I was lucky enough to interview Melbourne based band Jet ahead of their Shepherds Bush Empire show in London on Sunday after winning a competition with GigsAndTours. From the phenomenal worldwide success of debut album “Get Born” in 2003 Jet were catapulted onto the music scene with a raw, hard rock sound and with the likes of The Strokes, Kings Of Leon and the White Stripes. Since “Get Born” Jet have release two more albums: “Shine On” (2006) and more recently “Shaka Rock” (2009). Both albums have reached commercial success however have been criticised by some for not reaching the bar set in “get born”.
After watching a sound check I managed to catch up with Cam Muncey, the lead guitarist from the band.
How do you find touring Europe in comparison with Australia? It’s better. Life on the road can be boring especially in Australia when you can drive for 10 hours and nothing changes. In Europe that’s totally different, there’s just so many great places here. However, I love being home as anyone does, and touring itself doesn’t have any character because all you’re doing is driving or flying or whatever and after a while it gets pretty boring.
Obviously you play a lot of countries on your dates, which country would you say has the best crowds, atmosphere etc? London is great, the UK crowds are always up for it which is amazing and I live in London myself so I love the place. Japan have a very unique way of interpreting music; it could be said the fans are almost like a cult in Japan. The group of people who like western music are really into it, almost like an obsession, which is great for us. I was surprised at how much the Swiss were into it as well.
When you broke out in 2003, it was in a similar time that bands like the Strokes, and the White Stripes were also coming onto the scene. Was it harder for you to keep up with these bands as they were from the US and you were from Australia on the other side of the world? We just had to get away from it really and put ourselves out there and move away. Once we managed to break into America it managed to sort itself out around the world, because both the UK and the US have great music scenes. We always had the mindsets that if it didn’t work in the US or around the world, we could always go back home to Australia and we would always have support there, and we relied on that.
Shaka Rock almost has a bluesy feel to some of the tracks and you have really gone back to your roots with this one, and are more “comfortable in your skins” as it were. What’s your favourite piece of work you guys have done and why? Well you can never recreate that first one you know, because it’s so new and exciting, we had such an exhilarating time with it. I’m really pleased with this album (Shaka Rock) because we co-produced it ourselves so we had lots of freedom over this album to make it sound how we wanted. We also changed labels, which was a big thing for us. At first producing the album was daunting, however in hindsight it’s been a good move for us.
Some bands say they experience a moment, an out of body experience as such, in which they just feel “yes, we’ve made it”. Have you experienced this feeling yourself? When we play big gigs we naturally get nervous, so I play a confidence trick on myself and play it down acting like it’s not a big gig at all. I guess the nerves of a huge show almost take away that feeling of “we’ve made it” as you said, but once you get into a huge gig and start enjoying it, it’s amazing. For example when we played Madison square garden with Oasis, we went out there thinking, “we’re going to show Oasis…", and we were almost competitive!
Do you manage to keep up with new music on smaller labels? Yeah definitely, when I’m at home and not touring it’s a great time to look into new music. On tour there are too many distractions and I just love going to a record shop and actually buying something I can hold, I hate buying records over the Internet.
So are you a vinyl man then? Not really, I just stick with CD’s to be honest, although I do have an old “technics” turntable, which my brother gave me, which I need to set up really, it’s just finding the time you know.
You’re playing with General Fiasco tonight, do you usually get to pick your support acts when you go on tour? Yeah we usually have an input however tonight it was organised by someone else. We’re playing with Powderfinger in Australia next month, which we’re really looking forward to, as it’s their farewell tour and they are like a national institution, like the oasis of Australia. We like to pick the support acts when we can - we’ve had some great support acts in the past.
Was starting your own label hard for you? Not really as we haven’t really done anything with it yet, we’re just waiting for the right project to come along, and when it does we’ll try and develop it and do something with it.
At this point Jet’s manager turned up as we had ran out of time.....