Jaws: the Birmingham indie pop trio oozing raw talent that hasn’t been distorted by corporate mega-labels. Despite sticking to their roots, the band have successfully cultivated a dedicated fan base— something that was made apparent by the way they sold out multiple dates, including London and Manchester, on their current UK tour. We sat down with Eddie Geach (drums) and Alex Hudson (guitar) before their show at the Tufnell Park Dome to get an insight in to what they’re all about.
On Record Magazine: We’ll start off nice and easy… could you explain some of the influences behind your most recent album, Simplicity?
Eddy Geach: The old album, really… the influence was to make it sound better than that one! We went a bit heavier with this one, so I was listening to Smashing Pumpkins, you know, bands that you wouldn’t consider to be heavy but kind of are. Grunge-y bands, but like a grunge pop sort of thing.
AH: Ed absolutely loves his metal.
OR: Did you bring anything new to the table in terms of song writing process, studio time, etc.?
AH: We did an actual run through with the producer which made a huge difference, ‘cause with the last album we just did our songs and recorded it how it was. This time we got a producer down to Birmingham, and had a full day of going, “maybe try like this, maybe try like that…”, so we went in to depth a bit more.
EG: We chopped up all the songs and put all the right bits in to the right places before we went in to the studio. A lot of Be Slowly was written logically and Connor [Schofield, vocals] would bring it to practice and we’d just kind of go from there. This time around we wrote it together live as a band, which made it sound so much better— it sounds more natural, more organic.
OR: With so many artists hailing from Birmingham, whether they’re bands you grew up with or ones that are up-and-coming now, what do you think makes Jaws stick out from the crowd?
AH: Sheer luck. We got a bit of speed behind us by just being in the right place at the right time, we’re simply lucky that we caught on to the tail end of it all.
EG: Any band that becomes successful owes an element of it all to luck. I think we weren’t striving to be like a band, which drew attention to us. A lot of these bands coming out of Birmingham, they’ve had an agenda since day one, where we were just going with the flow. It seemed to connect with people. [Laughs] If you don’t try hard, you’ll get somewhere!
AH: We just played what we wanted to play, effectively. That’s why both our albums have a couple of heavy songs on them, because we all like harder music… we’re gonna put it on there because we don’t care what people think.
OR: Some of your peers that you grew up playing shows with have signed to major labels, shipped out to London… are bigger labels something you’ve ever considered or even been courted by?
AH: Well, we’ve had nothing since day one so we just sort of did it on our own!
EG: We’ve had nothing to consider. At the end of the day, it’s all down to them. The industry is in the palm of the major labels’ hands, they’re the dictators… they decide what gets big and what doesn’t. I don’t know if it’s because they think we’re already signed… or maybe they just don’t like us!
OR: You’ve just announced a handful of dates in April— oddly timed, as this is only on the second date of your extensive UK tour. Was there a strategic reason behind adding these extra shows or was it simply just the next step?
AH: We’ve done nothing for a year, and we’ve got a bit of steam behind us because of this current tour so we thought why not get a couple more added next year.
EG: When we put these dates on that we’re doing now, we didn’t know what to expect as far as ticket sales because we’ve been away for a year… and they just started flying out, which was amazing. Our booking agent thought it would be a good idea to add some more for 2017, and they’re a bit bigger venues so I think that’s why he wants to put it on now; give it more time to sell tickets. If London likes what they see tonight, hopefully they’ll buy a couple!
OR: You’ve just been announced for Live At Leeds, which is around the same time. Are there any bands on the line-up you’re excited to see?
AH: There’s loads of bands on there we know, like The Magic Gang and Superfood.
EG: We’ll go see our mates’ bands, for sure. I wanna see White Lies, just because I’ve never seen them and I’ve heard they’re really good live. Your standard bands, Slaves and all that… just great bands that we love watching live. Whether we’ll have time or not…
AH: Watch us clash with Slaves and nobody turns up. We’ve clashed with Elton John in the past… who else have we clashed with?
EG: Fat Boy Slim!
AH: Yep, and Major Lazer at Bestival. We’re just the king of clashes. Even yesterday when we were in Bristol, Gengahr were in town as well and they’ve obviously got a similar kind of following to us. What’s the odds of happening, honestly!
OR: You’ve got a fairly active social media presence— how do you feel the internet has impacted you, and is it positively or negatively?
EG: It’s literally how we measure everything. Connor is the king of social media. He’s always on his laptop and phone simultaneously. He knows how to do it… better that I do, anyway!
AH: We broke from social media, to be honest. We posted a couple of tracks on SoundCloud and it just sort of went from there.
EG: That’s the world now. It’s how everybody networks. I mean, in the 70’s it was about sending your tape to a record label and that’s how you got big but it’s just not like that anymore. A lot of bands moan about how much the industry has changed but you can’t get angry at it… it’s just the way it is. If you want to be in a successful band, you’ve got to come to terms with social media being king.
AH: So many bands say stuff they shouldn’t say or put a song up on social media that they shouldn’t. It’s like, a shady live recording that just sounds awful…
OR: At least it’s not dick pics.
AH: Who did that?!
OR: I’m not naming names, but a band member or two have got in trouble for posting… exposing pictures to their band accounts by accident.
AH: [To Eddy] Don’t piss me off this tour, mate, ‘cause I’ve got some of yours…
OR: What would you say the next step for Jaws?
AH: Delete all dick pics… nah, just take it as it comes, that’s all we can do.
EG: We’ll smash this tour… hopefully sell April’s shows really well. We all work outside of Jaws so there’s not a lot of time to do anything else… we’ve got some songs in the bag, new material. We’re still writing, always writing… after April there’s festival season, so hopefully we’ll get some nice offers.
OR: Last question! Off the top of your head, what’s your favourite album of 2016?
AH: New Bruno Mars… I’m not joking, it’s a wicked album.
EG: Let me look at my Spotify… Eagles Of Death Metal. I love that album. I don’t like the band as people but I love their music.
AH: New Radiohead.
EG: The new The 1975 album, Skepta’s new album, Laura Mvula’s… I listened to a bit of her album and she’s well cool. She’s from Birmingham as well!
OR: Thank you very much!