Interview | Psychojet

MEG caught up with Northern rockers Psychojet, just as the band and original member Pete decided to go their separate ways. The band did say are “very close to securing a replacement”, so we can hopefully look forward to catching them on the festival circuit this summer.

Thanks for agreeing to the interview. Tell us a bit about how you formed?
Lewis: Myself, Pete and Philly all played previously in a wedding band and out of that we started writing material as a creative outlet some a few ideas we had.

Philip: After playing together for a few months we had a handful of songs in place but decided that a fourth member could add another dimension to our sound, which is when we advertised for a second guitarist.

Adam: I answered an ad on fastfude.org, met up with Lewis, Philly and Pete, and we started gigging. The rest is history. Not a particularly integral part of history, but history nonetheless.

The debut album, The Sea Is Never Full is really good. Are you pleased with its reception?
Philip: Yes extremely pleased. Looking back there are a few things I might have changed around drum sound, but I leave that aside and take note for when we go back into the studio. When I look at our download statistics it’s so encouraging that people are taking the time to listen to us on the other side of the world, considering I never thought people outside of Ireland would hear our music.

Adam: I feel we all could have recorded our parts better. I was using a really heavy-duty plectrum for some stupid reason, and should have been using a light gauge; as a result a lot of the palm-muting sounds wick.

But for a band to have gone from nothing to producing a full album within less than a year of meeting is quite good. Next up is the difficult second album – minus our original guitarist Pete, unfortunately. He’ll be missed.

What were your key musical influences growing up?
Lewis: I listened to a lot of The Smiths, Pixies, Rush, Smashing Pumpkins. I think my first exposure to instrumental was a mate lending me ‘The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place’ when it was released and I was hooked on post rock.

Philip: Growing up I listened to a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, Nirvana and Foo Fighters to name a few. I wasn’t massively into instrumental until Psychojet started and now it forms the majority of what I listen to.

Adam: Largely Sixties music – the Doors, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, and Love. To the hilarity of my mates, I also listened to tons of Bjork; I owned all her albums by about age 16. Gradually the mirth of my friends gave way to interest, and now many of them listen to Bjork too. Needless to say, I had the last laugh.

People tend to classify music without vocals as ‘instrumental music’, in a way that they don’t with, say, music without piano. Do you get fed up answering questions about the lack of vocals etc, etc?
Lewis: We became an instrumental act partly by accident, in that we were just jamming out til such times as we found a vocalist. None of us were particularly interested in writing lyrics, and we were all listening to a lot of instrumental music anyway. It just so happened we enjoyed our music without words and thought they were interesting enough to carry without a front man.

Adam: The absence of vocals probably allows for less conventional arrangements; for example, who could imagine a vocalist singing along to ‘7/6’? That would be unwise – maybe even unsafe.

What’s the story with your band name?
Adam: It’s a corruption of Side Project. Not all of us loved it at first, but we have warmed to it.

Despite the doom and gloom written about the music industry it seems to me that the Irish music scene is in fairly rude health. What do you think?
Lewis: There are so many good local bands at the minute, ASIWYFA sounding massive with their latest, Kasper Rosa just finished touring their Icebreaker EP. ENEMIES, The Continuous Battle of Order, Adebisi Shank, the list goes on. In addition to that there are a lot of opportunities for bands to get gigs now, with the help of down to earth promoters. We’re in good shape.

Adam: I’d say excellent shape – I rarely see a band I don’t like. I’m sure we could take on England, the USA, continental Europe or anyone else in terms of decent-bands-per-head-of-population. Ireland could take them all in a fight.

Any other current music jumping out at you right now?
Lewis: My tastes are largely instrumental so have been enjoying a Spanish act Jardín de la Croix, as well as Portico Quartet and a Swedish guy called Musette who released probably my favourite album of last year, it’s called ‘Drape Me In Velvet’. The Samuel Jackson Five album was up there too, Cloudkicker’s stuff is always crazy good, and we saw Russian Circles in Belfast last year too – great live show. I’ll keep quiet now.

Adam: The drum-and-bass artist Chinensis is great, and the English rock band Future of the Left too. Last year, my favourite album was Beth Jeans Houghton’s debut – it really was amazing.

Philip: Listening to lots of Cloudkicker, the new ASIWYFA is their best yet, along with some others like Stone Sour and Coheed and Cambria.

Finally, what’s next for Psychojet?
Lewis: Well we are in the process of recruiting another guitarist, Pete has decided to move onto pastures new and we wish him well for that. We are very close to securing a replacement and once done we aim to write some new material and hit the festivals over the summer – if any will have us! If we do get onto any, we’ll let you know and hopefully see some of you there.

Killian Laher

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