Embracing individual shadows and unique lights: an interview with Katie Buckett of Jingo

jingo1

Across the past twelve months or so, UK based band Jingo has been one of the biggest surprises and persistently unique propositions to keep the site excited and busy with a regular presentation of singles. Recently the band unveiled the final three tracks in a series of four which were released one by one over a four track period. As almost expected now but always impressed by, the songs came with individual character and stylishly varied sounds wrapped in an equally mesmeric imagination.

There was the poetically evocative Before You Were Born, a song which opens with the ever sirenesque voice of Katie Buckett courted by just as elegant melodic caresses and pungent keys. Heart bred and emotively enchanting, the song immerses senses and thoughts in a striking aural narrative which grows and brews in intensity across its length, Kate’s husband Jack alongside Joseph Reeves and Sahil Batra casting a magnetic web of sound and vocal support, not forgetting sonic drama which is mouthwatering. It is a glorious song which shares diversity and startling persuasion with Home, another song which is able to simultaneously seduce and inflict an intrusive adventure upon the imagination and passions. The drama of the previous song is again, as across most of their songs, a thick temptation which shares shadows and sultry colour with the equally delicious sounds and gripping premise of the encounter. The track is a brilliant aural movie for mind and heart, a provocative suitor for ears and senses, and an ingenious lover for the imagination, just like the last of the single released in that aforementioned quartet. Turn Around is rhythmic enticement around which vocals and harmonies flame and melodies dance with a flirtatious summer bred festivity. Again the track offers something new from and about Jingo. It is a trait all of their ten plus singles has succeeded in impressing by, here a Caribbean swagger and warmth aligned to a psychedelic coaxing a bewitching venture to which Katie excels, once again.

Jingo is a band which surely cannot be a British secret for much longer, their invention and craft too big to be contained you suspect and hope, especially with the forthcoming release of their debut album which the band are finishing as you read. With a long overdue move to find out much more about the band; its past, present, and future we had the pleasure of having Katie share time with us and revealing…

 

Hey Katie and welcome to the site, thank you for talking with us.

Thanks for liking our music.

Tell us about the beginnings of Jingo, where it all started and on which side of the ocean; oh and was it band or romance first? 😉

Jack (guitar) and Joe (drums) brought their band to New York for six months to live the dream. They rented a basement flat in The McKibbin Lofts, a converted warehouse in Bushwick where I had been living for a couple years. I ran an open mic in the building where I first met them and there was a really great community vibe in the area so I guess you could say music brought us together, but it all really came together when Jack and I got married and we decided I should move to London. It was tough, I trained long and hard, but sure enough I mustered the strength to swim across the Ocean. Soon after their other band came to an end, we started playing music and calling it a band little over a year ago.

So what specifically inspired the relocation to London from the US?

Well Jack said in the event of a nuclear catastrophe, in which the only way he could survive was to move to the US, he would only just consider it, so I packed my bags.

Did Jingo start out with any specific intent and vision for the music and its presence? jingo3

The most important thing has always been making good music. Sometimes I make the mistake of asking Joe if my hair looks okay and he always says, “I don’t give a shit.” People sometimes ask questions about our varying styles of songs or our fluctuating stage antics but we don’t really care. We’re still growing and I think our attitude towards the music will lead us in the right direction. A Jingo can be stuck in their ways and no one wants to be that guy.

As evidenced by the mass of singles released over the past couple of years, your sound is as diverse as it is contagious; how would you describe your music in a single sentence for newcomers?

Rock and Roll Dinosaur Electronia that the girls can dance to.

Listening to your songs you get the feeling that they organically spring to life with their own ideas on character and then you hone and sculpt them; how does the songwriting works within the band?

Usually I’ll have the skeleton of a song with some words and Jack will refine the melody, then we’ll jam it out in the studio. Sometimes it will start with a guitar riff or more recently we’ll jam the whole song into being. We never really know when a song is going to come out, but at the moment they are coming out our ears. We don’t like to be very formulaic we just take them as they come.

It is a democracy when it comes to creating songs or is there a core source more often than not?

It is a democracy in the sense that whatever sounds the best is law. Sometimes it’s a matter of demonstrating your point, but most times we end up agreeing in the end. People naturally fall into their roles. Jack is definitely the band leader, lyrics are mostly all me, but the all-round writing of the song is very much a group endeavour.

Your songs always, however emotively shadowed they might be, come with a stroll and smile; this is a reflection of you as people and your wants from good music?

I think that even if you write a sad or dark song, you want the listener to enjoy the experience of listening to your music. Bad experience can unite us and a bumping beat is the best remedy. And you can never take yourself too seriously.

What inspires the lyrical side of your music? Some of the songs are quite dark at their core.

It’s not the same for everyone in the band, but for me art can be a sort of therapy. There are some things that have happened in life that are hard to conceptualize in any other way besides writing a song. I had a troubled friend who killed herself and our song Jaclyn is a combination of anger and loving life in her honour. Sometimes rocking out and screaming your heart out is better than suppressing love and loss where no light can get to it.

As mentioned you have released a tide of singles, how do you see your sound has evolved and grown since the first and the recent Turn Around?

I don’t think we’ve found a specific sound yet, but we are starting to play a lot more songs that aren’t as dark. Jack had only just started music production with these first recordings, so we’re definitely improving fast in that way. We’re becoming a lot more relaxed with each other and with our new band-mate Chris, who also produces electronic music. We’re really excited for what the future holds.

You are obviously a band who pushes themselves and embraces different styles and flavours; what past and currently has inspired you most potently?

I think we all get down with the music our parents listened to in the 60s and 70s- Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, King Crimson, Jimi, Beatles, . We are all avid music listeners. Our heroes of now are Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Tame Impala, Grizzly Bear, Lana Del Rey, Prince, Haim, First Aid Kit the list is endless.

jingo4Live you are renown for your exciting performances, your first ever show being support for Blur’s Graham Coxon. How did that come about?

We run an open mic called Cable Street Electric. Once in a while we do a charity night, one of those was at Mother London in Shoreditch. When they wanted to do their own charity night for Shelter, they thought of us and invited us to play, just so happens Graham Coxon was playing after us, pretty dope.

Would you say it put you swiftly under a certain spotlight or it did not really aid the emergence of the band other than in experience?

It’s always great to play for fresh ears. I don’t know if we really benefitted especially from that night as far as the band goes, but it makes for a great story and none of us will ever forget it.

I am assuming band members have a ‘real ‘life’ and job outside of the band, so how does Jingo manage to be so prolific with their songwriting?

We’re really lucky in that music is what we do. We intentionally don’t have full-time jobs so that we can put as much into our music as possible. We all have certain skills that we can get by with for living costs, but the music is always at the forefront of our minds. We practice often, have a good work ethic, but also have a ton of fun doing it.

What has been your favourite single to date, or the one which you feel epitomises Jingo for new ears?

That’s a hard one, I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but I really liked the release of When You Want Me. We won a competition where we got to record at Strongroom studios where Radiohead and a load of others have recorded. It felt for a second like we were big dogs and they treated us really well and we got to tinker with all their toys.

Tell us about your forthcoming EP? What can we expect and how does it push on from the excellent singles which have already seduced so many?

It’s a full album silly! We are releasing our last couple songs with the record and they are quite fresh so we’re really excited about it. Also I’m a painter, so I get to do some artwork for it so I’m pretty pumped about that. There are some surprises with all that and two new music videos coming out around the same time. We aim to please.

Your singles have all been released for free downloads, are you going the same way with the album?

Nothing is final but we are definitely selling our album. With putting out free singles we really wanted to build a fan base and give everyone a chance to get to know us, I hope our fans will return the favour and purchase a copy so we can make more and tour potentially.

What were the ambitions for the band when it first began and for you when first making music, and have they changed or evolved since?

The ambition has always been to make great music; I don’t think that will change. The next cloud would be to make a living at it, I think we are well on our way but only time and hard work will tell. Maybe I can get the guys to all wear animal costumes, I’d get a kick outta that.

What is planned for the rest of 2014?jingo2

There are definitely secrets in store of which I can’t divulge. All I can say is stay tuned; album, videos and more to come soon.

Again a big thank you for chatting with us and providing such great and richly loved songs for our podcasts 🙂

Thank you so much for listening and sharing, we owe it to people like you putting a signal out.

Any last thought you would like to leave us contemplating?

All you need is mom’s spaghetti, a brick and a bin bag.

Lastly if you could schedule a stage at a festival with Jingo headlining, what emerging bands which you have played with or come across would you invite?

Not Blood Paint, Bird Courage, Bailiff, Pat Dam Smyth, Bad for Lazarus, Steve Nelson

http://jingomusic.com/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 08/06/2014

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The Commander-In-Chief Interview

Right now there is an artist who is stirring up a multitude of emotions and hearts within the metal/rock world with her immensely explosive and exciting debut EP. The lady in question is The Commander-In-Chief, one of the most impressive emerging talents to hit rock in a long time.  The singer, songwriter and a masterful mesmeric exponent of the7 string guitar, has just released the Evolution EP, produced by the legendary Sterling Winfield, to ever growing waves of acclaim and feverish demand for her time. The Ringmaster Review had the pleasure and honour of being able to find out more about this extraordinary talent and we are reliably informed learnt more about The Commander than anyone had previously before.

Hello and welcome to The Ringmaster Review. Many thanks for taking time to talk with us here.

Firstly and quite simply would you introduce yourself, The Commander and the band The Commander –In-Chief?

I am a 22 year old female Norwegian singer/songwriter/7 string guitarist/shredder.

I’m a solo-artist.

Could you give some history to your life so far?

I did visual arts for years. I always had ideas for songs, but never pursued music since I had some horrible experiences with music teachers who hated me, as a kid. Music teachers, just like art teachers in school, have a tendency to HATE creative students who do not fit into their definition of greatness. I actually failed music in school and I was denied to be part of the music program in High School. They actually put me in the IB program without any artistic classes. I hated that so much I decided to drop out and stayed home for a week. That was when my mom told them they were killing my creative spirit and I got transferred to the art program. Having said so, I had some truly important art teachers after that who did their best to convince me to pursue that road. I would say I had 4 great art teachers, one truly important guitar mentor and my irreplaceable vocal coach.

At what age did you know music was your future and when did you first pick up a guitar?

Music was always part of my life as far as I can remember. I did not pick up a guitar until 2005.

I knew what I wanted to do, and there was no way I was gonna let anything get in my way. I got lot of static in the beginning, but I just brushed that aside. 3 years down the road, people starting realising I was very serious.

Considering your impressive skill and young age how long did it take you to master the instrument to this level and how much dedication and work did you put into it?

Musicians often think they are Gods unrivalled gift to music, I have never thought of myself that way.

I always focused on all the things I could not do rather than what I could do, and never realised I was any good at all, until after some years. When I look back now I think I did always did pretty well. My greatest passion has always been and will always be creating, so I spent all my time on that. Funny enough, my greatest development happened when I kicked visual arts out of my life and decided to focus all my time on music.

I wanted to be a good guitarist and songwriter more than anything. If you think about it, It’s a pretty modest goal. If you set your mind to learn something and/or create something, it really just depends on your will power and where this will take you.

You play a seven string guitar, did you graduate to this through the more normal six stringer, and why this as your eventual choice?

First 6 strings, just tried a 7 just for the heck of it, then I fell in love.

It allows me to transcribe my music in a way I find intriguing. I can play with dynamics, going from heavy to HEAVY. Counterbalance my vocals nicely. At the end of the day, I like it, which is the most important reason.

What are your musical influences leading you into making music and on the guitarist side?

Deep Purple, Slayer, James Brown, Windir, Jefferson Airplane, Randy Rhoades….etc….etc…..

Have you always been a metal hearted girl?

Yes, only difference being that I became more interested in extreme metal acts and more up-to-date on current trends in the genre, once I started playing. I saw the genre from the perspective as a guitarist always looking for a challenge, instead of perceiving the genre as a music listener.

What came first, writing songs or being able to play?

Writing songs, that was my main motivation, and the song always comes first. I still consider myself a songwriter, above all.

Being able to play, means playing boring exercises and having an even more boring practise diary…accompanied by the unmatched beauty of a metronome…….you can make it interesting by writing your own exercises, that is how I learned tapping.

You have just released your impressive debut EP Evolution; you must be pleased with the response to it, an element of surprise too how fast it is catching the attention of people?

Makes me very happy! I think the greatest shock to me was the Paranoid release actually, as I had never had a feature or even been mentioned by any big blogs or magazines until all of a sudden that cover was all over the place. It makes me happy to see that my music fan base is growing and pleased to see that people are buying my music in an age when nobody really does.

The release has a distinct commentary on certain aspects of man, whether the abuse of science, the world of fake celebrity importance etc, does this show you are not a love song kind of writer haha?

Hahaha, you have a lot of songwriters who can fill in that gap, not that there is any, anyway lol

I am a good observer, and good art or funny lyrics will always come out of that.

I also took an early interest in social issues and was one of those annoying Amnesty International kids in high school, talking about issues nobody cared about then, and few still care about now. On one of my longer stays in Norway, when I was 17, I wrote some opinions/letters about Norwegian society (under another pseudonym), two of them were published. One of them resulting in a main article/almost full page in a nationwide newspaper. That was when I started writing lyrics and the first lyrics were the ones for THOU.

The variety of songs also indicates inspiration can hit you from any direction or with any theme, is that how it is?

Yepp, it’s cool, but it can be annoying if I do not have something to write on and with. Then I just have to rely on remembering the idea, which I usually do. My notebooks are a total mess and sometimes not even I can decipher my handwriting. My ideas can be found on toilet paper rolls, napkins, bus tickets, receipts, guitar string packages … lol … My worst nightmare was when I threw out something I thought was garbage and it was the full lyrics for a song. I could never recover that one and it still bugs me today.

Let It Go is a personal song I believe, I am right in thinking it was inspired by your younger brother? Would you elaborate on that and its wider dedication?

It is about trying to reach out to someone you care about who suffers, but do not want to talk about it. You know something is not right, but you don’t know what …You do not really know what to say either, so you try your best at being encouraging, without truly knowing what the source of the problem is.

You recorded Evolution with Sterling Winfield doing the production duties. Legendary for his work with Pantera and Hatebreed to name just two, how did your link up with him come about?

I heard him on a speaker phone with my manager, talking about how awesome he thought my songwriting was. He had obviously heard my demo as he was referring to those tracks. I thought he had contacted us first, but apparently my manager sent him a link, and then he called us, which was the phone conversation I walked into.

First he was meant to re-mix the demo, first songs being Paranoid and an unreleased original track. We decided not to remix anymore after those two, but rather focus our attention on recording songs from scratch.

We got a chance to do this in December, when we recorded 5 tracks, 4 of those resulting in the Evolution EP.

I am assuming you have a definite direction you see your songs going in as you write them how much did that alter if at all by working with Sterling?

Haha, his main job was to say NO!. I wanted to have dive-bombs on top of the tapping intro of Evolution, I had an idea for a congas in Famous and several background vocal arrangements for Thou and Evolution and a steel guitar intro for Let it go, all of which were totally rejected, lol .. luckily.

He is a funny guy to work with. Great producer and I think the combination of his extensive experience and my overly creative brain, makes a good combination, hahaha!

You are a songwriter open to suggestions and advice?

Hmmm … I will let you make an ass of yourself, trying to convince me ….. It’s dangerous to be a dictator… I will try things out, don’t expect me to like it or embrace it….

How long did the EP take to record? I ask as I hear you are unrelenting at times in your energy haha.

I did what I had to do in 11 days, well actually 10,one of those days was dedicated to bass … I recorded all vocals and came up with new ideas and variations as I recorded. Sterling wanted to try out how will this sound like with head voice, how will this sound like with chest voice, how will this sound like with head doubled with a chest voice 

I recorded rhythm and lead as well, and improvised some of the lead stuff, like the solo in Thou and some licks in Famous, I recorded 3 tracks of rhythms and wrote new arrangements as we worked our way thru the songs. To do all that in so few days, I think I almost drove everybody crazy with my energy. The short day in studio we worked 12 hours…lol

This is really an unfair question but what the heck hehe. Is there in hindsight anything on the EP which you would change or tweak?

No, I am done with these songs.

Conversely is there any moment that you are especially proud of?

Yes, I loved recording the vocals for Evolution as this is my favourite vocal line of all the vocal lines I have written. I was proud of all the solos, my favourite being the un-released one, funny enough. I guess it is hard to see yourself from the outside, so I surprised myself just as much as a surprised Sterling and my manager, haha. I was very happy when I was done recording rhythms for Thou – that was my proudest guitar moment – and the only time I had a little drink to celebrate, lol.

Are you a constantly active live band?

I bring in musicians when I need them … I will be doing more gigs from now on, as my main focus with all these demo recordings etc has been to develop my sound etc. I think I’ve done more than enough of that, I’m ready to go out and kick some f%$#@&*^  ass!

Is it just the trio onstage or do you add additional guitarists to bring your sound forth?

No other guitarist wanted.

Are you hard on them when they cannot match your own skill and creativity haha?

I have come to accept that you have two kinds of musicians, those who write and those who just wanna play. You cannot be an ass just because people are different, so as long as nobody is greedy and start making all kinds of outrageous demands, I’m okay.

Any shows lined up to promote the release?

Yes, In the UK, gonna play Bloodstock in August as well

What is next for The Commander-In-Chief?

I obviously need to be touring ,that is what people wanna see and that’s how you get a career in this industry. Personally: I wanna get a huge full length album out, I got lots of songs and I also want to re-record songs from demos etc …. my main goal as a creative person is to record as much as possible, I know what kind of videos I want, and usually have illustration ideas for my lyrics. On a different note I also design my own outfits, so I would be very happy to see all these ideas come to life, once and for all.

A great thank you for sparing time to talk with us, and good luck with Evolution not that you will need it.

Hmmm…you always need luck and someone, eventually many, who believes in you

Just like the Evolution EP does, would you like to leave with some words to fire up the readers?

Please check me out and buy my EP, and a t-shirt!! Tell your friends

Read the Evolution EP review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/the-commander-in-chief-evolution-ep/

The RingMaster Review 15/03/2012

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