You may be asking the question as I did when asked to interview Jesus Jones. Are they still even around? The band who helped merge indie rock with electronica and who had a mega hit with the single Right Here, Right Now are about to tour for the first time in Australia. What may surprise you more is the fact that the band have still been going over the last twenty-five years playing and recording music. Having finished taking a a deserved break, the lads got back together and are looking to tour the world again. With renewed interest in their music since their big hit is being used as one of the themes for this year’s Rugby World Cup, we thought it was high time to have a chat to one of the founders of the Jesus Jones, Iain Baker.
Music Feeds: What’s the latest in the Jesus Jones camp?
Jesus Jones: Well, we’re about to release a new compilation CD, which will round up album tracks, band favourites, B-sides and more. It will also feature a huge amount of unheard material – an entire disc worth of demos and rarities. We’re obviously playing in Australia and Japan, looking at gigs in the UK before Xmas, and proper tours of the UK and USA next year. The next step is a comprehensive re-issue program for all of our albums. They’ve not been touched since they were released, so they’ll be remastered, with loads of extra tracks.
MF: The band have been performing for over 25 years; did you ever imagine back in 86 that you’d still be going today?
JJ: In a way, I suppose we did, because when you start a band, you believe in it so much – you’re convinced that you’ll be together forever. It’s like a family.
MF: You’re coming back together after a few years apart. What was it like that first time back in the rehearsal room?
JJ: Same as ever, really! At first, you sound rusty, hesitant and frankly, terrible. But, it all comes back soon enough. Plus – we never stop laughing (or arguing, or fighting about stupid stuff in the songs)
MF: Even with the break, the band still released a lot of music over the years. What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt in songwriting over the years?
JJ: Don’t try and sound like other people. Write what you want to write. Stick by it.
MF: Right Here, Right Now still has relevance today and is featured on a lot of sporting campaigns, advertising and movie soundtracks; tell us a little bit about how the song came together?
JJ: Well, it wasn’t written with adverts in mind! Originally, Mike wrote it, at least partially, in response to a song that was around at the time, which stated that there were whispers of revolution in the air. Mike thought that if people opened their eyes, there actually WAS a revolution going on, and we should take notice of the moment, of the present time. That’s what the song’s all about – that sense of “now” of seizing the moment. It gives the song an urgency, and an optimism. Maybe that’s why it works for ads, I’m really not sure.
MF: Jesus Jones are probably considered pioneers in the Indie rock/dance scene. How does it feel when some of today’s acts reference you as inspiration?
JJ: It’s obviously a good feeling. There were plenty of people at the time who scoffed – who laughed when we recorded our albums on computers, who thought that it was all about real instruments. Those same people are sitting in studios right now, using Logic and Pro-tools, doing exactly what we did. It’s a small vindication, but we’re not bragging about it. Oh no.
MF: What bands out there at the moment are you getting into?
JJ: Me personally – WU LYF and Christian AIDS. Also, a lot of 140 Jungle, plus, as ever, loads of old stuff too – Minimal/Cold Wave synth stuff, forgotten Punk bands….the internet is great for all of that.
MF: What can we expect from the Jesus Jones set when you tour in August?
JJ: Well, no fireworks or pyrotechnics, but we never did that anyway. We’ve never changed really – we do what we do. We’ll bang out the songs, at a breakneck pace, get hot and sweaty and shout our heads off, and fall into an exhausted heap afterward.
MF: If you were to do a mixtape, what would be the first track you’d put on there?
JJ: Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun by M83. Or maybe Solitude Is Bliss by Tame Impala.
Jesus Jones is hitting our shores in August on the following dates:
Thursday18th August – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Friday 19th August – The Palace, Melbourne
Saturday 20th August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Touring with them will be The Wonder Stuff & The Clouds.