We recently caught up with Jekyll an Alternative Rock Band from Blackpool:
Could you tell us a little bit about the band, your story?
Jekyll comprises Joel Foster, Jonny Chatterton, Lewis Armistead and Liam Singleton and are lauded for their atmospheric sound and dynamic live shows. Joel and Lewis originally met in high school, before they could play any instruments, and quickly bonded over their mutual love of music. They made plans to learn guitar and bass and form a band, drafting in Lewis’ cousin, Liam, as a drummer to complete the outfit. After a couple of years gigging as a three-piece, we decided to employ Jonny as a second guitarist and vocalist to expand our sound.
You recently released an EP, ‘Wounds’ ; could you tell us about the recording process?
We were invited to record at Steel City Studios (Sheffield), a while back, with Phil Gornell, who is the FOH sound engineer for Bring Me The Horizon and All Time Low. It was a fantastic experience and we left the studio with ‘The Wounds We’ve Ignored’. Up until that point, despite our efficiency in the studio, we had never been fully satisfied with any of our past recordings, but this track blew our minds; we fully believed that Phil had captured our sound perfectly. Following this, we decided to book more time at Steel City Studios to record a couple more tracks, with the aim of releasing a new EP. We returned to the studio and recorded ‘Cramp’, one of the first songs that we wrote, and a brand new track, ‘Othello’. While we were in the process of designing the EP, we decided that we wanted another track included to add variety to the track list; an acoustic-led and rhythmic song named ‘Unspoken’. We chose to record ‘Unspoken’ with our good friend, Nick Gizzi, at his studio, The Den (Burnley), as we trusted him to get the best out of the song and we loved the relaxed and experimental atmosphere at The Den.
What is your most memorable moment as a band so far?
Though we all have our own brilliant memories, a collective favourite would have to be when we played Manchester’s O2 Ritz in January 2016. To appear on the same massive stage as some of our favourite bands – just months after Joel had seen Travis, The Drums, The Horrors and Maximo Park play there- was a huge privilege and will forever be something we just can’t wait to brag about to our mates.
When you are writing a song what comes first: is it the lyrics or music, or a mix of both?
When writing a song, the music always comes first. We are naturally drawn to extended and sliding, chromatic harmony in our songs and always try to incorporate an ethereality through sonic means. One of our favourite techniques is using unresolved or suspended harmony to pull the listener through the music, seeking some resolution. Once a basic song is formed, the lyrics follow; the lyrics in our songs tend to focus on the emancipation of heavy emotions at a young age and the perplexity and hurt that inevitably follows.
Is your name a reference to the famous novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde? If so, does the band represent a different side of your personalities?
Yes, our name was chosen after the famous novel, ‘Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. Admittedly, at the time, we just thought the name and the plot of the story were cool, but, as we have progressed, it is probably fair to say that we have grown to fit the name. The contrast between darkness and light is a theme that has increasingly filtered into our music. On some level, you could definitely say that the band represents a different side to us. Lyrically, the music we create is representative of the emotions we hide and is our way of letting it out.
You have played in various places in the North-West of England. Does the music scene differ from city to city?
The music scene obviously varies from city to city. Since we come from a seaside town, with a transient population and little student presence, there tends to be a want for cabaret rather than anything that is new or fresh. Music venues in Blackpool that support original and new music tend to have a short shelf-life. However, a short trip from home (Preston, Manc, Liverpool) brings appreciative audiences and awesome support.
I met you at MMINE Networking event at The Deaf Institute. Do you go to many networking events? How important is networking for new unsigned bands?
Up until now, we have only been to a handful of networking events, but we believe that they are essential in trying to develop a band. Making the effort to go and enjoy your contemporaries’ music is rewarding on so many levels, and you often gain wonderful friendships from doing so. We can not exaggerate the importance of networking with other bands and people in music.
Are there any other unsigned bands that you’ve played with that you recommend we check out?
Some of our favourites are the mind-blowing October Drift and the flawless Saytr Play. We have played gigs with both bands and, after being amazed by their live shows,have gained close friendships with them. To anyone who wants a new band to experience before they make it big, check those guys out.
What plans do you have for 2016?