Sunday, September 13, 2009

EXCLUSIVE! We Were Promised Jetpacks INTV

Every school kid in a band dreams of rock stardom. Few achieve it and most crash and burn before even playing their first gig. For Scotland's We Were Promised Jetpacks, they are one of the lucky few that have gone from playing the school yard gigs to the big stages and are ready to fly into more. A young band from Glasgow, We Were Promised Jetpacks made an impact on the indie scene in the US this past spring at the annual South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin. Soon after their barnstorming performance, bloggers, critics and new fans started paying attention. The band's debut These Four Walls was released this past summer and as the band wraps a UK tour now and heads back to the US this fall, I had the chance to speak to singer
Adam Thompson. Adam and I discussed the band's music, influences, being from Scotland and who actually promised these lads Jetpacks...Take a look at my interview with Adam below..

You started off as school kids in Edinburgh then matured as a band in Glasgow.. Did the change of cities change your music and influence?
Adam: I have no idea. I'm sure it must have but we shall never know for sure! I think that being able to play a lot in Glasgow at good, small venues certainly helped us. And we've found some great bands that have influenced us as a band. But I'm sure we would sound very similar to what we do now wherever we grew up.

There is so much variation in your music. Describe your songwriting process.
: I usually start with a wee chord progression then keep playing it and playing it for as long as it takes me to get a few other parts and a skeleton of a song. Then I take that into rehearsal rooms and play it then everyone starts to write their own parts to it and decide exactly how the song should go. That’s how it’s been done so far.

With all of these variations in your sound, who are some of your biggest influences?
: I can't speak for anyone else but the bands I would consider an influence aren't very varied. I only really like a particular kind of music which is really frustrating! Rock music with thought, gloom and intensity is for me!

What was the recording of your debut, "These Four Walls" like?
Adam: We did it in about 8 days in a farmhouse just outside London. It was us 4 and jolyon who was recording us. We stayed at the place we recorded. So it was pretty much wake up, record live in a room, eat pizza, drink some then practice until the wee small hours.

Your album has been out for just a short time and everyone is praising it. How do you respond to all the acclaim?
Adam: I'm not sure. Its very strange reading reviews of your music. If its a good one i think i usually just say to myself "oh, that’s nice." then forget about it as quickly as the bad ones. We've sort of learnt not to make too much of reviews or to get worked up about them or think that because we've got a couple of good reviews we are going to be the next U2.

There is an interesting story behind how you got signed to FatCat your label. Explain the story.
: I'm not sure what you've heard! It sounds like you've heard a story involving dragons and wizards. It was pretty simple and straightforward. Fatcat emailed us saying they've been listening to us and asked what were our plans. I think they had heard us through frightened rabbit telling them about us or just fatcat clicking on our myspace profile. It was a label we were fond of and we knew we had to take the opportunity.

Right now with bands such as yours, Coldplay, Bloc Party and Glasvegas, to name a few, coming out of the UK. Do you feel we are seeing a third British invasion?
Adam: Nope.

Speaking of Glasvegas and of course yourselves, it seems Scotland is making a big impact in music now with The Fratellis, Franz Ferdinand, Bell and Sebastian and many others hitting it big from there. How do you feel about Scottish bands holding the spotlight now and what is going on back home that is striking such a nerve?
Adam: I have no idea how I feel. I suppose Scotland does pretty well for itself considering its population. To be honest we are just another band from Scotland that has got pretty lucky and we have just taken our opportunities when they have come our way. There are quite a lot of bands I would consider similar to us and could do well but it just so happens we've been able to release an album in a lot of places and we've got press people working for us. There’s loads of shite bands as well though!

Are there any other bands from Scotland we need to be on the look out for here in the US?
Adam: Yes! dupec, endor, lyons, john b mckenna, over the wall, sebastian dangerfield, copy haho, jesus h. foxx and many more.

With all the attention on you now, do you feel any pressure to live up to expectations?
Adam: Absolutely none. I feel very much like I'm in a band to try make me happy. And as long as it is making me happy and I'm getting out of it what I want (no real job, traveling, drinking and playing fun music with my friends) then that’s fine. I certainly don't feel any sense of expectation because trying to please other people is not why I'm in a band!

Burning Question: Who Promised you Jetpacks?
Adam: Yer maw ya wee gadgy.

Video for "Quiet Little Voices" (Above)/ Video for "Roll Up Your Sleeves" (Below)

Special thanks to Adam and Caroline Borolla for the interview!