Formed less than a year and a half ago, local four-piece JAWS have enjoyed a swift ascent and incredible success both in their go-to city of Birmingham and beyond. Playing their first headline show just five months after their formation, the boys were swept up in the furore surrounding the new beach sounds of Birmingham, releasing two EPs, enjoying mass critical acclaim (including Radio 1 and NME backing), recording sessions at the legendary Maida Vale studios, and playing to packed out festivals nationwide.
Flying the flag for Birmingham firmly into 2013, we catch them ahead of their show at The Institute on 24th September to chat taking it slow, Kerrang appearances and questionable festival etiquette…
How and where did you meet and form the band?
Connor [Schofield, guitar & vocals]: Well, what happened was that I was on holiday in Puerto Rico when I saw the hottest barman I’d ever seen and it was Eddy [Geach, drums]. We got chatting about music and forming a band and he said ‘if you can play guitar and sing then I can play the drums.’ So we started having a jam but then the neighbour came round asking what the racket was. We opened the door and it was Huddy [Alex Hudson, guitar]. We thought he was hot stuff and asked him whether he could play guitar which he could. Then this promoter rang us up and offered us a gig – it was Jake [Cooper, bass] and he happened also to be a bassist, which we needed. He was busy with Beady Eye at the time and Liam [Gallagher] initially said no but it all worked out in the end.
Eddy: The real story is that when we got back from holiday, we realised that actually, we all went to the same college and we asked each other to start jamming.
Connor: We fired out a demo, Cameron…
Jake: It was actually Holy Cat…
Connor: It was actually Cameron [discussion takes place, remaining unresolved], and it grew from there.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being in a band with your mates?
Jake: There’s lots of banDter…
Eddy: We didn’t really know each other that well before the band, we kind of became friends afterwards, but it’s a lot easier, it feels pretty concrete. The disadvantages of being in a band with Jake are that you can be having a conversation with Connor three miles away and he’ll crop up out of nowhere asking ‘what’s that, what’s that?’ Huddy’s a mumbler; he’s an enigma.
How does the creative process work?
Connor: I kind of do a skeleton, an outline…
Eddy: And then he’ll play it to us and we’ll decide which bits we like and want to use and which bits we don’t. The other way is that one of us will come up with a chord sequence and we’ll jam until it becomes a song.
How do you think the music industry has taken to you?
Connor: We fucked it but saved it. We dived in head first because it was hard not to…
Eddy: Our first gig was in London [Camden Barfly] and it was shit. We only learned later that if you’re going to play in London you need to have pinpoint precision…
Jake: My bass amp was off for pretty much the entire show and I only realised during the last song.
Connor: I was struggling with my anxiety. It was the worst day of my life. We were shit until One Beat Saturday last year – that was the worst gig we ever played. However after that we redeemed ourselves – the next gig we played was at Vagabonds in Brierley Hill and we didn’t feel that pressure like we had in London. That’s when we got good.
Eddy: NME have this view of us that we’re really sleepy and lazy…
Jake: But that’s because they can’t figure out what genre we fit into. We don’t even know what we are…
You’re managed by Connor’s dad, Paul. Does that make it easier or harder?
Connor: The support is unbelievable. It gets a bit intense sometimes, like after we’ve played a show and we come offstage and mum and dad just wanna go through it. Or when we’re just chilling and they wanna talk about the band but we just wanna watch Holby City. But if it wasn’t for dad then there would be no JAWS – he is the fifth member.
We’re tipping you as the ones to watch for 2014. Who are your ones to watch?
Connor: Curb – I saw them play in Wolverhampton a few days ago and they were brilliant.
Alex: Laced – they’re going to go somewhere.
Eddy: I’m also mega into Drenge.
Do you have any advice for young bands coming through?
Eddy: Have a band name with more than one syllable because in Birmingham, apart from Swim Deep and now Babypink, no one has managed that. Get your music down and as tight as possible before you even think about London.
Connor: Don’t rush – Birmingham and the music industry is here forever.
You’ve played lots of great festival slots this year including Bestival, Beacons and Reading / Leeds. What have been your festival highlights?
Alex: [straight away and met with agreement all round] Reading.
Connor: Camp Bestival was good as well – that was the first one so we got all the anxiety out of the way for that, plus they treated us really well. The toilets were impressive and there were showers.
Jake: We enjoyed the festivals because people aren’t just there to see one band. The crowd size really surprised us because there were some big bands on while we were playing like Fidlar and New Found Glory, but it was packed out for us. We took our own sound engineer with us so the sound was good and we could hear the people singing in the crowd.
Your fans can be pretty full on at times. Do they ever weird you out?
Alex: Not to me, they hate me.
Jake: Yeah for some reason…they started up this fan page on Twitter and the first few Tweets were them asking people to come and follow them. But then the next five were like, ‘don’t you think Alex is a bit grumpy?’
Alex: The enigma obviously isn’t working.
Jake: However, they remind me why we do it.
Eddy: I think mostly they’re relatively young and when you’re that young you do obsess over bands that you enjoy. When I was 15 / 16 I’d get Kerrang every week. I was in it once actually…you know that bit where they talk to a few fans after a gig and if they circle you then you win a record or something? Well I was next to the guy who won it.
Do you have any style icons?
Connor: I saw a girl having a shit up a wall at Leeds. She is a fashion queen.
You kick off a UK tour on 13th September. What are you looking forward to?
Alex: I’m looking forward to going into a venue and having a soundcheck.
Eddy: They’re the first gigs we’ll have played after the festival season and it will be nice to be indoors with no grass.
Jake: Yeah and we won’t all have to huddle up and decide where to go because we’ll already be at the venue.
Connor: It’ll be nice to have our own crowds back too.
Eddy: We’ll be on the road in the same old van – the Vauxhall. We’re taking more people than we’ve actually got seats – Richie [Franklin] will be coming with us to do sound and Jack Parker is our merch boy / bringer of laughs / dance moves / quiff / 90’s swag. We’ll be staying in Travel Lodges up and down the country. Travel Lols.
Jake: It’ll be nice to go to places that we’ve never been to before though, like Newcastle.
Connor: Plus, it’s my birthday on the day that we’re in Leeds.
You play The Institute in Birmingham on 24th September. What can people expect?
Connor: A decent show. Actually, I have this guitar with a clock in it, it’s in that bag over there. And I’m going to get it out for Holy Cat and say ‘Birmingham. Everyone, shh, Birmingham. It’s time to rock.’
Jake: He wants to be the Flavor Flav of indie rock music.
What else is going to happen in 2014?
Jake: I’m going to get married and have a kid.
Eddy: I’ll be continuing my ongoing battle with college.
Connor: And me and Alex will be cooking whatever drugs we can find to make money. Yes, please buy our merch at the show…also me and Eddy are both single now so if there are any hot chicks who want to come to the show, I mean, you’ll have to buy a ticket, but come and find me and Eddy at the end. We’ll be in the Dixy Chicken of the city.
JAWS PLAY THE INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM ON 24TH SEPTEMBER WITH SUPPORT FROM LACED AND BABYPINK. YOU CAN PURCHASE TICKETS, PRICED AT £6 ADVANCE, HERE.