Last year Andrew, Cahir, Jamie and Raife spread the
word on their website, ‘tell us where you want us to
play and we’ll do it’. To be quite honest what other
explanation can there be for a tour that includes not
one but two dates in the Shetland Islands, not to mention
a night at the Blackwood Miners Institute?
So those of you oblivious to the crowd pleasing ways
of the ‘plane –pay close attention cos we’re off for
a few beers with smiley front man Andrew Ferris.
This time last year Jetplane Landing were championed
by Radio One, more recently they’ve received support
from Kerrang, Rocksound and NME, their video for ‘Acrimony’
reached the top of the MTV playlist for 2 weeks and
yet the foursome remains resolutely underground – what’s
that all about huh?
AF: ‘The processes, the way we do things are just as
important as the music we make so we choose not to be
signed to any label. We put our music out through STA
records but essentially everything that happens is our
own doing –that’s a nice feeling. We’re only as big
as we want to be’.
CRUD: But surely every band dreams of signing that big
AF: ‘Speaking for myself, I’ve done that with Cuckoo
(Rock band for the kids, signed to Geffen records just
after the Nirvana explosion). Being such a corporate
rock animal didn’t suit me, we weren’t dissimilar to
Hundred Reasons or Hell is for Heroes. I mean, the album
was produced by Ed Butler (Pulp, Suede).
CRUD: Don’t you miss the involvement of big names such
AF: ‘I don’t think you need their involvement really.
We loved recording Zero For Conduct (JPL’s first album),
it was literally in a garage, two of us trying to figure
out the equipment and set up a mini studio, ‘Straight
to tape’ – I think it gave us a lot more control and
freedom with the music and it was really something we
wanted to get off our chests so we bought the gear and
off we went’.
CRUD: Doesn’t that get kinda expensive without a record
label backing you up?
AF: ‘Yeah it does –when a lead cost 20 quid and a mic
costs hundreds etc etc –that’s why we all work and the
more popular we become the prouder I am for us holding
down our jobs. We keep things low budget –the video
for Acrimony, that cost 750 quid as opposed to the usual
music video thousands. Still, somebody has to put up
the money and maybe it’s not the stereotyped rock and
roll image, me working as a set designer, but I’m glad
it’s us not a label’.
CRUD: So you keep yourself busy then?!
AF: ‘Definitely. I write on the tube to and from work
and before I go to bed –we all do. We’re in the studio
every weekend without fail and last year I think we
did more than a hundred gigs’.
CRUD: Now, I can vouch for the sheer brilliance of Jetplane
Landing both on stage and on record, they rock but in
far sharper, fresher and more down right entertaining
ways than the clones of the ‘rock revolution’ ever could
but do they ever think ‘is it really worth it’?
AF: ‘We played at Reading 2002 to 3,000 people and I
just couldn’t believe that a band with this little money
could play to that many people but it was all the fans
we’d visited in smaller gigs throughout the year, they’d
come back to see us. Of course its worth it –we love
what we do regardless but a response like that –wow’.
CRUD: You never think ‘there must be an easier way’,
not even on a Sunday morning and you’ve got to et up
and drag yourself to the studio?
AF: ‘Sometimes it doesn’t go well, you record all day
after working all week and you have to just wipe it
but that’s the situation. Take your fucking oil. (Translation:
‘take your oil’ = ‘get over it’).
CRUD: But offering to play wherever your fans want you
to, surely that’s going to involve visiting the deepest,
darkest corners of the UK –why set yourself such time
consuming, knackering projects?
AF: ‘The Tour of Extremities set out to deliberately
play the corners of the UK –hopefully the tour will
amplify the music scenes in each area we visit and eventually
really big bands will go. We think it’s unfair that
kids who don’t live in London etc can’t see a decent
act. Maybe with the fans booking this tour it will encourage
them to get more involved in their scene and that’d
be fantastic. The D-I-Y way Jetplane Landing does things
hopefully says to our fans ‘whatever you want to be
just get out there and do it’ and if they really want
to get involved then STA is always looking for help
and new bands to support –get in touch’.
CRUD: Playing live is really important to you isn’t
AF: ‘Yeah it is. Playing live is phenomenally important;
it’s the lifeblood of any band. Its not really about
racking up numbers, its about trying to make every show
count –leaving a bit of us behind every time. We had
a few problems to begin with –I think we were really
nervous and just concentrating on getting the music
right rather than working with the audience. Part of
that’s due to the music we were touring with at the
time –Zero for conduct was a very introspective album.
One night we went on stage (supporting Hundred Reasons)
and it just clicked –we could actually play for the
audience and that’s had a massive effect on Els Quatres
Gats (JPL’s current, must-have EP).
CRUD: Can we talk about the records – Zero For Conduct
and Els Quatres Gats share your intricate, intelligent
lyrics but its very much indie vs. rock isn’t it?
AF: ‘Zero For Conduct was really us wanting to make
a singer/songwriter record. We needed to make that album
but as soon as it was done we were off on to something
else. Certain things will hopefully always be there
- I love attention to detail. I think a good lyricist
writes about the everyday like Bob Dylan. We’re rooted
in the mundane but its real, warts and all.
Of course Raife and Cahir joined the band full time
and they had their own impact on our sound. Els Quatres
Gats is much more audience related and really good fun
live. I guess the difference in the sounds is a result
of our experience over the past year’.
CRUD: So what kind of music do you listen to?
AF: ‘I like soul music. I like John Spencer Blues Explosion,
Fugazi, Pavement. Pavement’s song ‘Trigger Cut’ is actually
the best example of spontaneous rock I’ve ever heard.
Just brilliantly played –or in the Pavement’s case terribly
played but nobody else could sound like them! A good
song has to have good lyrics and a good groove as well
– I really want people to dance so we fill our music
with drum breaks and guitar solo’s that people enjoy’.
CRUD: You don’t indulge in the kind of music snobbery
I’ve come to expect of a credible musician. Will you
admit to any surprising music tastes?
AF: Erm, I like the clever rhyming of hip-hop, I love
the Gravediggaz. I bought the Justin Timberlake album,
the drum programming of r n b is very intelligent. I
probably controversially, think NERD tend to be a bit
style over content for me and I think Liberty X are
yet to release a bad song. What else? My favourite albums
of 2002 would be Glassjaw and Robbie Williams – I guess
that might be surprising but everyone’s free to like
what they like and hate what they hate aren’t they?
Shoegazing is the vogue at the moment but its just so
flawed, so uninspiring for the people listening that
I don’t care if its ‘cool’ or not –we don’t want to
make that music and we won’t’.
So there you go, a three-pint introduction to the true
meaning of the D-I-Y ethic and we’re off out in to the
Camden cold again (albeit a bit pissed). If you’ve made
it this far you can claim ignorance no more, if you
miss them on the Tour of Extremities (see www.jetplanelanding.com
for details) catch them supporting Biffy Clyro this
month, or you may as well hang up your music fan hat.
No excuses. Sat 22 March - Liverpool University