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NA Gets to Know Jake and the Jellyfish

by: Afton Lynn

Jake and the Jellyfish took the time to talk to NA about their new album dropping April 26th, Dead Weight, and give us some insight into their personal lives.

First and foremost, thank you for sitting down and interviewing with us! So, I have to know, how did the name Jake and the Jellyfish come about? (It is “Jake and” and not “Jake &,” correct?)

I suppose it’s either “&” or “and,” depending on our mood! It came about because our bassist, Caffs, got stung by a Jellyfish in the sea once and Jake had to urinate on his leg and…well, there you go!

How did the four of you meet and decide that this is what you want to do for the rest of your lives?

Most of us met at Uni. We were doing Music Performance and just got on really well, I suppose. We knew Caffs from a previous band. He was, at the time, working at Subway and I (Jake) went in one day and asked if he fancied playing bass for our new band. Romantic.

Your Second album Dead Weight will be released on April 26th. How does this album differ from your first album?

Well, the first album was very much Jake’s songs that had been band-ed up. {Our first album had] a few songs that were written as a band (“Credit Cards,” “People Watching,” etc.), whereas this album feels much more [like] a “band.” We’ve played a lot of shows since the last album, and worked on the new songs more and more. I think that that live feel has really come across in the new album. There’s much more energy. Though the folky element is still very much present!

Does this album have a theme to it or any special meanings, or is it dedicated to anyone in particular?

I guess if it has any theme, it’s coming out of Uni and being like “Now what…?” There’s a few songs about unemployment and trying to balance what you want to do, with you know, actually living!

Where are you touring for this album’s release? Are these familiar places?

We’re touring the UK up and down, then in Europe in the summer, as well as a bunch of festivals. A lot of places we’ve been before, and love.

You have a new video for your song “23.” What inspired the making of the video? Does the guy running symbolize anything in particular? What does the number 23 mean in this song?

What we wanted to come across in the video was the idea of life throwing stuff at you. All you want to do is run, and you have to deal with all the shit coming your way. I (Jake) wrote the song when I was 23, and was properly feeling in rut. Now it’ll be released when I’m closer to 25! Ha!

I love your music, I love the sound, but it’s very unique. What genre of music do you typically see yourself as or get labeled as?

We often get labeled a folk ska band. I suppose it’s not wrong. But we’re a lot louder than that, and think we incorporate quite a bunch of styles.

Your song “Hypocrites” was one of my personal favorites. What inspired the lyrics? Do you think society, people as a whole, are hypocrites in today’s world?

That song was inspired by the fact that nobody’s perfect, and that life isn’t simple. Which is why “we’re all hypocrites, just to a greater or lesser extents” felt suitable for the song.

Now for the personal one-on-one questions.

Jake, you’re the vocals of the band. How long have you been singing? What song of yours was/is your favorite to sing and why?

For years! I had singing lessons when I was a kid. Which definitely doesn’t show any more. Hmm, I love singing them all, but the faster ones are more fun. Though saying that, “Dotted Line” is so much fun when people are singing back at us.

Rich, have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage or in front of a large group of people? And I see that you play both the guitar and the violin: which one do you like to play better? Which was easiest to learn?

Not really on stage; generally I’m pretty embarrassed by my violin playing on our old EP, Landfills. It was pretty much the first time I’d played the thing in about six years so my technique was pretty awful. Unfortunately, it’s the version of the dotted line that’s used for the music video, which is still getting views on YouTube. I can’t even listen to it.

Caffs, hey, cool name! Where did it originate from? You play the bass, and don’t tell anyone else, but that’s my favorite instrument! Where is your favorite place that you toured?

Thanks. My last name is Cafferkey so my friends at school, being the cool kids they were, shortened it and it pretty much stuck.

Ah, there’s nothing wrong with slappin’ da bass! We’ve been to loads of awesome places and seen some incredible things, but Bled in Slovenia has to be my favorite place. We slept in the van outside the train station for three days so we were pretty smelly, but the views were in unbelievable.

Steve, what is the craziest thing a fan has ever done? Anything crazy ever happened at a concert, or while you’re out in public? Also, any advice you would give to someone who may feel like they are different, don’t fit in, or aren’t popular enough or good enough?

I don’t think much has happened outside of the box fan wise…yet! After my first gig with the jellyfish (supporting the amazing skints), I did get recognized at a gig the next day, when Caffs was also at the gig and got nothing. Though I was also shopping with my family in Lincoln and a guy with a jellyfish [T-shirt] on stared straight through me and walked off. We also did make a podcast about beans on one of our tours, and the promoter turned up with many varieties of different beans for our consumption, too. That was kind of cool. I don’t know if any of these anecdotes answer your question?

It’s a little deep this [second] one (that’s what she said). “Don’t give a damn about what people think,” would be the obvious answer. Being an individual and being different from everyone else is how the world progresses. Even if you feel that you don’t fit in, if you’re just confident in who you want to be, then people will accept you for who you are anyway. I think Derren Brown said something along the lines of there is no such thing as confidence, it’s just the way you react in certain situations. So if you feel under confident in the person that you are, maybe try and change the response you give when people challenge you about it, from negative to positive. Am I talking shit?…I feel like I’m slightly talking shit?

Now for a few random, fun questions.

Favorite fast food restaurant?

Jake: None! Though I do love proper Chip shop chips…

Caffs: Not so much a fast food place, but Number 55 cafe in Kirkstall. Best bacon butties in Leeds and the family who run it are amazing!

Rich: On tour I quite often get a Maccies Breakfast. I always end up disappointed though; it’s never worth it.

Steve: Favorite fast food has to be a cheeky bit of KFC. I don’t really like fast food, but KFC is actually pretty damn good! Them 11 herbs and spices, man. They’re onto something.

Favorite female singer?

Jake: Currently? Laura Stevenson.

Caffs: Stevie Nicks.

Rich: Debbie Harry. I do like a bit of Blondie, or maybe Nanna from Of Monsters and Men. I don’t think her vocals are particularly standout but they work well with the other singer; they just complement each other really well.

Steve: Favorite singer is like asking someone their favorite band. It just constantly changes depending on the day or mood, but right now there is this female rapper (I think she is called Lady of Rage) on “Doggy Style” by Snoop Dog. She’s so aggressively rhythmical and clever. I need to look up more of her stuff!

What alcoholic beverage would you have to celebrate your birthday or New Year’s?

Jake: Hmm, maybe Jaiper by Thornbridge. Lovely, lovely hops.

Caffs: Guinness.

Rich: I’m pretty boring really: just a nice larger, something Eastern European?

Steve: NYE Dink has to be either a pint of cold Guinness, or some decent Irish whiskey…smooth yet spicy. You know the kind.

Favorite song by you guys and why?

Jake: At the moment it’s “Don’t Follow The Leader.” [It’s] so much fun live! Steve likes “Coffee Tally” because he has a right moment at the end of it!

Caffs: Think I would have to choose “Dead Weight.” I’ve got a pretty fun bass line and it has the word “cunt” in the chorus.

Rich: From the new album I really like “Dead Weight.” When Jake first played us what he’d written for it I could hear what my part was going to be in my head straight away. I got a bit precious about it and I remember once shooting down one of Steve’s suggestions because it wouldn’t have fit with what was in my head.

Thank you guys so much for stopping by and talking with myself and all of us here at No Apologies Magazine!

Stay tuned for the ultimate review on the new album dropping next month, Dead Weight, as NA will also be reviewing this amazing new album when it hits!

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