Sound Of Violence Talk To JPL's Andrew & Jamie About 'Backlash Cop'
You haven't released a new record since 2003, what have you been up to since that time ?
AF - Life – programming drum machines, learning how to rap my friend!
JB - I have been learning to speak French badly, put on about half a stone and started to collect hats.
I guess you had to find new jobs to earn money, wasn't it strange to go back to normal life ?
AF - For the last eight years, I have always had jobs that I’ve picked up and put down, we've paid for all our tours by working in between. It’s just a matter of getting on with it.
JB - Jetplane life has always been normal life. We have never made enough money out of the band to live off of the profits alone.
You gradually built a strong fan base over the past few years, don't you fear that most of it might have forgotten about JPL ?
JB - Fear, never. I think that most people that are into Jetplane aren’t that fickle, they are true connoisseurs of music and will not be tempted away by other, inferior bands.
AF - Our fans have a distinct disadvantage in that I know most of them personally. It doesn’t take long to track people down with Google these days. Like spurned jealous lovers, we’d wait outside their house in our hire van waiting for them to take us back.
You were well-known as a great live band which toured for weeks or even months, didn't you miss playing live over the last couple of years ?
JB - Whenever Jetplane played live, if we were any good, it came out of the fact that people could tell there was a reality to our show on that particular night. That is to say, we can’t fake it. When we did all those shows it was the right thing for the band to do and that’s why most of them worked. When we stopped playing for a while that was the right thing to do then. The Spanish have a word for it ‘duende’ and if the ‘duende’ isn’t happening then it’s time to take a break.
AF - All of the energy that we normally conjure live has been injected into the takes on ‘Backlash Cop’ – it sounds like a band on full power.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you've announced live dates so far, do you already have plans for that?
JB - I think we want to get the new record out first and see what people think of it.
You've never toured in Europe so far, is it one of your regrets as a band ?
JB - Very much so. We almost made it once but we didn’t have the money. Hopefully it will happen one day.
AF - We’d love that to happen, our label Smalltown is quite small so raising cash is difficult; if we sell lots of this record, touring in Europe will be a lot easier.
Your new record will be released in June on Smalltown America, your own record label. Do you think it's definitely the best way of releasing your music?
JB - It’s the best way that we have found so far.
AF - It’s the only way that we can do exactly what we want to do.
Have you ever thought of signing on another record label ? What if a major record label knocked on your door and offered something ?
JB - We nearly signed to Southern Records early on but we couldn’t work it out at the time. As for the major label thing, that’s a really hypothetical question - no major is ever going to want to work with us! So I will answers your question hypothetically: yes we would sign to a major label; then we would take it over from the inside; sell off all the assets of the label, including fixtures and fittings; give the money we made to struggling French bands; burn down their offices and go on the run in Brazil.
This is only my opinion, but after a few listens of this record, it seems to be influenced a lot by American culture or music. Am I right ?
JB - We always have been more into American music than European/UK stuff. We just don’t rate that Mersey Beat.
AF - There are some really good English things happening, I think Americans don't give a fuck though and will have ostentatious arrangements, maybe the UK cannon of songwriting is a little safer. JPL doesn't really like safe.
I can even sense some kind of disco/funk feeling in some of the songs, how did you come to this?
JB - Not so much disco, disco sucks. But yes we do listen to funk music. It is the music of life and can bring you onto a dance floor like a six tonne boogie-magnet.
AF - There has been several years of research into making the album – lots of hunting for records, lots of drum programming, lots of choppy chord changes.
Where did you get your influences for this record ?
JB - Loads of places. It’s a real mix up of things. Too many to say, boxers, 70’s one hit wonders, dare-devils, black poets, all sorts.
AF - Q-Tip, Minutemen, Rufus Thomas, The Fall, Guestlove, The Meters, Public Enemy all the usual places.
Lyrics have always been very important for your music, so what are the main subjects of these new songs ?
AF - The first album is all about love, the second is about death; this album is about life and how people choose to live it.
You've always been politically involved in your songs, so what are the main problems at the opinion?
JB - This time around we are more into ‘the politics of dancing, the politics of ooh, feeling good.’
AF - And make no mistake we’re in the business of selling records, political in itself. We really want to make this DIY thing work for us.
In your opinion, how is this new record different from your older ones ?
JB - It’s easier to dance to. The band sounds better on it. The concepts are stronger. It’s madder.
AF - I think it’s a lot less self conscious, for one, I’m singing in my native Irish accent instead of the weird hybrid I used when I was younger.
What does the title Backlash Cop mean to you ?
JB - It means coming back and laying down the law.
AF - It means taking no prisoners – leave no survivors - stepping out of the comfort zone.
Almost eight years after the start of JPL, what would your assessment be ?
JB - We haven’t conquered the world but we have made three albums that I am very proud of.
AF - We have changed our own lives for the better artistically and we’ve met some wonderful people.
Do you have some more objectives to achieve ?
JB - Just to make more albums, hopefully another next year.
AF - We want to keep exploring the funk and hip-hop thing, bigger beats, weirder rapping, better scorching solos – I hope that we can start to feature some indigenous Irish instruments as well.
Internet has changed a lot over the past few years, with peer to peer or Myspace being developed gradually. What's your opinion about this new world as a musician ? (releasing stuff for free, records being leaked...)
JB - For a band like us, who don’t get wall to wall radio or MTV rotation, word of mouth and downloading is one of our best forms of advertising. Without it lots of people wouldn’t hear our music, and not many people go out and buy a record of a band they haven’t heard. I would say that if you download our record, love it, can afford to go out and buy it but if you don’t, then you’re an asshole because you’re killing the wrong type of band. Do that to the Artic Monkey’s - they can afford it.
AF - The internet is the single most important thing to a band like us, it’s the connective tissue between us and the people that are into our little niche. It’s sad that we can’t tour every city in the world and play to all the kids that perhaps can’t afford to be on the internet every day – but know this, Jetplane Landing are always here for you. Write us a letter, sing us a song, send us a picture and we’ll always reciprocate. We love you.
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