Interview with Jets Overhead
Jets Overhead is a Canadian band from Victoria, British Columbia. You may know them from their daring move to release their debut EP and critically acclaimed first full length album through voluntary purchase from their website. You may also know them from their 2007 Juno nomination for best “New Group of the Year”. Perhaps you’ve heard their new album, No Nations. And if you haven’t heard about them yet, now’s your chance.
I caught up with Jets Overhead’s Antonia Freybe-Smith to talk about their new album, touring, The Price is Right, and everything in between.
Upvenue (UV): First of all, I would like to thank you for this opportunity.
Jets Overhead (JO): Thank you for the interest and support!
UV: Your second full length album, No Nations, was released this June. Where did the album title come from?
JO:The majority of the themes and lyrics of this album weren’t consciously mapped out. We’d get together in the evenings with our brains crammed full of all the info, sights, sounds, hopes, fears of the day and what’s going on in the world and things would just emerge organically during our long jam sessions.
UV: Your sound has been described as trance rock and has been likened to Radiohead and Pink Floyd. But how would you describe your sound?
JO: Atmospheric. Softly heavy. Road trip music.
UV: Who are your influences?
JO: I’m sure each band member would have a different answer to this. Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Zero 7, Radiohead, the Cardigans, the Dandy Warhols…
UV: How do you tackle song writing?
JO: For this album it was mostly done as a band, songs and song ideas emerging during long jam sessions.
UV: You played 8 shows in 9 days in promotion of No Nations. That sounds hectic...what was that like? How did you get around?
JO: We missioned around western Canada in a 15 passenger van and were lucky enough to have our great friend, Evan (aka “the seal”), along for the adventure as our driver and helper. It was rather hectic, but lots of fun and we were all super excited to be touring and playing shows again—it felt great.
UV: Who has been your favorite artist to tour with? If you could choose an artist to perform with, who would it be?
JO: Hmmm…I have to say that every touring opportunity is great and we’ve enjoyed and been grateful for every one. We’ve also appreciated the differences between the tours, I think—ie. Playing stadiums with Our Lady Peace was an amazing experience, but so is playing a neat, intimate room to 300 attentive listeners with the Dears.
UV: What was it like playing Bonnaroo?
JO: Lots of fun—what an amazing festival. Such a chill, peaceful vibe: the setting, the music lovers, the staff, the volunteers. For a festival of that size it was incredibly well executed and a true honour to be a part of. We loved it.
UV: You played in China recently; can you tell us a bit about that?
JO: It was an incredible experience—the audiences were so eager and excited for live music. And the food was absolutely amazing.
UV: My favorite songs from No Nations would have to be I Should Be Born and Weathervanes in terms of the music, the lyrics, and the potential to be amazing live songs. What is your favorite song on the album? What is your favorite to play live?
JO: That’s a tough one…right now I’d have to say Sure Sign. I loved recording that song. It gathers energy as it builds and has been really cool to do live.
UV: Do you have more tour dates planned in promotion of No Nations?
JO: There’s a bunch of promising stuff in the works, a scattering of shows in western Canada throughout the summer, a few potential tours on the horizon…we’re hoping to play as many shows as we can so hopefully it all comes together like it seems it might!
UV: When you made the decision to release your first full length album, Bridges, via voluntary purchase, what did you expect the response to be? What has the response been?
JO: The response has been really interesting. The whole discussion of the future of the music industry, how people will consume and pay for music, etc. is very interesting. Basically, I think there will always be people who want to steal music, and people who truly want to pay for it. You can’t change that. We figured that if they were just going to steal it anyways, they might as well get it from us and get a good quality recording and who knows, maybe they’ll come to a show, buy a t-shirt etc. Any opportunity to get your music heard and maybe create a new fan is good.
UV: I’ve checked out the journals on your official site and I have to say, they’re a great way to keep fans “in the loop.” I found myself laughing at times: the post about not wanting to have ‘chesticles’, Piers sneaking onto the set of The Price Is Right, and the one about Adam prancing nearly nude onstage during an Our Lady Peace show - hilarious. What gave you the idea to create these journals? What has the response been?
JO: A band is just a group a creatures hanging out together, making music—we’ve always been interested in the behind-the-scenes of bands we like. We just thought it would be fun to show more of the whole picture. And who wouldn’t want to see Adam streaking?
UV: If you could only pack three things to take on tour, what would they be?
JO: Emergen-C. A pillow. Running shoes.
UV: In a journal, Adam talked about the possibility of making costume parties more frequent, not just reserved for Halloween. So, finally, I wonder…if you were having a costume party tomorrow, what would you dress up as?
JO: Princess Leia. My hero.
"Sun Sun Sun"
Jets Overhead is: Adam Kittredge (vocals, guitar), Antonia Freybe-Smith (vocals), Piers Henwood (guitar), Jocelyn Greenwood (bass), and Luke Renshaw (drums).