Fireworks Magazine Online 69 - Interview with Jettblack

JETTBLACK

Interview by Sophie Brownlee

Jettblack, the Hard Rockers from High Wycombe, released their latest album 'Disguises' on 6th April, their fourth album since forming in 2007. The four-piece band had a chat to Sophie Brownlee about what's changed since then, their views on Denmark Street, and the inspiration for the new album.


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What is different about your new album, 'Disguises' when compared to your previous two?

Our new album, 'Disguises', is more mature and honest I think. Nearly every song is relevant to something or someone in the real world. Therefore it has more meaning overall.

What sort of things inspired you musically and writing wise with the new album?

Starting out as a guitarist and then becoming a singer, I always approached song-writing from a guitarist point of view. Loads of riffs and solos, then the drums and bass locked around them and then finally try and squeeze the vocals into any space left! This time round we made a conscious effort to let the vocals lead the way rather than the other way round. Inspiration came from everywhere and everyone!

How did you go about the song-writing and production process? Have you attempted anything different this time to the way you have approached things previously?

For this album we had a real "hands on" producer who took us through a couple of weeks of pre-production. We picked some songs apart, refined a few and created brand new choruses for others. It was really good to have a fresh outsider's view to inject new ideas into the songs. Production wise we went for less frills and glitter and more of an honest straight up, raw in your face sound. One that we feel represents our live sound better.

If you had to select or highlight one particular track for existing or potentially new fans from your new album, what one would it be?

The track 'Poison Rain' on the new album is a great highlight for us! It has a lot of different sections and sounds and a wicked middle rhythmic percussive part! There was no effort to tame that song or adhere to a formula. We just let it go where it felt right.

From the whole process of the album, from conception, writing, recording to completion, what moments stand out most to you from both a highlight and, if there were any, low-point perspective?

A big part of the whole process for us was our Pledge Music campaign. We couldn't of even contemplated recording, because of the costs involved, without the support of our fans. When we fulfilled our target it was a great feeling. Knowing we had/have amazing and loyal fans gave us real confidence to crack on with the album. We're very thankful to them. The Pledge campaign was a huge emotional roller coaster, so I'd say it encompasses the lows and highs of the album creation!

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The artwork seems quite minimalist – any particular ideas behind the design and what prompted you to take that approach?

The album being called 'Disguises' meant we wanted something a little cryptic for the artwork. The front cover is quite simple but there's a wealth of colour and imagery inside the album. Almost like the beast is disguised within a calm exterior. Plus we like the new logo so we wanted it big and bold on the front, ha-ha!

You played a launch party recently on Denmark Street – what do you think of the 'Death Of Denmark Street' (Guardian newspaper phrase) and the closure of high-profile music venues like the 12 Bar and Enterprise Studios?

London is such a compacted and condensed area, things are bound to change. It is a shame about 12 Bar. It's more about the area rather than one single shop or venue though. The demand for live music is high, and people will come and squeeze into any venue they can!

What are your summer plans?

Summer plans are to play as many festivals as we can! Then hopefully secure a great support slot at the beginning of autumn and then a headline tour early in winter. We want to play to as many new and old faces as possible!

What's it like being on tour with Jettblack and what do you enjoy the most and look forward to the least?

Being on tour with Jettblack is like one big party! Laughing, drinking, in jokes, snoring, banter, adventures...it all quickly become a way of life and the rest of the world dissolves away! Then on top of all that there's the shows that are the icing on the cake, ha-ha! The only real negative is the day after the last show when you wake up and reality comes rushing in.

Anything happen on any tour recently that you are happy to share with our readers; be it amusing, interesting or simply unusual?

We got pulled over on the motorway for being nearly a ton overweight! We were on route to the London show, which is always the important industry show, so nerves are high, and got escorted to a weight bridge by the police. We had a nail biting wait and a hefty fine but made the gig, just! Sharing a stage with Papa Roach was pretty amazing. We played a couple of shows with them in Europe and the venues were big and loud! We'd love to tour with Mastodon or Rammstein, although I'm not sure we'd be able to compete with their stage show, ha-ha!

You formed back in 2007 – what's been hardest about being a band since then and what has been your biggest highlight?

It's not really been hard as such, being the same four guys in a band for so long. We all get along swimmingly, ha-ha! No...there's been tiffs, disciplinary emails and scuffles but we're past the point of falling out with each other now. Our highlight is now! We're still together and releasing an amazing third album!

Has it changed for you much as a band during that time and what is the one biggest factor that has changed if it has?

I guess the biggest change has been the Internet and Facebook. Even in our lifetimes, it's exploded! We started off photocopying homemade gig fliers down the local post office and trekking around towns and neighbourhoods pestering people. Now we can post a status on Facebook and our fans know instantly! It is a worry that Facebook has so much sway but who knows, one day we might be back to pen and paper!

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