Jack was conceived in a musical petri dish and then endured and enjoyed years of musical practice. With a musical upbringing at home, then trained at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, he discovered he had actually been fathered by Bach and mothered by Björk.
What he wants now is to entertain. With catchy melodies and wild stage craft, his live shows have been described as “like watching a fitness video on acid”. What he says he most definitely doesn’t want to be is “another one of those mopy guitar bands frowning and bobbing their heads whilst looking ‘vibey’”. With trombone, keytar, potty percussion and snazzy synths, he and his crew are more Madness than Indie.
We spoke to Jack about his new single but began by asking him about his recent trip up North to Huddersfield.
It was good. We were playing a private event on the moors. It was an old friend of mine who was having a do so we thought we’d go up there and Eduardo, a member of the band, is Italian and had never been up north so we thought we’d take him and show him as it’s a lot different to living in London. It was a good event, and we popped back to Wales the next day to see my parents.
Your new single is called ‘Sundown’. How would you describe it?
It’s a fun tune. It’s quite a catchy, upbeat song and features a lot of trombone and vocals, which are the main elements. It’s a happy, summery tune. It fits into a pop music structure; it’s very poppy compared to other things I’ve written. It seems to have gone down well and people are enjoying it; it’s a good one to get up and dance to!
You say that you were “fathered by Bach and mothered by Björk”. Does that accurately describe your sound?
It kind of does [but] that’s a little bit about my history. I studied in the Chetham School of Music for a while, studying orchestral composition, and so did Andy the trombone player, who studied the trombone. I’ve always had a love for pop music so that’s where that comes from.
The video is now available to watch; how would you describe it?
The video is interesting [in] the way it came together. You can see Canary Wharf in the background. [We filmed it] on the top of our apartment. We didn’t have long to film it. We went on the roof to film it throughout the day. There are [also] bits in the Greenwich foot tunnel. It’s all based around East London where we’re all living. It features a frog which is something we had lying around that we found. It’s fun, and Ed’s dressed as a Japanese woman. It was a long day. We recorded from about seven in the morning to two in the morning [but] we got it all done in a day. It was good! We had lots of funny looks going around London with all that stuff.
You have live dates coming up later in this month; how are preparations going?
It’s going good. We played last night. We did a charity event for Grenfall event. That was a good event; there were lots of people there and they raised quite a lot of money. I don’t have an exact figure but it was good. It seemed to go down well, and it was good preparation for our main show which is on the 18th September in Nambucca, which is in North London, and there we’re doing our full new show. It incorporates all sorts of theatre elements. There are so many band around, especially in London, who are playing great, but
I wanted to take it visually to another level of entertainment, [that’s visually entertaining].
How would you describe your live show?
Someone once said it is like watching a fitness video on acid! There’s a lot of energy, and I’m running about. The tunes are upbeat. It’s just good fun. We’re there to have fun and we just hope it rubs off on people! There’s a lot of trombone; we have a keytar as well, and we all wear lots of silly clothes. I do the whole white thing. Ed last night dressed up in a skeleton outfit, and there are cloaks and all sorts of mayhem. It’s visually appealing; it’s not just about the sound or the music.
What instruments do you bring to your live show?
There’s quite a lot; we have bits of all-sorts. We’ve got bits of auxiliary percussion; the keytar is lots of fun, and a bit of joke with what’s going on, with this ridiculous eighties keytar solo thing in the middle of the song. We do lots of quotes and themes which are incorporated into songs and run into each other; it’s a piece of theatre in that sense. I sometimes play guitar and sometimes just run around and do my thing!
What are your big ambitions for the rest of the year?
I’m talking to a few people about producing an EP or hopefully an album. I can’t say much about that at the moment but hopefully there’s something on its way. If not, there’s definitely another single coming, and I’ve got interesting things planned, especially with the video. It’s going to have a whole dance group, so it should be quite funny!
Finally, you’re very active on social media but there were a few statuses we need to check on. In 2014 you said you don’t like Michael Bublé. Is that still correct?
Yes, I suppose it is. I can appreciate what he does but it’s not to my taste. He’s great at what he does. He does some music for himself and that big band stuff, and then he’s poppified and produced and does the whole Christmas thing. But he does some music for himself and that’s appealing, but I’m not the biggest Bublé fan!
And back in 2015 you said you dress like a substitute teacher. Has that changed?
I don’t think it has improved really. I’m getting to the age now where I could probably be one. I do dress like that. I am dressed a bit more flamboyant on stage but in my day-to-day life I probably do dress like a substitute teacher!