I was contacted recently by a Bristol based band called Jesuits who recently revealed their first single 'Carpet Floors' on August 10th. We caught up with Arthur from the band and had a good chat about exciting live shows, the future of music and whether a Jaffa Cake is a cake or a biscuit, here's how we got on....
‘Jesuits’ is an interesting name, tell me where it came from?
I was reading a lot of history books at the time and the word kept cropping up. It looked strong visually and aesthetically...plus the religious connotations are kind of interesting to me. We occasionally get spiritual nuts on our facebook page sharing wild religious conspiracy theories, which cemented in my mind that the name was a good decision.
You were recently listed on a Timeout feature called ‘Bristol bands to get excited about right now’, how did it make you feel when you saw yourselves on there?
We felt pleased that we were getting press from our live shows alone, without having any tracks online. At the bottom line it meant that someone liked it enough to write about it which is always fulfilling.
Your live shows have been described as ‘exciting’, can you describe one of your live shows for me? (please don’t say exciting!)
The live shows vary greatly from set to set, sometimes they're more psychedelic and drawn out, other times when we've had a bit to drink they can be more noisey and punky which I enjoy. We've got quite a lot of material written so it's nice to be able to vary the show for each performance.
I see from your press release that you have supported YAK in the past, what were those shows like and what is your favourite YAK song? (we saw them when they supported Palma Violets in Exeter a while back)
When we played with them they covered King Crimson's '21st Century Schizoid Man'...which was my favorite because it's King Crimson's '21st Century Schizoid Man'!
If you were heading off to spend a month on a remote desert island (loads of food and drinks), which 3 albums would you take with you and why?
I could pick some more obscure stuff, but really I'd take the 3 albums that changed my life. Nevermind by Nirvana would be the first as I was raised on it from a very early age by my dear Mother. The Stooges self titled which my Uncle gave me when I hit puberty along with a wah pedal...that album got me through the bullshit at school believe me. And lastly Public Enemy's 'It Takes a Nation Of Millions...' which blew my mind around the same time as The Stooges and showed me how powerful music could be both sonically and lyrically...not very relaxing music for a desert island but I guess you could play Polly....
What is the future of music (physical vs digital)?
That's an interesting question. I think that with the rise of Vinyl (yay), physical releases are making a big comeback that labels are still catching up with. Also cassettes are so cheap and pleasing as a format that people are latching onto that too. On the flipside, anyone can put out a track on the internet at any time which is a truly amazing thing and videos/tunes/art being showcased on the internet can still attract a lot of attention. Honestly I hope the future of music is the best of both worlds, with artists and people being able to profit from putting out a release or product be it online or offline.
Will cassette tapes ever come back into being a mainstream format for music (as they were in the 70’s & 80’s)?
I'm not sure cassettes will be a mainstream format again as the sound quality isn't for everyone (I personally LOVE the lo-fi/warmth of tape). However they will always have their place in the market, particularly with independent labels and artists.
Geoff Barrow (guy from Portishead) says that the Bristol scene has become less diverse and more commercial over the 10 years, would you agree?
That's a strange thing to say, I disagree with that. The reggae/roots/blues party/dub scene that Bristol always had is still there, which I wouldn't say is always commercial per se. Also there's been an explosion of experimental guitar music based around scenes like Howling Owl and Stolen Body, and innovative electronic music with Young Echo. The sounds produced from these scenes are hardly 'commercial', but more subversive art that is trying to push the boundaries. There's also a lot of hip-hop and garage/grime around that I'm not sure could be classed as 'commercial'...Then again I'm talking about the last 2/3 years...maybe it was different in 2005 or whatever.
Who are you guys grooving to at the moment?
We've all got quite diverse and differing tastes....Personally this year I've been enjoying Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly', my friends band from London ZOOZ whose new EP just dropped and is great, and I actually thought Taylor Swift's new album had some very good songwriting on it. Really though I've been quite obsessed and inspired by the No Wave scene, bands like Teenage Jesus & The Jerks and the early 90s Norwegian Black Metal scene. Artists like Mayhem, Burzum and Darkthrone all made amazing music. I think that scene actually shares a lot of things in common with lo-fi/noise-rock/shoegaze sonically, but with really evil vocals...it's not for everyone but has really captivated me at the moment.
Your sound is a mash of 60’s psych with some pretty heavy shoegaze, who would you say influenced your sound the most?
I'd say early on we were very influenced by The Beatles, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, My Bloody Valentine and bands like The DB's and Velvet Underground...kind of writing a lot of psychedelic pop songs and getting obsessed with songcraft. At this moment in time I think our music has developed into a more expansive and interesting entity, taking in more of the No Wave stuff and early 90s's influences like Pavement, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr & Sonic Youth etc....more psychedelic and abrasive but retaining the pop influence. We're quite a young band truthfully, so the more we play, the more we're finding our sound. As with any band in it's early stages.
Your first single ‘Carpet Floors’ was released on 10th August, how did it feel to release your first single?
We'd been sat on these recordings for a while and that song in particular, mainly its just exciting to be putting stuff online and seeing what people think. We'll have a video coming out soon to that I'm really excited about, it's quite a different vibe from 'Carpet' so I'll be interested to see how people react.
What was the most recent gig that you went to (as a customer not as a musician?)
I went to see my friends band The Naturals supported by Taos Humm (also close friends) and Ossia from Young Echo. It was a great show, with a varied lineup and sonically quite diverse. Amazing.
Looking back over the past 30 years, which song would you have liked to have written and why?
Hmmmm I guess it comes down to what our band is really, the clash between abrasive music and pop music hah. On the one hand I'd love to have written something really intense like 'Love Canal' by Flipper or some of the No-Wave/Black Metal stuff I talked about. On the other hand I'd be really proud to have written something like 'Don't You Forget About Me' by Simple Minds or Duran Duran or something...It's a fine balance and we're constantly working on towing the line between those dimensions haha.
Is a Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit?
If you were responsible for the 3 headline acts at Glasto 2016 who would be gracing the pyramid stage and why?
Can they be dead or do they have to be alive? I think I'd pick Michael Jackson, The Beatles & Radiohead. Yeah.
What do you MOST enjoy about music festivals?
And the least?
What was the first record/CD/Cassette Tape that you ever bought?
I think it was either The Spice Girls or The Cardigans....I can't really remember but either way I'm glad I did.
I’m heading to Bristol soon for a couple of meetings with some PR companies, where should I suggest we go for drinks, food and maybe to catch a live band?
Go to a Howling Owl night.
We were getting on fine so I thought it time to roll out the quickfire questions, we strapped Arthur down in his chair, force fed him thrash metal music and every 20 seconds, threw a question at him, I think he did quite well....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
BBQ or Picnic?
Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift?
TAYLOR TAYLOR TAYLOR
Drum machine or the real deal?
Hmm depends...Fuck it, Drum Machine.
Mac or PC?
Fry up or Sunday roast?
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
That's hard. But Lemmy.
CD or Vinyl?
Vinyl of course.
Car or Motorbike?
Motorbike, Easy Rider.
Walking or Cycling?
Acoustic or electric?
Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead?
Walking Dead the comic, but Game Of Thrones the TV Show.
Shower or Bath?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino?
De Niro for sure.
God or Google?
Both. I google Jesus from time to time.
We'd like to thank Arthur for taking the time to come and chat to us, we wish the band every success in the future and look forward to receiving information on future releases. If you can spare a couple of minutes more, please check out their social media pages, they're listed below, just point and click....
Interview by Steve Muscutt