JAWS recently dropped new single What We Haven’t Got, which sees the band continuing there fine streak of upbeat and infectious indie pop. The first glimpse into their new record set to be released sometime next year, we escaped from the cold in Sheffield and headed into Plug as the early stages of sound check were under way. Speaking to singer/songwriter Connor Schofield we talked about live performances, the new record, and tackling anxiety.
AMBY: The band was formed a short while after you released a song on SoundCloud, which gathered attention. Now you’ve released an album and headlined tours, what’s that been like?
Connor: Well for starters that was never the intention. We expected to play local shows and never really for it to take off so…It’s a bit mind boggling. A lot of the venues on this tour we’ve done in the build up previously to the first album coming out. We did like some bigger venues and that was great and then this tour we’ve gone back to some small ones, just to sort of build some buzz again. So even this tour is still keeping you on your toes, there might be a town that has sold out and a town where the tickets aren’t doing so well or whatever, but then you turn up on the night and…it’s like we did Stoke the other night, and I just did not expect it. It was like when we play in Birmingham, but it was in Stoke. Last time we played in Sheffield it was really fun as well, so I’m hoping tonight’s going to be good.
AMBY: When you first started playing live there was a lot of buzz surrounding the band, did you ever find that pressurising at all?
Connor: Not really, well I mean I didn’t let the pressure get to me. I think we’ve been around like four year or something now, our album came out last year, and in that first like two and a half years we weren’t really that great live. So when we had the album coming out there was no time to let pressure get onto you, we have to be good, you have to hit a certain level every night really. Ever since we realised that, we’ve just dealt with that, by just doing it.
AMBY: Have there been any shows that have really stood out to you?
Connor: In the whole history. We did a show at the garage in London and it was like two weeks after our album came out. It was in front of like 600 people and that was the biggest show we’d ever done at that time and that was amazing, I think that was my favourite show ever. I think every time we play in Birmingham it’s just amazing, but you get the odd one that just blows your mind. I think we played Bournemouth once and it was just mad, it’s only the start of this tour but Stoke was just great and every time we play Manchester its good. We went on tour last September after the album and that tour was the most consistent every night. The rooms were full and we played quite well each night, so that was cool.
AMBY: How do you find life on tour?
Connor: It varies, you’ve got to learn to tour and it’s not easy at all…it’s not hard. But, you’ve got to learn to just eat properly and drink properly. If you don’t look after yourself then you’re just going to blow it in the first week. I think we’ve got to a point now where I think we do about four shows then a day off and that’s not too bad to be honest. Four days on a tour can feel like so long though, and you can burn out. Stoke the first night was an amazing show, Coventry last night was a big crowd but not as intense and then who knows what tonight’s going to be like, and then we’ve got Leeds tomorrow. But like tonight and tomorrow could be dead and like really easy for us, but at the same time if we did the fifth show after that we’d be knackered. You’ve got to learn to tell yourself that you need to have a day off.
AMBY: You’ve released a new single ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’ can you talk us through that?
Connor: The song lyrically is about looking up to false idols, that sounds a bit deep but a lot of people like follow the Kardashians and like our world is quite… I don’t know it’s just like everyone wants the new iPhone. I mean I’ve got an iPhone, but like it’s like people don’t desire a feeling anymore so they want a thing, they want a piece of clothing or a phone, they don’t want to be happy or to achieve anything. It’s like saying you can be happy without having this piece of material. I’m not saying that I fucking live on a farm and don’t have electricity or clothes but there’s a limit, there’s a line. I mean some people are crazy.
AMBY: So this single, is that a teaser for the new album?
Connor: Our second album is done. We’re literally sitting on it. I’m not exactly sure when its coming out, but it’ll be next year sometime I think. It’s completely done, it’s even in our van now [laughs].
AMBY: Are there any songs on that album that you’re particularly excited about?
Connor: Do you know what, every song on our first album was like…well we wrote twelve songs and that was our album. But with this album we wanted to make sure it was going to be really good, so we wrote a lot of songs and then it was quite easy to sort of narrow it down to the best ten or eleven. We had the time to work on them and make them all good, every single song on there is the best songs we’ve written. Personally, it’s a lot better than the first album, it’s a bit less cheesy I think. Its’ a bit more…it’s cooler.
AMBY: Even talking about ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’, there seems to be a lot of different areas…
Connor: Yea, well when I started the band I wasn’t really sure what I was doing to be honest with you. It was just a bit like, I’m making some music. I didn’t know what to sing about and I didn’t really feel like being honest because I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere. But then as I’ve got more confident performing live and writing more songs, you just start to write a bit more about what’s bugging you and what you feel.
AMBY: What else do you explore with this album?
Connor: There’s some quite similar vibes to the first album in terms of songs like ‘Gold’ and ‘NYE’, sort of anxiety and that kind of thing. There’s also some positive songs, but sort of like a positive spin on negative things. You’re the person that’s in charge of yourself, if you’re not happy with something take yourself away from it and things like that.
AMBY: You talk about anxiety in your songs, is that an issue close to yourself?
Connor: Yea when I was younger, I still get it a bit now, but when I was younger I used to suffer quite badly with it. So a lot of songs are just talking about past experiences really.
AMBY: What sort of experiences have you had with anxiety?
Connor: I was talking the other day with our sound engineer, it’s weird because the past four years I’ve progressed so much with it, but when I was fifteen, sixteen years old, I couldn’t go and do anything, I was just scared. Then somehow I just ended up in a band, which is like the worst situation you can put yourself in. Like from the last four years, I made a decision when I was young that I didn’t want to be on medication and I didn’t want to cover it up with drinking or drugs. For the long run of my life the only way that’s going to well and truly help me is to deal with it myself, and learn to face things.
In the early days we performed live and we were terrible anyway and it was because of that, but we’ve been lucky to get to this level and sustain where we are. We’re a group of friends, it was no secret what was going on with me, you can’t keep that stuff a secret. One of the things for me, that makes me feel better is that I know I’m happy if I’m aware of everything. So knowing that everyone’s happy makes me feel better. It’s not like I sat down or anything and went, ‘are you okay?’ It wasn’t like it built up and then came out in one big thing, everyone was aware and quite supportive. It might have been different if we’d set out to get big or whatever, but we didn’t, so it was never an issue. As we’ve grown as a band and got more popular it’s become less of an issue, so it’s just dealing with it.
AMBY: Now, your Dad’s also your tour manager, how’s that?
Connor: It’s cool, if anything it actually helps. It’s like the four of us make decisions, because he manages us he makes the business decisions, but a lot of the time the four of us will make decisions together. Sometimes the big fan part slips in a bit, but we’ve got a lot of similarities so we tend to come to the same decisions on things. I couldn’t do this without having some control and not knowing as much as I do, it would just freak me out.
But yea, hopefully someone will pick up our new record and be like well that’s a better outlook to have. That’s the sort of message that I sort of want to pass out, there’s a lot of negativity isn’t there? And it’s sort of like looking at negativity and seeing that there’s always a light and everything.
Thank you JAWS, for giving us your answers!
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Interview by Jacob Flannery |