Published on July 4th, 2015 | by Nigel Cartner0
Jess And The Bandits Interview
Following the critical acclaim for their #6 UK Official Country charting debut album ‘Here We Go Again’, Jess and The Bandits are taking the country scene by storm. With a singer/song writer who’s worked with many of the well known writers on the Nashville scene, and a band that compliments her tremendous vocals, it’s easy to see why there’s such a buzz about this band and their upcoming headline tour in October (Dates Below). Nigel Cartner spoke to the band as the excitement starts to shift from their album release back in April onto looking forward to the tour in Autumn.
Debut album, ‘Here We Go Again’, was released in April, how has it been received?
It’s been extremely well received. We couldn’t have asked for better!
What song on the album is the archetypical ‘Jess and The Bandits’ song?
I would have to say ‘My Name Is Trouble’ sums up our album pretty well and gives the listener a good idea of the style of music they will get when listening to the entire album.
Where was the album recorded?
It was actually recorded in Nashville. I spent a lot of time writing there so it made sense to record it shortly after the songs were written.
Well, we already had 4 songs from the EP that had rave reviews so we knew we had a lot of work to do in order to match the standard that had been set. We definitely had to do a lot more writing. It probably took close to a year to complete. At one point we thought the album was finished and knew we could do better on a few songs. I’m so glad we did!
How did Jess and The Bandits form? I believe there’s a bit of a story to it?
Yes there is. So back in 2012 we all happened to be on tour together. Jess was the opener for a band called The Overtones and the Bandits were the backing band for them. There was an instant chemistry between us and Jess. We really bonded on that tour over music and oddly enough, our love of country music. When it was time for Jess to go on tour with Boyzone she asked us to join her and be her band. That was really the start of it all. From that moment we started playing together all the time and the next step was to make it official and become a band. Thus, Jess and the Bandits was born.
Jess, did you ever see your future as being in a band or did you always believe you were a solo artist?
I never in a million years thought I would be in a band. I always just wanted to be a solo artist. Now that it has happened and we have become a band, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s the best move I’ve ever made!
Jess, how has being in a band helped your song writing and how does it differ from your solo work?
Honestly, I don’t know if it has affected my songwriting at all. As the lead singer it is still very important to sing about things I feel passionate about. That would be the same even if I was a solo artist. The biggest difference is on stage. I love sharing the stage with these guys. It’s definitely different now than it was when they were just backing me.
To ‘The Bandits’, how has Jess coming onboard helped you as musicians?
Something that we love, that unfortunately we don’t get to do as often as you would think, is play real music. A lot of music is so programmed now that, although we always played our instruments, you just lose that ‘real’ sound. Playing our (JATB) music is amazing. It is like how it was done back in the day before computers and programming. It is very refreshing. We have so much fun playing country music!
Having been on both sides of the pond, how does the country scene differ from both the UK and US?
I think there is an excitement for country music in the UK that you don’t get in the U.S. We are so used to it and it’s one of the most popular genres. It is only just growing in the UK. I also find that UK audiences are much more likely to support new artists, which we love of course!
Yes! I mean, you hope for it but never expect it. We worked so hard on this album and to see it going so well and people loving it means everything.
Where does most support come from, UK or US?
Definitely from the UK. That is where we have spent all of our time. Next year we hope to do more in America but right now our focus is Europe.
Jess, I believe you’ve written with a lot of various Nashville writers. Can you tell us a little more about that and the how those experiences have helped you?
I have been so lucky to have been introduced to some of Nashville’s most talented A List writers. Years and years ago I thought there wasn’t a chance anyone of that calibre would write with me. I am so thankful to say that I have written with some of the best.
Working with people like that makes you better. You step it up and also learn so much from them. In each session I tried to soak up as much as I could. I look forward to every trip now and the chance to be creative with these writers.
How excited are you for the UK tour?
Ridiculously excited and nervous! This will be our first headlining tour so there are a lot of nerves that come with that. We are so anxious to hit the road and play our music for the fans and hopefully new fans as well!
Which date are you looking forward to the most?
All of them! There is nothing we like more than being on the road and in a new city each night. There is no way we could pick just one date we are looking for.
20 Oct – The Bodega, Nottingham
24 Oct – Wheelans, Dublin
27 Oct – Louisiana, Bristol
28 Oct – Borderline, London
29 Oct – Brudenell, Leeds
30 Oct – Castle, Manchester
31 Oct – King Tuts, Glasgow