by Craig Mather.
Jarcrew, one of the only good things to come out of Wales in a long time, appear unfazed by a recent surge of media attention, gained from a long tour with Million Dead recently:
Craig- how did you find the Million Dead tour? There were many reports of extremely well received shows?
Rod Thomas- Well, we were very pleased with how it went, because in fairness we really didn’t know what to expect.
C- when playing Manchester, the band approached the stage and the audience with a confidence seen by bands like At The Drive in, how do you feel being compared to such acts.
Rich Williams- There’s modesty to such music and considering there is also so much power coming from those guys on stage when putting their heart on the line, I think they are fantastic.
The band don’t hesitate to answer questions though are as warm as a friend down the pub, subsequently making for vague answers.
RW- After the Million Dead tour we travelled with Jetplane Landing which was huge deal, really like them.
Compelled by the difference between speaking to the band face to face and seeing them on stage, it makes for a curious question.
C- “Where does your energy come from, because if Joe Bloggs saw you here, now, I’m sure he could hardly imagine your sprawling stage shows if he tried”
RW- “Well, that’s Joe Bloggs isn’t it. Haha”
The band flew to Prague after their dates with Million Dead and Jetplane Landing, and when asked for their reason, unexpectedly the band reply simultaneously
“Cheap as fuck really”
RT- “Very cheap beer, and places to stay. Though there an visible peculiar feel about the city, it sometimes seemed the people didn’t know how to react to foreigners still. There is a lot of pain in their history, and for that reason alone, as morbid as it sounds, the place is exceedingly interesting”
Reaffirming my earliest thoughts, Jarcrew are a band at the moment making the gap between bands who were hilariously dim-witted, and those who are pretentious as they are talented musicians and an earnest glint is very clear.
C- was their any music written whilst out there? From what you’ve said you sounded somewhat inspired.
RW- “ We wrote quite a few songs for the new album, though some of the songs have come to nothing, and have stayed at a stage where it seems they cannot be developed. I think that’s a shame, though we are quite the perfectionists, surprisingly”
C- so none of the new songs will be played tonight then?
RW- “Unfortunately not, what we want to do is hit people with song’s that surprise them. To do that, the next album is going to have to be far more cohesive and to be honest new songs might not fit into tonight’s set very well”
RT- “We want the next album to be amazing. We want people to know that before they even put it in their record player. But not by letting people hear the songs before they are ready”
Bitterly funny, the band seems to want to protect information on the new album without being defensive, which is an evidently hard thing to do. Perennial smiles make the piece, and the band continue talking about new material.
RT- “Our last album was done very quickly, and when performing live we can feel disengaged which is why we try and move forward, make a real stage show of it”
A band that are intent on making new sounds, not all of which have a commercial appeal, one reason people began to come and see Jarcrew, was because of the above “stage show” …now no longer dismissed as a poor mans iggy pop routine.
C- Have you hand picked the support acts for tonight?
“Yes, people In Planes are very cool, I think everybody will like them, they
are very psychedelic, in a sixties, very British sort of way”
fascinated with stealing the show they, Jarcrew seem happy to play with most
bands, as long as they’re good. In saying this, when mentioning whom Jarcrew
themselves would support, a disgruntled band reply.
RW- “Well, funny you should mention that, I was thinking the other day about All Tomorrows parties and about Sonic Youth, and how good it would be to play with them. On the contrary somebody who was musically very different to us would be great to play with too. Spiritualised would be great to play with”
There is a real urgency about the band that is refreshing with so many new bands wanting to merely mimic acts from the seventies and eighties, and whilst that that may sell records, everybody in the room at this point, knows it is not healthy.
Soon after, when discussing their record collections, there is a contradiction between what the band think, say, and perform, this fuelling the bands on stage mystique. Decisions don’t seem to be made consciously though, and the band doesn’t fear saying things that others have warned them not too. Jarcrew are very much their own band, and it will be interesting to observe where the path Kelson, Rod, Rich, Tom and Ben are carving out, leads them.
Interview by : Craig Mather
all pictures (c) Nathan Seabrook / Jarcrew
(c) (p) musicdash 2004