Thursday 20 June 2013

The JCQ // Interview

The JCQ have been working hard getting album number two ready. Having checked out their live show earlier in the year at Hit The Deck we couldn't wait to hear what new offerings they had in store for us. "Mechanical Youth" was released earlier this week and the guys took time out ahead of the release to speak to us about recording in Sweden, playing shows and setting amps on fire with their riffs...

Heya guys. So you’re recently supported Arcane Roots. Did you enjoy those shows?
Hi there! Yeah we've been enjoying playing the rock shows and doing the rocking that we always rock!

We saw you at Hit The Deck earlier this year and you’re playing Redfest; do you approach playing a festival any differently?
Not really, it's always harder because you're usually not on tour so it can be harder to get into at first, but we love playing festivals so we just try and enjoy them as much as possible.

You released “Ghosts Diffuse” as a little teaser for the new record. Have you been dropping more new songs into the live set yet?
We usually put 3 or 4 news songs in the set, and we've actually just started ending with our own granny-smasher remix of the national anthem. Make sure you stay to the end because it'll get ya.


The album is ready to go, you’ve just got to hold out until release day; are you nervous or just excited to get it out there?
We are absolutely petrified of our album coming out in case the drums have been thrown out of time at the CD burning plant or the printers accidentally put a picture of Bobby Davro as the front cover. Fingers crossed it'll all be ok though.

The crowd really gets involved at your live shows. Are you looking forward to the release of the new album and people going for it with the new songs?
As we said earlier, the over-riding emotion is pure fear so it's hard to comprehend any other emotions at the moment! But hopefully crowds will react the same way they do with our previous songs. We're always grateful for crowd interaction; it's hard to enjoy a gig when there's hundreds of blank expressions starring at you for half an hour...

"Mechanical Youth" the new album
So “Mechanical Young”; we had a listen and love it. It’s definitely recognisably The JCQ but you’ve just amped everything up a lot more. What were your aims going into it?
Thank you very much! Our aims were to amp some more things up and just up the ampage on the whole album really. Some amps actually burst into flames as soon as we played our guitars through them because they couldn't handle the riffs. We wanted to make a heavier album but we couldn't afford to break any more amplifiers. We just wanted to concentrate on writing big riffs, big hooks and getting an identifiable tone and we're really pleased with the outcome.

Did you feel under any pressure after the success of “That Was Then, This Is Now” to step things up? Or was that just put to the back of your mind?
I always file things in my mind alphabetically and T is obviously after M so it was put at the back in that sense, but then everything is realistically impossible to do under any circumstances. Pressure isn't something we particularly take any notice of. We just get on with what we've always done for the past 7 years, keep our heads down and work hard. Once you start acknowledging the pressure I think that can be really detrimental to the music as a whole, so it's best avoided at all costs.

And the title “Mechanical Young”...
The album is named Mechanical Young as a reflection to the youth of today being more like robots, force fed s**t from the industry rather than going out and thinking for themselves. It makes it hard for bands that do anything differently to get any sort of recognition, because people can't go "oh that band sounds like another band I like, so now I like this other band".

You recorded it in Sweden with Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lovstrom; how was it working with them?
Pelle was great to work with. We only worked with Eskil on the pre-production days but he was a pleasure to work with too. They really brought out the best in our performance, concentrating on the balls of the sounds.

I know you recorded the album live using older amps. Did you feel it was important to get that live feel across? Because your shows are so energetic?
Yeah we did feel that was important, recording live definitely gives a record a huge sense of real energy. Though it was more important for us to capture the genuine sound of our band at that moment in time. So many bands have such heavily processed albums nowadays, it just removes any sense of soul and identity of the band. If I want to listen to robotic music I put on a dance track. I don't understand why bands feel the need to copy the clinical nature of synthesised music, that's one of the best things about some of our favourite records, that there are mistakes left in and not everything sounds 100% perfect, but that's where the real sense of the band lies - in those mistakes.

How did you find Sweden itself? Did you get much time to explore?
We were working pretty hard on the record from like 9am to 10pm every day with no days off, so we didn't get much time to explore, plus where the studio was in Umea, there wasn't much apart from woods and a supermarket about ten minutes away. We certainly explored the supermarket though, I could probably write out a map of everything there by memory we spent so much time there.

And finally what else have you guys got planned?
Release the album, slay the world.

Thanks guys!

"Mechanical Youth" is out now