Branded Music Talk To Andrew And Cahir Of JPL
Ok, First of all you are in a band for a reason, what is it you’re hoping to achieve?
Cahir: (laughs) What are we hoping to achieve?
Andrew: I don’t think there is one thing. Every band probably just wants to keep going and keeping going means a variety of things; that number one you’re successful, number two that what you’re doing is good, and number three that people want to hear what you’re playing. The propagation of a band: continuing forward for three, four, five, six years, it’s a career, that’s all we ever want really.
Cahir: We want a job!
Have your ambitions changed at all, since you formed as a band?
Andrew: No actually, we have all been in bands before. Cahir had a very successful band back in Ireland, and I was also in a (reasonably) successful one. I think as we started this band and as we started writing songs, we knew what we wanted to do and we just had to carry that through. That said, things change and people change.
Cahir: There were a lot of surprises, a lot of things we didn’t expect. We just thought we would play in a band, we would write songs, put out records and before we knew it we were doing tours with Biffy and stuff.
Andrew: Yes, every day is a surprise.
You have already played England, Eire, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. But this time in particular you are playing all these countries in the same tour. Do you find that the fans differ? Particularly in Ireland as it is your home?
Cahir: Yes, it’s really weird. In Ireland there is a completely different look on the music scene and on the artists, on how people perceive music. It’s all really, really good. Whereas over here; you have to work harder.
Andrew: I think as well, it’s the fact that Ireland is a land of musicians, I think that is very important. It’s also a land of entertainers. So you get into bands very young, at 14, 15, and 16; so you grow up with the shows being the most important thing. I think we always talk about style coming over content. [Perhaps coming from Ireland] you’re grounded in [a different way] that you have to excel in your songs, putting technique and composition first and everything else comes later.
Cahir: Yeah definitely
Andrew: It’s like when you play back home (Ireland) you have to play for an hour and a half for example, not thirty minutes.
Cahir: So you have to pull out all the ropey covers and stuff that never sees the light of day.
Andrew: Yes, to make sure they get their three quid’s worth!
Andrew: Fine, it’s going great. I’ll be happy when it’s done. I enjoy finishing things. I’m happy with the songs. We’ll be playing lots of new songs tonight. I think the album is sticking together well, and it’s our second record and it’s an important one for us in that it’s our first record as a band really, now that we know what we’re doing. Yeah, it’s good, it has a sound whereas the first one was a bit incongruous, I love it as a record, but I think it [sounded] too much like other people, whereas this record sounds more like us.
Andrew: It would probably be our first single which was "This Is Not Revolution Rock", which is the bands socio-political agenda. [It's] not saying that the music that we make is life-changing, It’s that the people who listen to our music as a community, [have] an opportunity to make change. It’s also about inaction, about not getting on with things. A friend of ours died recently, in December. He killed himself and it sort of informs this whole record that we are making now. "This Is Not Revolution Rock" rings true in that; the time is now. No matter whatever it is you want to do, be it a writer, an artist, a singer, or a mother of three, whatever it is you want to do with your life, seize the day and just get it on with it, because for Martin his time was very short.
Andrew: We don’t use set-lists in that we know generally what songs we will play. Sometimes we write a set list out but it usually changes. We are a very frustrating band to be a fan of because we don’t play the songs that [you] would [necessarily] know. Like on this tour we aren’t playing any songs off the first album, nor are we playing any songs off [our last] EP, as we are constantly trying to move on and constantly trying to get new stuff going. Sometimes people shout songs up at us, and we will play them.
Cahir: I think it’s just that we are one of those bands who write new stuff all the time and we are very eager to get it out there straightaway. So as soon as we write a song, we make loads of effort to get it on the set straight away. Then we can get it out there and see what it’s like. And maybe never play it again!
Andrew: [Even] if we haven’t finished the lyrics, even if we only have a few lines, we’ll play it.
Cahir: You’ll just hear Andrew fumbling around on the mic.
Andrew: I think what it is, is that there is no time. There is no time to fuck about and get things [perfect]. Things will get right somewhere down the line, just get it done and play it
Andrew: (laughs) That’s a good question! I wouldn’t say I was bitter, I would say I have big issues with the word ‘unsigned’. I really don’t think it’s fair that we are classed as second class citizens because we don’t have record deals when we choose not to have them.
[Making] Music isn’t a competition. Music is an art. Music isn't about a social climb in order to gain status, it’s about trying to have fun and I think that is forgotten.
What I’m saying is, I think that to be called 'unsigned' is cruel.
Cahir: I know a lot of people who say, ‘oh you’re in a band, have you signed a deal yet?’ I really want to go off on a rant but I can’t because they don’t understand.
Andrew: I guess through our work we are trying to inform people. We pride ourselves in that our tours are all profitable and that we run our own label, and it’s profitable because we sell five thousand albums. I hope that more bands plough that furrow, but it's hard work. You have to get into a transit van to do a tour, but it’s very, very, very rewarding. There is no feeling like it. We get tremendously flattered every time somebody buys one of our records.
Cahir: It makes it that extra bit special.
Andrew: I think people realise if you’re in a band like that, that is how you pay your way. Someone picks up a record and pays ten pounds and it will probably go into the petrol tank and it will send the band off on their next gig. And that’s really fantastic.
Andrew: They’re just an amazing band
Cahir: Straight away I get on with them purely because of their music, I didn’t know anything about their system of working or their political stance or anything. I just get on with them because their songs kick some ass. They’re an amazing band. Later on, watching the band be self sufficient going on tour, and their beliefs, play what they play, that as well really influenced us guys a lot, we’re like ‘if Fugazi can do it, we can do this’.
Andrew: I was about 15 when I heard 'Steady Diet Of Nothing' and then I started reading about them and started writing to the band. And as a young man I became informed about what it was to be in a healthy band and now we are here talking to you about the same sort of stuff. The main thing about Fugazi is their work ethic, every band's busy and every band does an awful lot but they are, as four people, religious about working all the hours they can. Be it on Fugazi, be it with other bands, be it on production, be it on a small record label and it’s a great example of, whatever you do, whatever you want to do, you don’t get anything unless you just work.
Cahir: Yeah people have got this attitude of ‘oh man that’s just not rock n roll’ well what is rock n roll? It’s just another load of shit made up you know what I mean? People go to work every day, and well, that’s not rock n roll, and that’s what we do, we go to work everyday.
Andrew: I think if you go to see a Fugazi gig you get the real deal.
Andrew: I have got a job, [so] I know what I’d be doing; I [know what I'd like to be doing]. Writing songs really. I could write songs for anyone, I don’t really need to be on stage. I used to help Cahir write songs for his band and I never went on stage with you lot (Cahir’s band) once. Never wanted to, just loved them rocking. I thought yeah this is brilliant. Jamie and I started Jetplane Landing, it was just two fuckers in a garage with a bunch of songs. We thought we’re far too old to be doing this, you know it’s a young mans game. I’d like to just make some tapes and records and stuff just keep doing it.
Cahir: I know what I’d be doing, I’d draw comics or something, you know what I mean? I love comic books so I’d do something like that, make my own comic book or something.
Andrew: Parachuting? Parachuting or something?
Cahir: Dive out of aeroplanes for a living or scuba dive or some shit like that. (laughs)
Andrew: The other day we were thinking about it being a good idea to make a video [with us taking part in] extreme sports. Last night we decided that Jamie would be bull fighting.
Cahir: Completely morally wrong
Andrew: I would walk on hot coals. What were you doing? (Looks at Cahir)
Cahir: Fighting a heavy weight boxer!
Andrew: Was it you or Raife that was going to hold two motorbikes?
Cahir: No, I was going to get two motorbikes on my arms and they pull me from each direction and ‘argh’ (demonstrates for us how he would be stood whilst carrying out this task)
Andrew: That’d be good for three minutes!
Cahir: That could be our next video
Cahir: That’d be good shit!
Andrew: (laughs) Last night I forgot a song completely!
Cahir: It was brilliant! It was hilarious! First song; we’re blazing onto it, it’s all going well, we’re all happy, it’s our first show, we’re like ‘yeah lets do it!’, we’re blazing onto the second chorus and Andrew cuts onto the verse four bars too early! And we all go, ‘what the fuck?’ So we try and go along with him but then he cuts back to the chorus!
Andrew: And so we’re chasing each other for the whole song.
Cahir: And then we’re just watching him
Andrew: And I was thinking at that very moment, maybe I should write a set list!
Cahir: Maybe we should actually write lyrics, that’d be a good idea! But no, it was all quite embarrassing for Mr. Ferris!
Andrew: It was my birthday last night though, so I was let off.
Cahir: I nearly broke my neck when we were on tour. We were loading the van, I was shouting orders like a fool, walking on the kerb and fell on my head, everyone just laughed at me!
Andrew: There’s loads of embarrassing things, they mainly happen to Jamie to be honest!
Cahir: He is definitely the most accident prone!
Andrew: I used to be too. They called me the lummox because I always wreck things.
Cahir: It doesn’t matter what happens! We tape down Andrew’s leads on stage and stuff now because, what ever the fuck he does, I don’t know what it is, he just wrecks the entire stage! Bottles of water everywhere, he’s tangling up leads, pulling amps down, and he’ll just be walking across the stage! The lummox!
How did you celebrate your birthday?
Andrew: To celebrate my birthday, I hadn’t drank in ages, so I had a few drinks which was nice. I mean last year we played a gig at Derby strangely, it was really nice though. We were a three piece then and were a four piece last night. I guess you want to spend your birthday with your friends and so it’s hard for us not to get on together, the band, we’re just all friends and there’s no where else I’d rather be really so…
Andrew: It’s true
Cahir: Andrew is good shit!
Andrew: Raife, what’s your favourite joke? (Raife walks over) I don’t know any jokes. You can’t think of a clean one, can you? Where did u get that? (points to Raife’s Kit-Kat) Fridge?
Raife: Yeah. Did you hear about the Palestinian they found dead in Michael Barrymore’s swimming pool last week? (drum roll!) It was a suicide bummer.
Cahir: Oh Jesus, it’s whack-a-day! Did Timmy Mallet write that?
Andrew: What’s your favourite joke? (looks at Cahir)
Cahir: Oh mine’s the one about the push.
Cahir: The Push!
Andrew: Is it a long one?
Cahir: Oh it’s probably long, probably.
Andrew: Maybe we could email it to them?
Cahir: Aye, we’ll email it to you! ‘The Push’. It’s a proper belter, we’ll email it to you, definitely.*
Andrew: Well, the last time we were here, Raife and Cahir got into a bit of a scrape. I think Raife should pick up this story.
Raife: No, It’s ok, I’ll let Cahir do it.
Cahir: We were here with Seafood last year and after the show Raife and Dave and Kev were playing squash against the wall, don’t know why they had the rackets! But I came out like a wee idiot and put Raife in this cage, you know those ones you put clothes in…
Raife:…We were quite quite drunk!
Cahir: Yeah, we were really really drunk. And Raife was in the cage and I leaped on top of it jumping up and down, and then I started punching it and cracked Raifes rib! But I didn’t know and he was going ‘aaaaarrrrrrr’ (demonstrates to us how exactly Raife was squirming with his broken rib!!!) ‘my side, my side’ but I kept going over and like kicking him in the head and pretending to wrestle him and shit and he got out and hobbled back onto the bus.
Raife: I was in pain because I had cracked my rib!
Cahir: And I kept doing all that (keeps tapping Raife’s head) and touching his hair and fake punching him. I was on the bus and I was still acting a wee jerk and was opening and closing the door going ‘waaaaaaaa’ (don’t ask us we don’t have a clue either!!! But this is the best representation of the noise we could find) and he just went, he opened the door and punched me in the nose!
Raife: It’s all on film this as well!
Cahir: It was a brilliant shot and I just went ‘argh!’
Andrew: It raises a good question; we need to plan a good prank on Mr. Burchell and Adrian! We haven’t got any antics planned for this tour, we need a good prank!
Cahir: The Golden Cowboy was to come on this tour…
Andrew: Cahir’s got this alter ego called ‘The Golden Cowboy’ and basically he wears a gold jacket and a cowboy hat and he sits in the transit van. In a transit van you’re quite high up and he’s got a broom handle and a fake horses head and he can do the action of him riding it.
Cahir: It looks like I’m galloping you know what I mean? Cars driving past and I’m like ‘yee har!’ (tries to lasso something in the distance with an imaginary piece of rope!) and people will just be like, 'what the fuck's going on?'
Andrew: The Golden Cowboy that’s a good antic!
Cahir: The Golden Cowboy is my favourite.
Andrew: Also, he’d put on a different style dance for every day of the tour. We’ve got it on camera!
Cahir: So they’ve got it of me doing a different Michael Jackson style dance everyday, by the end of the tour I think we’re going to put them all on the website, so you can select a dance.
Andrew: Harribo? I don’t know if Harribo make them sweet things. They do, it’s like a chewy fish, pink sort of fish, its chewy…
Cahir: Do they do them sweets, chewing gum but in the middle its strawberry goo? Not Hullabaloo, is it Bubbalicious?
Andrew: No. Do Harribo do sour things?
Andrew: I like sour sweets, I don’t like sweet sweets.
Cahir: Do you remember the strips of ‘whoppers’ you used to get?
Andrew: Cahir, Harribo are like small packets of sweets
Cahir: It doesn’t matter they’re all small sweets. If they’re nice, they’re nice!
Andrew: Whenever I was young you used to get sweets sold in quarters.
Cahir: What, like bon-bons and shit?
Andrew: Yeah, like clove rock and brandy balls.
Cahir: I might go and hunt some bon bons down now!
Andrew: There’s an internet site now and it’s called aquarterof.co.uk and you can order a quarter of sweets. They make them and they send them to you in wee paper bags.
Cahir: Can you?
Andrew: Yes and it’s called www.aquarterof.co.uk
Cahir: I’m going to have to sort that fucking out there; that sounds great! I’ll turn into Homer there! (does Homer Simpson impression with tongue out and sound effects!!!)
*Cahir’s emailed joke:
It’s three o'clock in the morning, there's a really bad storm outside. A knock comes to this guy’s door while he's in bed with his wife. His wife tells him to go and answer it - he puts on his dressing gown and heads downstairs - opens the front door and there's a guy standing there soaking wet.
He says "I'm sorry to disturb you - but you couldn't give me a push, could you?'' - to which the man replies "do you know what bloody time it is! Of course I'm not going to give you a push its three am! Beat it!" and slams the door in the guys face. He goes back upstairs and into bed. His wife asks who it was. He says "oh just some guy looking for a push" - the wife replies "didn't you help him out?" "of course not!" he says.
The wife says "well that’s not very friendly of you, remember last summer when we broke down in the middle of the night and we went to a house and asked for some help and the guy gladly helped us, one good turn deserves another." "I suppose so" says the husband, so he gets up puts on his clothes - grabs his raincoat, heads downstairs, opens the front door. There is thunder and lightening, torrential rain and high wind. The man shouts out the door "Hello, are you still out there?!" To which the stranded man replies "Yes I’m here." "Do you still want that push?"
"Yeah that would be great!"
"Where exactly are you?!"
"Over here on the swings!"
And if you would like to visit the sweet shop and get all your old fashioned sweets like Andrew, here's the link
[abridged from the original transcription]
- Charlie, Branded Music
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