JPL's Jamie And Andrew Talk To Suicidal Trash Magazine

Jamie and Andrew talk about how they formed, the new record and their views on everything form Pop Idol to the Iraq war...

Who is in Jetplane Landing and what do you do?
Andrew: Andrew Ferris (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Jamie Burchell (Bass/Vocals), Cahir O’Doherty (Guitar/Vocals) and Raife Burchell (Drums).

How did you all meet and come to form Jetplane Landing together?
Andrew: I met Jamie about 4 years ago at an audition in London. The band I was in at the time - Cuckoo (which was signed to Geffen) needed a bass player. Jamie won! We then played together for about a year in that band. Cuckoo broke up, and quickly afterward I moved to London. We then started writing material and decided to record the songs. Raife is Jamie's brother so I guess they kinda met 'organically'.
Jamie: We asked my brother Raife to play drums on our songs - these would become our album 'Zero For Conduct', we recorded it ourselves in my parents' garage. then we thought we'd have to play some gigs so we asked Raife to play the gigs, we booked a tour and off we went. We played three tours as a three piece but always wanted another guitarist so we asked our good friend Cahir from Clearshot if he'd help us out, he's been playing with us ever since and we are all the better for it.
Andrew: We always intended to be a 4 piece and a 4 piece is nice to play in, I have less guitar work to do now, Cahir carries a lot of the riffs and I can just play and sing, which I feel better at. We have such a lot to learn as a band and a lot more songs to write. but I enjoy this set-up more than I have anything else in my musical career.
How would you describe your type of music?
Jamie: The bottom line is that Jetplane Landing are a punk band, we try to follow a blueprint that the original punk ethic laid down, we have made our own records, we have booked our own shows and been around the country playing a tense set every night and loving every minute of it, meeting so many bands and people that are just out there doing it, because when you get it right it is a worthwhile thing to do with your life.
Who are your influences?
Andrew: Musically - At The Drive-In, Helmet, Soundgarden, JSBX, Fugazi, Shellac, Big Black, Pavement, RATM, ACDC, Robbie Robertson, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. anything substantial with loads of guitars. aesthetically - the DIY movement and underground punk/HC.
Jamie: I would say that up to now the most direct influence on my music has to be my co-writer Andrew (he'll laugh when he reads that). We work together on the songs and that means trusting someone with your ideas, this is probably the hardest thing about making new music, being able to sit there and sing your new idea to someone for the first time and hope they find some merit in it, then trust then enough to help you work it out.
Andrew: The best influence is meeting the people we meet after shows and on tour. Our fans are the best.
Jamie and Andrew used to be in a band called Cuckoo. Is the music of Jetplane Landing similar to that of Cuckoo or totally different?
Jamie: Totally different, Cuckoo were a much more commercial sounding band than Jetplane Landing, Well, the record Cuckoo made was for the almighty Geffen Records, it was made to be played on the radio all around the world, but anyone who likes Jetplane should check it out its called ‘Breathing Lessons’ and makes for a very interesting listen.
Why did Cuckoo Split up?
Jamie: The strange thing is that as far as I know Cuckoo haven’t split up - that is, the conversation ‘lets split up’ has never happened. But I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for the Cuckoo reunion tour 2003.
Andrew: We were a good band - I'd be up for the reunion tour.
As Jetplane Landing, what has been your biggest achievement to date?
Jamie: I think making two records, our first album and EP ‘Els Quatre Gats’ on our own without any kind of record company support but our own label, it takes a lot of good will and good will power to get these things finished and in the shops.
Andrew: Staying together through the fights and pressure has been important for me. We're friends first.
You have your own record label - how did that come about?
Jamie: We started the Smalltown America label to release our album Zero For Conduct . For some strange reason Andrew and I never ever had any intention of releasing the record on any label as we recorded it, so when it was finished we just worked to getting the record released ourselves.
Andrew: It also came from knowing the industry a little before we began, we had the 'heads up' on just how straightforward the music industry can be. Also, we were under no illusions about how much money things would cost, or about how tight profits are in the manufacturing industry. That means that you don't get dissapointed when business is slow.
Are there any other bands signed to it?
Jamie: Not right now, but if you take a look at the Smalltown America site you can read about how the label plans to expand over the next year.
Andrew: 'Signed' would be the incorrect term, but I know what you mean. There are no contracts, as they aren't worth the paper they're written on. If a record company doesn't like your band/music nothing will happen to the record anyway.
If you could play with any other band in the world who would it be and why?
Jamie: Now is that, play in any other band or is that support any band in the world? If I could play in any other band that would be a little spot with Fugazi, if it was support then AC/DC at the Monsters of Rock.
Andrew: I wouldn't mind supporting Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and if I could do guest vocals, it would have to be Rage Against The Machine doing 'Testify' in Mexico City.
Which bands have you most enjoyed playing with?
Jamie: Loads...... whenever you list them you're worried that they might see it and you have left out one of the ones you really liked, so this time I will just say that the tour we did with the lovely Seafood was great fun, we all got on really well.
Andrew: As a night out - I loved playing with Seafood in the Electric Ballroom in London that was very special. We were lucky enough to play reading with Biffy and HIFH that felt special too.
What are the best and worst gigs you have played?
Jamie: I really loved our two gigs last year at the Leeds and Reading festivals. They were great days out. Worst gig = The National Adventure Sports Weekend in Shepton Mallet, we were on after RedHill, Shane Lynch’s new band after Boyzone, it was in this massive field with about 200 people that looked like ants, the wind was blowing and I could only hear some of Raife’s drumming. I think I turned to him halfway through the set and said ‘this is horrible.’
Andrew: The worst show we had I think, was in Falkirk in Scotland - I felt really bad the promoter is lethal and I felt we let him down a bit. Basically, I was shit - I never want to have a gig like that again - I hate letting the band down.
Your next tour is called 'The Tour of Extremities'. Tell us about the idea behind it.
Jamie: We asked people on our website to suggest places we should play, then when we got them all in we looked at the places that bands hardly ever go to and put together a tour in those places, this has led to us being booked for two shows in the Shetlands, which should be great.
Will you be playing any of the summer fesivals?
Jamie: We don’t know yet, I don’t know if Jetplane Landing really fit in with festivals, we played the Witnness festival in Ireland last year and I for one felt slightly uncomfortable having a big sticker with a pint of beer stuck to me and beer adverts everywhere, not that I'm against a pint, it just felt a bit weird being a kind of playing adverts.
Andrew: Festivals serve a purpose for music fans - they are a cheap way to see loads of things quickly. we'll see what happens. I haven't decided yet whether I like them or not.
Which of your lyrics are you most proud of?
Jamie: I really like the lyrics to ‘This Is Not Revolution Rock’ from our album, Andrew wrote most of them, he wrote this huge big stream of lyrics, about 3 times as many as the ones in the song, he brought them in from the studio and left them with me, I sat at the word processor and cut them up and placed most of them in the order of the song now, it just all fell into place very quickly. This is one of the best examples of the two of us working together.
Andrew: I like the line 'while Euphrates ran deep with disquiet' from My Fundamental Flaw. That's a nice sounding line.
What are your favourite quotes?
Jamie: I've just finished this book about the film maker John Cassavetes he said ‘There are no rules. Just get together with good, decent, artistic people value them - because they’re the only ones who will help you.’ I’m carrying that around with me as we start this next record.
Andrew: I can never really remember things like that.
How did your debut album go down with the press? Did you get good reviews or shit ones?
Jamie: The reviews our album got amazed me. there was our little album made in a garage being judged along with these thousand dollar records and in most cases coming off far better. The general reaction to the album was totally positive.
Andrew: It was - which was kind of them.
When will album number two be released?
Andrew: We have started work on the follow up to Zero For Conduct. We have a good few new songs. I don’t know exactly what the record’s going to be like yet but i know one thing, it going to be the most important and exciting release by the band up to now. It will be out next year, hopefully by September 2003.
What can fans expect? How will it differ from your first album?
Jamie: It really is too early in the process to tell. There’s some lighter tuneful stuff knocking about, there’s also a few things that are dead heavy. I think its best not to draw up a hard fast rule of what the record will sound like now as I think that would be a very constricting demand on the writing process.
Andrew: Hopefully it will sound more confident.
What five things could you not live without?
Jamie: 1. The people I love. 2 Food. 3. Water. 4. Art. 5. The hope that the sun will come out eventually.
Andrew: 1. 'In On The Killtaker' by Fugazi 2. Family 3. Conscience 4. Laughing 5. The means to write things down.
If you ever got to meet one of your heroes what would you say to them?
Jamie: If I got to meet Mohammed Ali I would say, ‘your knowledge of another man’s space and movement in the ring was like watching god dance.’ Then I'd repeat it again as he’s a bit slower now.
On your website you try to get your fans involved in as many ways as possible. What do your fans mean to you?
Jamie: It’s the support of these people that drive the band onwards in doubtful moments.
Andrew: They are the reason for being a public band rather than an art project.
What do you think of TV shows such as Pop Idol and Fame Academy?
Jamie: Not a singer amongst them, but I do watch at the beginning of the series to try and catch the truly mental ones.??
Andrew: They're funny and harmless.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Jamie: Not much. At the moment we have to use spare time to work on the new album.
Andrew: We don't do spare time, but I try to exercise.
What are your views on war?
Jamie: War, ugh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Say it again! But old people seem to like it.
Andrew: I think protesting is good - I wish it had more influence.
What is the meaning of life?
Jamie: That’s for Bono to know and us to find out.
What is your advice for anyone thinking of starting a band?
Andrew: If you want to get started and nobody will help you, but you think you're good - make your own record, stick it out there, play it to every fucker. If it is any good you’ll want to make another.
- Mr. Martyn, Suicidal Trash