in conversation // JAWS

Interviews "It's important as long as its natural, the moment you start changing your style up to fit in you’re doomed"

Bursting out of the B-Town scene alongside their contemporaries Swim Deep, Peace and Superfood, JAWS have surfed on its blissed out vibes and carved out their own distinct pop hooks submersed in a timeless 80s indie cool veneer.

Now with the songs of their 2014 debut album ‘Be Slowly’ and its shimmering title track bolstering their already burgeoning infectious indie-pop single cannon, the relentless band will be looking to build on the success of their Spring tour and win over bigger audiences in unfamiliar spaces with their sumptuous sounds on their final run of shows this year. Their latest tour takes in Cambridge’s The Portland Arms on December 1st, info and tickets here.

Having met at Halesowen college in 2012, the band led by Connor Schofield wasted no time in releasing their demo track ‘Cameron’, a track that captured the laid back vibes of their studious setting and soon began to win over the online community.

Now, having barely entered their 20s, the band have gone from success to success notching up a series of NME and Radio 1 celebrated singles including ‘ Toucan Surf’, ‘ Surround You’ and ‘Stay In’ in 2012 before the release of their acclaimed Milkshake EP the following year, saw them praised for their lush, swelling indie sound. 2014 saw the band announce their much anticipated debut album ‘ Be Slowly’ featuring lead-off single ‘Think Too Much, Feel Too Little’. The track offering a first glimpse of the more mature, refined sound to appear on the record, while simultaneously maintaining their signature wistful haze. Bringing together the romantic, wide-eyed swoon of new new-wave, shaggy slacker antics and melodies shaped by timeless guitar pop, it’s a blast of much needed sunshine while staying true to its contemplative and inward looking title.

Ahead of their Cambridge show, we caught up with front man Connor Schofield…

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How did the JAWS story start?
A long time a go in galaxy far far away… just your classic “we met at college” story to be honest, the rest is history

Your debut album ‘Be Slowly’ came out last year, did people respond to the record as you had hoped?
100% , we’ve toured the record quite a bit and the crowd participation is up 100000% since it came out, for a couple of years we were playing sets where the crowd only knew maybe 4/5 of the songs out of 10 so now its nice to be able to play a whole set and the crowd know every song.

What was the hardest track to finish on the record and why?
I’m not sure to be honest, maybe ‘Think Too Much Feel Too Little’, only because it wasn’t even supposed to be on the record we actually recorded twice before deciding that we liked it haha

What did you learn from the experience of producing ‘Be Slowly’ that you knew you wanted to bring to or try on future releases?
Well for Be Slowly we literally had a total of 13 songs for the whole album so in the long run we made sure for album 2 that we had a lot more songs and a lot more qaulity, I write a lot of songs these days I kind of believe that you wont write a good one until you get the bad ones out of your system and its working for me so far haha!

How long after the record was finished did you start penning new music?
Straight away to be honest, songwriting is kind of a hobby, I am always just writing down lyrics or recording little ideas

The new music we’ve heard to date feels more muscled up than your earlier stuff which is more beach pop, how did this come about and were there any apprehensions going into new directions?
I wouldn’t really say it’s a new direction, if you go back and listen to tracks like Stay In, Home and Gold they are all a similair vibe and some of these new songs are a just a progression of that. There wasn’t like a meeting where we all sat down and said “we need to be heavier” that’s just what came out of the practice room

How much new music will he hear on the December tour? What new tracks are you most looking forward to road testing?
I think there’s like 2/3 new tracks in the set list. Theres a song called Work it Out which I really enjoy playing to can’t wait for people to start vibing that.

How important is it that your music evolves?
It’s important as long as its natural, the moment you start changing your style up to fit in you’re doomed

Is the writing process quite democratic within the band?
Varies from song to song to be fair. Some times I’ll do a demo and that ends up being the song but sometimes we’ll sit in the practice room playing and rearranging until its really cool.

How much experimentation is involved in your music?
Ermmm, I think there’s a lot more than there used to be for sure.

How much, if at all, is your music influenced by Birmingham?
50/50 there’s a lot to say about Birmingham , I love it. Some of our songs are defintely with town in mind, definitelly with Birmingham as the setting.

Christmas is round the corner, will you be buying each other gifts?
Of course!!!

JAWS play The Portland Arms on December 1st

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