Interview: The Jet Reds
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
- It was definitely when I was about 16 when I took a serious interest in music. I was in 6th form college at the time and a friend I had in school, Chris, played a bit guitar. He’d shown me how to play Wonderwall and from there we would spend hours at his Dads house playing guitar together. At school we’d go into the drama studios during breaks and grab the guitars from the music rooms and play, so whatever opportunity we had basically we’d be playing the guitar together! Our lead guitarist Dan has a musically trained background, I think he’s a grade 8 (or whatever the highest grade is) guitarist so it’s great when we put new tunes together how quickly he’ll pull something brilliant out his arse! Marty’s musical taste is very similar to mine and his first musical love was the likes of Oasis and The Stone Roses, but after that he was heavy into the drum and bass scene and regularly MC’d at north east drum and bass nights. Deano was already drumming in a band before he joined ours. His previous band, who I’ve seen a few times, played original tunes and sounded a lot like Muse, they were very good, then I sort of scouted him out and asked him to join my band, and he did!
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
- We all still work full time (sadly) but hopefully in time the music will be our full time jobs! I’ve just finished a 2nd year of open university studying psychology, I play football, spend a lot of time with friends, me and my partner are always out and about doing something, we go to a lot of gigs and have weekends away etc. There’s definitely elements of our music takes influence from some of the experiences I’ve had in earlier songs I’d written. More recently though I think the events that have been going on worldwide have had an influence on my writing.
How long has your band been around?
- We’re into our 4th year now, there was a previous incarnation of the band for a brief time before it became us 4, but yeah as it is now, around 4 years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
- 3 of us are from the north east, Dan is originally from York, but we all met each other in the north east. Dean and I have spent most of our life’s in the same village, it’s a place called Cramlington in county Northumberland. Marty’s originally from Wallsend but he’s up in Glasgow now and Dan is temporarily back down York, so we’re pretty well spread at the moment! I don’t think really our routes geographically have had much to do with our music. The north east isn’t really renowned for its music culture although there’s plenty of great bands and artists around up here.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
- The name is actually my two grandads nicknames, Jet and Red. We originally were called Jet Red but a band back in the 70’s I think it was already had that name, so people looking us up would often find these guys instead so it had to change.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
- Ok so best I think is probably a bit of a toss up between our album launch night and our single release night for our tune Red Tape. The album launch just went perfectly, the guys at ARC who helped promo the event were superb, the support bands were great as where the crowd, it just came together immaculately and the after party definitely topped it off! The Red Tape release gig though had such this unique buzz about it, I think mainly due to the crowd response, that was the first time I was carried about by a few of the crowd in the front row, and the way they sang our lyrics back to the Red Tape chorus was magical. The mic was passed around the crowd for a minute at one point and I remember just stood there absorbing it all, it was epic. Worst gig I think would have to be a small festival we done at a cricket ground, it was when the World Cup was on and it was a glorious day, but there was barely anyone there, and the few that were had kids with them so I remember playing and there being a handful of 5 year olds running about in front of us, never wanted a gig to end quicker!
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
- There’s a great venue up here called the Cluny which is always fun, we’ve been there a few times and the sounds always on point and when the rooms filled it’s a great one to do. Places we’d like to play, I think just getting onto a festival stage anywhere really. Since we’ve started 100% of our gigs have been booked ourselves, we’ve never had a booking agent, so we've missed out on the festival circuit the least couple of years (COVID obviously didn’t help!), so we’re desperate to get involved in festivals around the country in 2022.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
- Oooo I think Glastonbury has to be every bands dream doesn’t it?? Yeah getting to Glastonbury on any stage would me mega, if some of our idols are on the bill as well, Liam Gallagher, Paul Weller, some of the bands and artists I’m really into right now like IDLES, Fontaine’s DC, Yard Act, Michael Kiwanuka, that would be cool. There’s some great female artists and bands in the UK right now who’d I’d love to share a stage with and meet. Arlo Parks, Laura Marling, Yazmin Lacey, Jorja Smith. Yeah throw all of them on the same bill I’d be well happy!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
- Gig like crazy, put the hours in the rehearsal room getting your tunes as tight as possible, if you want to really get somewhere with your music, start off by believing it’s possible regardless of what any doubters say, and enjoy everything that comes with being in a band! I truly believe being in a band could be the best job in the world.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
- Plan better! I think what we done well early on was spend a good amount of time in the rehearsal room and getting our tunes very tight. Then we gigged like crazy, and that’s great! But I think to make real progress you have to plan how it is you’re going to get to where you want to go. Only now are we exploring getting management involved, booking agents, so the advice I would’ve given us early on would be to try and get others involved with the band who can make significant inroads for us within the music industry.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
- The first song I wrote after leaving the band I was in before The Jet Reds, which is a song on our first album called Time To Fly. It was written literally about leaving that band, which I’d been in for years, and embarking on whatever new adventure in music I was about to go to on. It’s meaning heightened even more once the late Diane Charlemagne came into the recording studio and recorded a verse with us. She passed away not long after so the song took on a whole other meaning after that. Since then though as a band our song Red Tape is probably our rallying cry and the one we all relate to the most. It’s about being stuck in a corporate job that we don’t like and the rules around that, it’s the one the crowd respond best to too without a doubt, so that tune means a lot.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
- Again I think that has to be Red Tape! We end the set on it every time, it’s the one people talk about and remember most.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
- It used to be me writing on the acoustic guitar at home, then bringing that into the studio for the rest of the band to hear, and allowing it to grow organically from there. It’s pretty much the same now only Marty now contributes to the writing too and brings songs to us, there’s also been a few which have happened totally randomly in the rehearsal room just by mucking about! Pamela, our first single we released this year, happened just like that! Inspiration comes from different places I think. The way our lives have been during COVID has certainly played a part in my writing. Marty has tunes about his love life, I think things that are happening around us at the time tend to be what inspire us to write, and I like that. It keeps the tunes real and relatable.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
- Hopefully that these songs are honest and true. I’d like to think we give a message that you can do whatever it is you want to do really, that you can get up on a stage and have it with your mates and enjoy yourselves and each other.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
- I wouldn’t say we have anymore than any other bands, probably less to be fair. We’re all on the same page about where we want it to go which helps, and musically we all give each other the opportune to express themselves and share ideas. We wind each other up sometimes, I think there’s been times where all of us have had our buttons pressed by the others at some point or another! But we are close and we look after each other too.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
- Right now we’re just trying desperately hard to get back on stage! A few gigs have been cancelled for reasons outside of our control so since lockdown lifted we still haven’t been back on stage yet. We are in the middle of arranging a headline gig currently so looking October/November time. We also have a group working with us who are pitching us to labels as we speak and there’s been promising interest there so we’ll see what that brings. We have more music to release too so we’re waiting to see when is best to get that out there!