In Conversation With: Jaws

Before seeing the band live at The Brudenell in Leeds, we were lucky enough to get backstage with them to ask the four-piece indie band Jaws some questions about their new EP release and tour so far. Here’s what we found out during the first interview of the tour…..

So, it’s your penultimate tour date… How’s the tour gone so far? Any stand out moments?

It’s just been good. Pretty boring answer, but it’s been good. London and Birmingham have been pretty special. We haven’t been back here since our first ever tour with Swim Deep, so that’s pretty cool.

When were you last in Leeds?
The last time we played in this venue was 10 years ago. But the last time we played Leeds was when we played Live at Leeds. That was great fun.

So you’ve had a 4 year gap since playing. What have you been doing?

COVID was a big part of it. And then just life. The gaps we have in between are just a bit longer these days because we all work still and have stuff going on. As well as getting older… the gaps in between releases in songs are just a bit bigger now. Because when we first started, we practised every week around Connor’s. But we were kids then, you know? So, naturally life, you have to work around it. And sometimes these things just take more time to create when you don’t have as much time.

Just before our world changed: The Wardrobe November 2019

The process has been different this time when creating the EP. What’s different about it?
Well, we’ve produced it ourselves, so it’s just totally different. Normally we go into a studio with a producer and you do two weeks, three weeks away. This time round it was every couple of weekends we’d go down to Connor’s studio in London and we’d bang a few songs out. But usually it’s someone else that you’ve only just met for the first time, telling you what to do and how to do it for two weeks, in regards to your songs. And then you go away and you get an email with the tracks and that’s it really. But, like, we were our own boss in this. Connor was in the driving seat, but it was doing it off our own thoughts of what we should do next. We had a lot more control over it basically.

Have you enjoyed it more then? Is that the plan for the future?

Oh yeah way more and yeah I hope so.

What inspired the EP ‘If It Wasn’t For My Friends, Things Could Be Different’?

I think we maybe just hit a point of, ‘what are we doing next?’ When you’re making an album you just know, the songs are just of a different quality. And I think we just had songs that didn’t necessarily go together but we felt like we wanted to still release them and they just fit together nicely. Something like that. We just didn’t really know what we were doing next. We didn’t overplan it. You can ruin it a bit then. We just kind of went with the flow of it. It didn’t feel right to do an album at that point. And before we went in to start working on this EP, we had a completely different set of songs that we had in our mind that we were going to do. And we’ve come out of the other end with a completely new track list. Which I was half expecting and I’m glad it happened. Because I’m well happy with these songs.

So you just had more creative freedom in every sense really?
Absolutely. How we normally write anyway is, I’ll write a demo and send it to these guys then we will work on it when we’re in the room together. So when we do eventually get to a stage where we can record drums or bass, we can book a studio for a day and we can just bang it out. Then I can take that back to the studio and build on top of that. We’re in a position now where we will have 10 songs and we don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on an allotted time. Whereas now we can take our time and make sure it’s good and not rushed. Which is good. A lot of faff though. I faff over everything so it took me a long time to finish these songs.

Are you a bit more of a perfectionist with it then, now you’ve had more control over it?
It’s not perfectionism, it’s like doubt. Because one day you’ll be like ‘fcking hell, it sounds mint.’ Then the next day you’ll have been listening to something else and think ‘this sounds nothing like that… so this must be sht.’ Then the next day you’re like ‘na this is fcking sick.’ And you’re just back and forward with it.

I can imagine having more control over it is good, but maybe you can have too much control where you’re going backwards and forwards?
Yes, so we didn’t mix it for that reason. We let someone else mix it. They did a great job and I’m glad I didn’t have to do that or else it probably still wouldn’t be out; we wouldn’t be doing these shows. You can also get another person’s opinion on it like that as well. Even if it’s just ‘yeah what you’ve done is fine.’

I get a bit of nostalgia when I listen to your music. Is there anything that gives you that feeling or takes you back to a core memory?
Just visiting here has done it for me. Coming back to old venues on tour that we’ve done way back in the day. That’s straight up nostalgic. Sometimes we play a venue and there’s still techs there that are still in the game who remember doing our shows 10 years ago and they will come and say hello. Or they’ve specifically asked to work our show because they want to do it again. That’s nice. It’s nice to talk to those people because the shows would be fcked without those guys.

Obviously playing our old stuff as well, we were doing ‘Stay In’ for our soundcheck earlier, and I did think ‘we have been playing this a long time now.’ [laughter] It’s the people really. When you bump into old faces and stuff like that. Do you know what’s making me feel old though? It’s the people who have been coming up to me on this tour and going ‘oh I’m so happy you’re back.’ I’m kind of like… I don’t feel like I’ve been anywhere. I think people think we all just live in a room together and when we’re not doing a tour, we’re planning the next one. But these things take time.

What does the future look like?
We don’t really have anything planned. We don’t plan it. We plan as we go along. Much to other people’s annoyance I think. I think people who work with us would prefer we have a plan but we just don’t do it that way. We just do stuff when it feels right. We have songs in the back catalogue that we might bring out, or we might not ever. We all love playing music and I’ve written a lot recently so we will just see what comes of it… but who knows?

The Leeds Living team doesn’t know, but we have a pretty good idea whatever comes out of it will be worth listening to and, better still, seeing it performed.

Photography by Patrycja Mariarz.

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