STA is now Ten Years Old

AU Magazine 'In The Studio' With Jetplane Landing

'Cahir wanted to to call the album, ‘In Bin Laden’s Mountain’ but we went for ‘Backlash Cop’ in the end.'

In The Studio: Jetplane Landing
With Jamie Burchell (Bass) and Andrew Ferris (Vocals)

Where are you recording?
We are in glorious Wood Green, at Southern Studios. The location is a bit of a funny turnaround as Southern Records are the only record company that we ‘almost’ signed to right back at the beginning.  It’s strange how these things work out. It’s a great place; loads of bands have worked here: Shellac, Fugazi, PJ Harvey. The other day Cahir and I were in Tesco Express round the corner from the studio and I asked him, ‘Do you think that Guy Piccato has been in here buying a pack of Chilli McCoys?’ - Cahir doubted it.

How many songs have you got (include working titles)?
Eleven songs and one poem; but I don’t want to tell you all the titles as it will blow the element of surprise you might have when you pick up the record, read the titles and say to yourself, “So that’s what they have been up to for two years.”

Does the album have a title?
Cahir wanted to to call the album, ‘In Bin Laden’s Mountain’ but we went for ‘Backlash Cop’ in the end.

Who is producing the record?
Jamie: Andrew ‘Nightime’ Ferris.

Andrew: We’ve experimented a lot with how we play and tried to break our habits. The band has stepped outside its comfort zone - Raife is playing grooves that we wouldn’t have attempted on ‘Once Like A Spark’ and the lyrics are pushed a lot further into madness.

When will it be released?
Andrew: Spring 2007 – alongside lots of other albums on Smalltown America (every opportunity for a plug) by Oppenheimer, Fickle Public and The Young Playthings.

Is the studio an enjoyable place for Jetplane?

Jamie: I like it. This is the most we have all seen each other in the last two years and the stories and bullshit flying.  No fights as of yet. I just played a take with gaffer tape over my eyes when Raife said he didn’t like the way I was looking at him.  Cahir played the whole of one song in his pants.  We have ways of keeping ourselves happy.

Andrew: It’s taken fifteen years but I’ve learned to relax in the studio. If it not sounding good – it’s probably because the part is shit and needs to be rewritten.

Prior to beginning work in the studio did you have a fair idea of how you wanted this record to sound?

Jamie: Yes.  There’s a very clear concept behind the record.  We made good demos of every song so we knew how they would work.  This is the best prepared we have been. Let’s hope that preparation pays off.

What lyrical concerns and subject matter will you be tackling on this record?

Jamie: Getting stuck on the face of Miles Davis; the state of middleweight boxing in the 80’s; who should be the president; the tragic and fantastic life of D Boon; why do some great records never get played on the radio?; who killed Jimi Hendrix and why?; Black Poets and the everyday existence of a small man in West London.

Are there any recurring themes to this album, a mood perhaps that binds it all together?   

Yes.  It’s about being a black man being trapped in a white man’s body.

Do you feel this album exhibits real progression from your last album?

Jamie: Not really progression, no, it’s just different from our other albums. ‘Zero For Conduct’ was different from, ‘Once Like A Spark’.  I don’t want to be in a band that remakes the same album five times, in slightly better studios, with slightly bigger budgets, until you split up leaving the equivalent of one really long album that’s not as vital as your first single.

Andrew: Making this album in a studio rather than our home setup will make it different sonically and in feel. You can hear the claustrophobia of the garage on ZFC and the madness of working in a living room on OLAS. Playing for someone like Harvey (Birrell – Southern Studios Boss) who has worked on ‘Live At Action Park’ and ‘Pleasuredeath’ has been a real buzz for me and each day the band is laying down strong takes.

‘Once Like A Spark’ was a lot heavier than ‘Zero For Conduct’. Will there be any similar stylistic changes on the new record?

Andrew: When you listen to one of our records I want people to hear how we are feeling at that moment in our lives. This record has been a lot of fun to make and we’ve been really enjoying ourselves in the studio. You can hear that on the tape. I agree with what Jamie said earlier – what’s the point in making the same record over and over again? We keep shifting musically because we’re changing as people and we’ll keep trying different genres until we hit Elizabethan like Sting, then we’ll give up and be happy.

What sort of reaction do you hope to get to the new album?

Jamie: I hope more people buy it.  But I don’t care if they like it as long as they’ve lost their receipt.

Has the band’s approach to songwriting changed over the course of the albums?
Andrew: We’ve broadened our opinion about where songs can come from; in the old days I used to say mental shit like ‘you have to be able to remember the melody the next day, otherwise it’s not good enough’. That’s a load of balls; good stuff happens when you least expect it – you just need to be patient to listen through to all the demos tapes. There was a lot of stuff knocking about from the last couple of years.

Jamie: We write in many different ways, music first, lyrics first, title first, drum beat first, Cahir falling against a guitar and finding the ultimate chord first. It is a process of: chance + hard work + time – ego = track.

Does the process of making albums become easier or more complicated with experience?

Jamie: Neither, it just becomes more familiar.

Harvey: Easier of course. You can make it as complicated or as simple as you want after you know what you’re doing.

Will you be doing extensive touring for the record when it’s finished?

Andrew: We’re proud of the touring we’ve done in the past, we’re moving into new territory on this album musically and the live show will change too. Parliament playing Black Flag songs – that would be a good look.

Jamie: I think the days of the 60 date tours are over. We will leave that for the younger, fitter bands. We are old as fuck!

- David AU, Alternative Ulster