Here’s a q and a with Jetplane Landing that ran in last month’s Big List.
Jetplane Landing Q and A
This month we meet much-loved Derry four-piece Jetplane Landing to talk about their recent resurrection, their brand new record and more.
Hi Jamie. Welcome back. When the band took a breather and went on hiatus in 2007, did you know you’d return with a new record one day?
Jamie Burchell [Bass,vocals]: “No, we hoped we might, but we weren’t sure. Everybody’s lives went in so many different directions. I moved to France, Cahir’s other band Fighting With Wire signed to Atlantic Records and he was whisked off into that madness, Raife started playing with lots of other bands and didn’t want to play with Jetplane anymore, and Andrew moved back to Ireland with his family where he really threw himself into establishing STA records. Many times during this period we spoke about the possibility of making a new Jetplane record, but sometimes you had to wonder if we were just gabbing on to cheer ourselves up.”
Did you have any reservations about resurrecting Jetplane Landing? Off the top of my head I can think of one band (Hot Water Music) who returned after a lengthy break stronger than before, but most have failed. Was that a concern when you first re-grouped?
Jamie: “Yes, there were many reservations. I mean you had to worry if we could get the old machine fired up and working again after so long. I guess it was when we started to really put the songs together for the record that we knew it was going to work. If these songs had been coming out substandard I am certain we would have binned the whole project. Because we have always made our own records, we have an unbelievably cruel editing process. The ten songs that you hear on the album are the result of hundreds of riffs, a book of ideas for words and hours of cutting and filtering.”
‘Don’t Try’ is an apt title for the new album. Were the writing and recording sessions as seamless and headache-free as they sound? It’s like you haven’t missed a beat.
Jamie: “The writing sessions were very strange. All the music started with Cahir’s riffs. Andrew and Cahir would then knock the best bits into some kind of demo form. Meanwhile I was merrily writing pages of words in the south of France, with no idea what any of this music sounded like. Eventually I heard some of the music and had suggestions and ideas, some of which were fed into the process. Andrew took the words I gave him (for all the songs except ‘Magnetic Sea,’ which are Andrew’s) and placed them with the music he thought they would fit with the best, cut them about, edited them to fit the songs. Cahir and Andrew formed tunes with these words over the demos and there it was: a whole album written by three people who were never in the one room together at the same time.
“The recording was all done in Derry, in STA’s own studio. I wasn’t there for much of it myself; I just flew in and played my bass. I believe it was a relatively painless recording process, as much as these things ever are. Cahir oversaw most of the sessions and edits along with Chris Cassidy, while Andrew oversaw the whole theme and style of the album. It was the first album we have had the chance to record in such a good studio without the clock ticking and the money flying out.”
It’s such a positive, powerful record and a perfect encapsulation of what Jetplane do best. How do you feel it ranks compared to the band’s back catalogue? For me, I think it may end up being the best thing you’ve done yet.
Jamie: “Thanks for the kind words. I think it’s our best record too. It’s the most pure Jetplane record. That is to say, on all of our other records at least at some point you can hear us ripping someone else off, but on this one we only sound like we’re ripping ourselves off. (That sounds like a missing Spinal Tap quote).”
You’ve got your first hometown show in eight years taking place at the Stables on Sep 13 .How are you feeling about that one?
Jamie: “I’m looking forward to all the shows on the tour. Derry has always been a weird gig for us if I am honest. When we were playing to good crowds in the rest of the UK we would come back to Derry and play in front of Andrew’s Mum and Dad and one or two others. It was always a tough show for us. I think that in the intervening years more people in Derry heard our music. Some Derry bands even say we’ve influenced them in the way they go about things, which is very flattering. I guess we’ve kind of seeped into Derry very slowly. That’s great. We’re good seepers. Hopefully a few more people show up this time around. I recommend that people come out and see us on this tour because I’m not sure when we’ll be out again.”
Finally, are Jetplane Landing back for good? Can we expect a fifth (and sixth) album?
Jamie: “I think the will is there within the band to make another record. We’ve had a pretty good run. We’ve made four albums and, in my opinion, they all stand up on their own, but you don’t want to push your luck too far, it might snap.”
‘Dont Try’ is out now on Smalltown America Records. Jetplance Landing play the Stable, Derry on Sep 13 and the Limelight 2, Belfast on Sep 14. independentmusic.com