.

Andrew: Personally, I don't feel educated enough in political matters to lambaste any salient viewpoint. There are too many smart people out there that could debate me into the ground. I'm passionate about people and that comes out in our shows. At the end of the night, we just want people to leave happy, if we provoke any thoughts in between your dancing like a crazy fool, well then that's great too.


Question The Final:
If you were a vegetable or fruit, which would you be?

Jamie: A Plum.

Andrew: A Red Onion.


- Mark, We Want The Airwaves Back