What are your views on the DIY way of doing things, or ethic?
It’s something that I hold very dear. I like the whole idea that if you want something really badly in life, if you want to achieve it, you can do it yourself. There’s no one that going to do it for you and if you want to get somewhere you do have the power. We are blessed in the Western world to do whatever we want and we should use that power and any wastefulness is kind of sinful, not in a religious way but to yourself. It’s something I learned while I grew up, that there were opportunities that were given to me that maybe I squandered in the past, due to laziness mostly. DIY means 2 things to me; do it yourself , and do it now and don’t wait, ‘cause there isn’t much time really.
Did being Geffen in your previous band help you to realise the significance of the DIY ethic?
Oh yeah. We started JPL as a project, I just knew that I wanted it to be something that would help me. I feel that it’s a healthy thing for me to do with my life. It’s not about ‘we’re the greatest band in the world’ cos we’re not, or ‘we write the best songs’; I do think that we’re constructive and that we can help people, and I think it’s a positive thing to be involved in. Geffen wasn’t like that, it was very destructive and it was very negative thing to be involved in, because it wasn’t productive enough. You have to wait your turn for your record to come out. You have to record x amount of songs with x producer for x amount of money. With JPL we did whatever the fuck we wanted, and it was good.
JPL come across as being passionate in every sense; live, musically and lyrically…
A lot of people really like our lyrics because I don’t use any sort of flowery language, or just weird imagery for the sake of it. It’s all just there, some of it’s quite pretentious but deliberately so. I like ostentatious people and I like ostentatious songs and escapism and we are passionate about what we do, we love this band, we don’t know how long it will last, but we love ‘Zero For Conduct’ as a record and we’re looking forward to recording the next one. I really want, when all’s said and done, to look back at it when I’m in my 30s or 40s and go ‘yeah, we meant it.’ There’s a pride and no one can take it away,
With JPL, it seems to be all about the music. I love the artwork on 'Zero For Conduct' too, the way it is so bold and effective. And shiny.
I wanted the artwork and the record to be stripped down but not minimal. I wanted it to be straight up, straight away. The first vocal starts after 3 seconds. I just wanted that. It doesn’t need anything set up and that’s the concept; that’s also why the artwork’s in monochrome.
You were in the Face, how did that happen and how do you feel about it?
It’s really weird. They phoned up and someone got a photograph and I heard over the internet that they might be doing something… But recording the album the way we did, for no money and so on, we didn’t expect Jo Whiley to play it, we didn’t expect Steve Lamacq to play it, we didn’t expect to be in The Face, we didn’t expect to be in the NME, didn’t expect to get 5 Ks in Kerrang. That’s sounds like ‘oh, we’re so great,’ but I think that a lot of people just enjoyed the things that you enjoyed about the record and I think that’s what we forget about certain people who work in the industry, that they kinda like us a little bit.
Did you mind being lumped with all those other bands in that Face article? I mean did you understand when you looked at it, why you’d been put together? It labeled you as ‘art rock’, do you mind/see where they’re coming from?
I think what we do is really straight forward, but that it might be classed as ‘arty’ because of that. We might be sort of Miro-esque twist or, perhaps there’s something decadent about nothing being there, and maybe that’s what they picked up on. But as for British Sea Power, lovely guys, they played our last charity show at the Water Rats at Christmas, for free so we love them. The Faint I’ve never heard. Talking heads, they’re cool. It’s the spoken word thing we do aswell. It was nice of The Face to do it though, really helpful.
You’ve got a 2nd guitarist now, Cahir, how’s that going?
He’s only been in the band for 2 weeks, tonight is his first show in London, and it’s great having him there ‘cause a lot of the stuff I sing is quite weird timing wise and it’s really complex to do, so him being there is a big help. It will eventually allow us to play the full album, which we have never been able to do because the slower songs on the album are really big and lush sort of sounding, and you need more guitars to play them, which we do have now. Hopefully by the end of the summer people who love the album will be able to come back and see a whole different sort of set. We were only a 3 piece because we wanted to get rocking, we always intended to be a 4 piece.
What are your aspirations for this band?
The reason we’re doing this, I mean, I perceive us as a limpet on the hip of the music industry; we’re attached to it, but we’re outside it. Like a barnacle on a ship or something stupid like that. When it’s all said and done I would like to have affected some sort of positive change. I think if we can encourage young bands to release their own records without waiting for anyone else to tell them that they’re good, then we’ll have done something good. And that’s the bottom line, that’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re playing tonight. I’m dreading to use the word inspiration, because that entails that you’re some great force, but I do think that through straight talking and practicing what you preach, which we try to do, I think people will go, ‘well hang on, that’s dead easy to do, we could do that aswell!’ it’s not rocket science to release a record and get it distributed, and press your own shirts, if you care enough. Maybe we can start some sort of movement, cool promoters, fanzine writers, webzine writers, designers, film directors, all of us striving for the same goal, we can move mountains! People need to be more open minded though, we need to share all our contacts that we have and mistakes we’ve made. It’s like anything in civilization, if you sum your attributes you’ll be so much stronger.