Interview: Just Suppose
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Ewan: I had a very musical upbringing with a mum in the world of brass banding and a step-dad who is a music teacher. Although while it may seem inevitable, I did take a very roundabout road to get into properly “doing” music. I was following the path to becoming an actor first and I think at one point I wanted to be a historian or something. But the music got the better of me in the end.
Fraser: Mines a little different my immediate family aren't very musical in terms of playing, however much my mum might contest that she is a good singer, but they definitely did listen to a lot of music which has influenced me my Mum listened to artists like, Placebo, Kings of Leon and Suede and my Dad with The Stone Roses, Arctic Monkeys and Maximo Park so a strong alternative and indie influence. The moment I decided to learn an instrument was when I watched Nirvana's MTV unplugged set it captivated me.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Ewan: A lot of my time outside of doing stuff for the band is spent working on other musical projects whether it’s doing bits of recording for other people, dabbling in music for media or playing functions in a ceilidh band. Aside from that, I enjoy reading, drawing/digital art, and games. I guess all of that makes its way into my creative influence somehow!
Fraser: I am not going to lie a lot of my time outside of playing music is essentially just consuming other media, TV, films, and games. I think however lazy it is, it definitely opens you up to a lot of different stories and creative ideas and I think that definitely influences the music we play.
How long has your band been around?
We cobbled ourselves together around October of 2017 and wrote our first song in the first rehearsal. After a bass player change and lots more rehearsals we played our first gig at the end of summer 2018 and have been going steadily ever since.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are currently based in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, where we all met each other at university, though we all came here from various parts of the UK. As for how this place has influenced us? I guess we looked at what some of the other university bands here were doing and decided to bring something fresh and “ours” to the table.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
The name was something we struggled over for a while, but then one practice someone jokingly suggested “juxtapose” and Ewan said “what about Just Suppose?” and it just stuck we suppose! “Just Suppose” has this kind of feeling of hope from a dark place which actually matches quite nicely with our sound - a happy accident which was definitely planned of course :P
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Our best show so far was probably the battle of the bands final here in Huddersfield, which was one of the last gigs we had before lockdown happened. The atmosphere of that night was just unbelievable and it felt amazing to have so much support for us there. Plus we won which meant getting to support Marsicans!
As for the worst show, everyone has those gigs where the stage situation is less than ideal and we’ve definitely had our fair share - but our least favorite has to have been when we needed to trek an entire drum kit on public transport from Huddersfield to Manchester during rush hour.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
If we had to pick a favorite… it would probably be The Parish in Huddersfield if only for the fact that it’s the first place we played as a band and is essentially our “home base”. The Lending Rooms in Leeds also stands out as one of the best venues we’ve played for the space and sound there.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
I think we would all have different ideas on who we would ideally play with but there are definitely some standout artists in the alternative genre at the moment. I think we would all agree on Radiohead as the headliner, they are one of the most influential artists in the history of Indie and alternative rock and I think we all agree the opportunity would be unbelievable. For a supporting artist, I'd personally go for Phoebe Bridgers, I think her songs are some of the most revolutionary musical compositions out there she's developed so much throughout the last year, and appearing alongside her would be a personal dream. Then us as the opener.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Most importantly we would say just enjoy yourself, if you don't enjoy playing the music you are creating then the foundations of the band aren't there. We would also say take your time and learn your sound. It takes time to develop that, I think we would all agree we are still working on ours so expecting it to come to you straight away isn't something that usually happens.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I don't think we would give ourselves any constructive advice, every time we have messed up has meant it has led us to grow as musicians. I think we would tell ourselves though that taking lots of instruments on rush-hour trains is not a good idea.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
No Cause for Alarm (our last release) means a lot to us as it feels a lot like the point where we really found the strengths in our sound and songwriting as a band.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Shockwaves is a lot of fun to play live because it’s very driving and loud - it’s about the only time in our set we can get away with inciting a mosh pit!
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We tend to bounce voice notes with little ideas between us on messenger, before deciding to take those ideas further and jam something out in a rehearsal space. It varies from song to song though, sometimes one of us will come in with a nearly fully formed song and sometimes there’ll just be a riff or some lyrics.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Without getting too deep and philosophical, we like to explore the state of the human condition - this idea of “just suppose” we mentioned before - all neatly packaged up in the sound of “uplifting melancholy”.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Wouldn’t be a band without the disagreements! We’re a very diverse group from different musical backgrounds and with different ideas of what the band is to each of us. In the past, we definitely struggled a little with deciding what the look and sound of the band should be, but after lots of experimentation we think we’ve found what works for us - work with that diversity and find a solution instead of trying to fight it :)
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
We’d like to come back to the live scene stronger than ever as soon as it is safe and possible to do so! The pandemic affected us as much as anyone but we believe that has given us all the more drive and passion to make us the best version of ourselves we can this year. Also, we have a brand new track called “Icarus” coming out on April 23rd which we’re really excited to show to the world: it’s a song about not wanting to fly too high for fear of losing it all and having to start over again - suppressing hopes and dreams to avoid becoming an “Icarus”.