As part of their new tour, Scottish indie rock quintet We Were Promised Jetpacks play Toronto’s The Phoenix tonight. We had the opportunity of speaking with the band’s drummer Darren Kenneth Lackie earlier this week to discuss their third record Unravelling, working with Paul Savage, playing Mario Kart, loving Superbad, and more. Enjoy!
AMBY: Hey We Were Promised Jetpacks, thanks for speaking with us today. What have you been up to lately?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: Hello, that’s quite alright! We’ve just finished a UK/European tour which took us to places like Germany, Netherlands, Austria, and France which went really well and we just released our third studio album, Unravelling… which is very exciting! On a more personal note, I’ve been catching up with the new season of Sons of Anarchy. Love that show.
AMBY: Congrats on the release of the new album! What’s your favourite memory from the writing or recording process?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: Thank you! I think my favourite part of the whole process was hearing the first, complete mix of I Keep It Composed. That was a song that we put a lot of time and effort into and it changed drastically quite a few times during the writing stage. It was the first song that we asked our producer, Paul Savage, to mix and when we heard it for the first time we were all thrilled.
AMBY: When it comes to the record’s title, what’s the significance of Unravelling?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: You can look into the title in a few different ways. Some people have looked at the word ‘Unravelling’ and thought that it means that we are in a bit of bother or that everything is falling to pieces, but you can also look at it in terms of relaxing or getting comfortable and I think that’s where we are as a band at the moment. We’ve got our new member, Stuart, and we’re getting comfortable playing these new songs together and getting used to be a 5-piece band. That’s how I see it.
AMBY: You worked with Paul Savage (The Twilight Sad, Teenage Fanclub) on the album. How did that change the direction of where you wanted to take the record, and what was the overall experience like? We know you’re fans of the acts he’s worked with before.
We Were Promised Jetpacks: We spent 2 or 3 days in demoing with Paul Savage in Chem19 studios just before we recorded ‘These Four Walls’ back in 2008. We were a young band who had never really spent time in a studio before so our label, Fatcat, sent us there to try it out. It didn’t work out that time around because we really didn’t know what we wanted, we were inexperienced at the time. We knew Paul Savage had recorded and mixed some of our favourite albums in the past so he was definitely someone we wanted to work with again now that we had a bit of experience behind us. He pushed us to think more about our individual parts in each song, more so than we ever had before. He made us look at what we were doing and ask ourselves if there was something better, more beneficial to the song that we could do and I think it made us create a far better album. We were also fully aware that the studio had an N64 with Mario Kart in the band room and we’re big fans of sitting around playing computer games when you’re meant to be working.
AMBY: You soon embark on a North American tour, playing Toronto on the 19th. What do you look forward to the most?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: We did a US tour back in February/March and it was great being able to play new songs to people. We’ve been touring the last album, In the Pit of the Stomach, for a long time now and we took a whole year to write, Unravelling, so it’s a breath of fresh air finally getting to play the new songs. This tour will be better for the new songs though, because the new album is finally out and people will now know them a bit better. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most. I’m also excited to be have The Twilight Sad out on the road with us. They are a great band that we have all loved for years and they are good friends. It’s going to be a fun 5 weeks!
AMBY: Which other artists from Scotland should our readers keep their eyes on?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: The Twilight Sad have their new album coming out this month too and it was produced by our very own live sound engineer and producer of our second album, Andrew Bush! So that’s something that we are very much looking forward to and you should too. We just took a band called Fatherson out on the road with us around Europe and they are picking up a lot of attention around the UK. They are also lovely people!
AMBY: If you could be a fly on the wall at any given time or event, where would you want to be?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: I’d like to be in the room throughout the whole writing process of Superbad. I would love to hear every joke that didn’t make it into the film and I’d love to see how happy they were when they came up with some of the best lines. I feel like you’re looking for life-changing events but that would do for me. Imagine how much fun that would be!
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about We Were Promised Jetpacks that nobody knows yet?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: There’s a few people back home that know about it but I guess over in North America, not really. We are really good at football, the kind with the round ball, not the egg one. We’ve entered 3 band tournaments where we play in 5-a-side teams and we have won all 3. One of the tournaments we won every single game, conceeded about 4 goals and won something like 7-1 in the final. I hope someone at Manchester Utd is reading this… sign us up.
Thank you We Were Promised Jetpacks, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout