Gold Jacks Talk About Life, The Universe, and Phil Collins

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Manc band Gold Jacks will perform as part of the Playing With Sound Label Launch Night on 26 February, at Night & Day Cafe, Manchester. They’ve  just recorded their new single at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool. Playing With Sounds’s Laura Dean band caught up with them and chatted about the new single, working with Record Producer Paul Reeve, being “effortlessly cool”, and Phil Collins...

LD: How did you arrive at the name ‘Gold Jacks’ for the band? 

Liam: It was just a throw away suggestion if we’re honest, but it kind of stuck. Liam’s granddad was in a band in 60’s called ‘The Black Jacks’ so it was little nod back to that.

LD: From Blackthorn Festival to the Deaf Institute, you were busy on the touring front in 2015. What’s been your favourite Gold Jacks gig so far?

Liam: Yeah, 2015 was quite a busy one on the gig front for us which was good. We released our first self-funded single at the start of the year (‘One Kinda Woman’) and then went on into festival season, playing Blackthorn, Beat Herder, Glass Butter Beach and Liverpool Calling amongst others. The standout gig of last year though has to be the ‘One Kinda’ Woman’ single launch at Night & Day Café. The gig was mad and the place was rammed out. 

James: Yeah, that gig was ace. I remember at one point this lad was on his mate’s shoulders. It’s really not that kind of venue so it was surreal to see.

LD: You’ve been dubbed as ‘effortlessly cool’ on more than one occasion – what musician do you think is effortlessly cool?

Liam: If someone wants to call us ‘effortlessly cool’ we’re not going to stop them! I’m not really sure what it means, but it can’t be a bad thing…can it?! Someone who disobeys indoor smoking laws. That’s dead cool.

James: Isaac Hayes. His voice alone made me feel strange in my unders.

Tom: Phil Collins.

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LD: Your songs all have enticing and strong intros (on ‘Take It Back’ in particular) – is that something you think is of great importance when you’re writing songs?

Liam: The first 8 bars have to grab you. That doesn’t mean they have to be full throttle, with loads of energy but they definitely have to ‘pull you in’.

James: Stu often says that he knows if he’s going to like a song within the first 10 seconds. I think there’s a lot of power in that. But on the flip side I love a good slow burner that’s an unreleased track from a record. You know that the listener has already “Bought into the band” so there’s’ no pressure to wow them straight off the bat.

LD: You’ve definitely put your own stamp on the ‘rock and roll’ genre and intertwine blues into your music, are you a fan of those genres when listening to music yourselves?

Liam: It’s difficult to ‘pigeon hole’ our sound. We each have different influences and tastes.

James: I love everything about the genre, but I rarely listen to it in my spare time. At the moment I’m in a real Jazz-fusioney/world music place. Listening to stuff that’s a million miles from Gold Jacks really helps let us step outside of the boundaries when it feels right.

Stu: And I’m a big fan of classic 60’s stuff and soul and I grew up with the Brit pop thing. I think we all have different ideas about what a song should be which keeps us on our toes!

LD: If you were going to collaborate with an artist of your choice then who would you choose?

Liam: Put me in a studio with Jack White and Josh Homme. No seriously, can we sort that out?

James: Jamiroquai. That collab would be total sex.

Liam: You what J?!

Stu: Don’t know about collaborating but I wouldn’t mind going for a pint with Josh Homme and Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys. Seem like my kind of guys.

Tom: Anyone but Jamiroquai. Phil Collins?

LD: How has being signed to Playing With Sound influenced you as a band?

Liam: Signing to PWS has given us the great opportunity to record our upcoming single, ‘On Your Heels’, at the legendary Parr Street Studios in Liverpool. They’ve also helped out with the social media and PR side of things too, so it’s certainly a been a big help so far!

Stu: And we get to show off the new track. It evolved in the studio so can’t wait to play it live again.

LD: What are you looking forward to about playing at the Playing With Sound Launch Night later on this month?

Liam: We love playing Night & Day Café because of its intimate vibe. The crowd are right on the stage with you! We’re looking forward to playing alongside No Hot Ashes too.

Tom: Phil Collins.

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LD: You’ve just recorded your new single which is due for release on the Playing With Sound label, what can we expect from it?

Liam: We’re really excited about this one. We’ve been playing it live on-and-off for just under a year now but have been desperate to get it recorded. It’s weird. It has some crazy time signatures, a ton of fuzz, and a load of energy. It started off with a bass riff and we just built on it from there. The song follows the story of a somewhat anti-hero perusing his nemesis. Who needs love stories anyway?!

James: It will take you on a real epic journey, but also super slick. It’s like Lord of the Rings in a smoking jacket.

Stu: Haha, something like that, yeah.

LD: You recorded the single at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool where Blossoms recently recorded their debut album, how was that?

Liam: The weekend in there was incredible. It was our first real taste of a top-level studio and we were blown away. We’re familiar with the place as a lot of our favourite bands have recorded in there like The ‘Phonics, The Coral, and Elbow. We even bumped into the lads from The Coral while we were recording which was cool!

Stu: It’s was awesome to be able to turn up in the morning, fire up this classic Hammond and start coming up with some parts. That’s just not been a possibility before.

LD: What was it like working with record producer Paul Reeve on the new single? It must have been exciting that he’s worked with Muse and Supergrass.

Liam: Working with Paul was such a good experience. He really made sure the track reached its potential and we can’t thank him enough.

James: Yeah that guy knows. He’s one cool mf.

LD: What else in store for Gold Jacks in 2016?

Liam: After the single launch we’ll be gearing up towards festival season. The back end of the year is still a bit of unknown at this stage but we’d love to release a fully-fledged EP before the year is out.

Thank you to the Gold Jacks guys for the interview!

Details of the Playing With Sound label launch night can be found here. You can find Gold Jacks online on Twitter and Facebook. Stream their music on Spotify.

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