“GREAT VIBES”: IN CONVERSATION WITH JAWS
Great vibes. That’s what JAWS seem to be channeling right now, enjoying their festival slots, hyping up their fast-selling winter tour and teasing new music that’s on the horizon. Hailing from Birmingham, the indie-rock trio are now frontrunners of their native ‘b-town’ scene alongside musical peers like Peace and Swim Deep. After a steady surge of duo-track EP’s the boys released their debut album Be Slowly in 2014, a shadowy wave of dreamy indie hits with a rugged edge. They followed it up with their sophomore record Simplicity November last year, a strong surge of power and energy to their sound-force. The b-town rockers have been keeping busy on the live circuit this year, with a UK tour back in April, a scatter of city shows with friends, and a steady run of UK festivals including Y NOT, TRUCK & Neighbourhood. Their next UK tour is about to kick off, and they seem excited to do it all over again (The Crescent, York, is on the bill in late November).
“WE’RE ALL DIVERSE CHARACTERS WITH DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS”
JAWS are a band with a consistency in sound but nuance in genre, so I was interested to hear about the origin of these genre diversities and how these songs come about.
“WE’RE ALL DAYDREAMERS”
During their run of shows I was able to pose them some questions – highlighting their first and second albums, the song-writing process, touring and more:
Q1: How would you say Simplicity differs to your debut record, Be Slowly?
The first thing is that we spent a lot more time fine tuning this before we even considered recording any of the songs. We wrote A LOT of songs and worked hard on them all but the best ones made themselves obvious. It was actually quite an easy choice selecting the songs for the album.
Q2: In terms of sound, Simplicity is quite diverse. The record features elements of Dreampop, Indie-rock and even Grunge. What do you think inspires this diversity in sound?
We’re all diverse characters with diverse backgrounds in music and upbringings. I mean we don’t sit in the practice and room and decide to make things a bit heavier or a bit prettier. It’s just how it happens, it’s just four different people jamming in a room.
Q3: There are numerous songs on the record with shared lyrical themes such as inner-conflict and romantic desire. Would you say that thematic cohesion within your records is intentional or do you tend to go with the flow?
I like to go with the flow. With Simplicity there were some real experiences rather than just 100% escapism themes, which is probably why I have more of a connection with it than I do with Be Slowly.
Q4: Your track ‘A Brief Escape From Life’ presents ideas of escape, of getting away from your current state or situation. The drive to escape is also a major lyrical theme on your first record. Could you talk a bit about this theme?
We’re all daydreamers. That song in particular is just about letting your mind run away when you’re thinking about somebody you like.
Q5: Does your song-writing process follow a particular pattern or does it vary from song-to-song?
Varies from song to song. Some songs I write in my room on my guitar, some songs we do in the practice room and some songs I’ll write and record the whole thing and send it to everyone and work on it from there. Yeah, always different.
Q6: Songs like ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’ and ‘Right In Front Of Me’ have some really exciting, energetic instrumentals that are great for live performances. How do you know when a song has the potential to succeed live?
I think when we enjoy playing it, that comes across live and works really well. a lot of the songs from Be Slowly didn’t cut it live so we really wanted to make sure with this record that everything worked really well live.
Q7: On the topic of live shows, you guys have been keeping busy this year, with a run of shows back in April and numerous festival appearances this summer. How’ve the shows been so far?
Amazing. We don’t get to play that much these days, we’re all doing our own thing but I guess that means that when we do play we’re more excited, the people coming to see us are more excited and it’s just generally an all-round great time.
Q8: You also have a UK tour coming up in November. How’re you feeling about that one?
We really can’t wait! We don’t really have anything new to play but it’s kind of the end of the Simplicity cycle so will be lots of fun!
Q9: Do you feel you gain a lot from being on the road? Does it inspire a lot of learning and/or creativity?
Oh 100% – you get back from a tour and you’re just full to the brim with ideas. I always have a little writing spree after a tour.
Q10: You mentioned on social media back in May that you were heading off to write some new material. Could you give us any hints as to how it’s going and/or what we can expect?
Their November/Dec tour is on the way, and tickets can be found here.