Bristol’s own The Jacques burst onto the indie scene six years ago after a successful show at Hyde Park that saw them signed to the Libertines’ Gary Powell’s 25 Hour Convenience Store. Fast-forward to 2020: they have just concluded their UK tour, after releasing their EP Born Sore in February and a live video for their recent single, ‘I Never Want To Be Your Boyfriend’.
The Jacques’ gritty, grunge-leaning sound, paired with singer Finn’s entrancing throaty vocals has secured them a cult following across Europe, as well as praise across different national media, including BBC 6Music and Radio X.
What’s the story behind the band’s name?
At the time of forming, which was around 6 years ago now, we were feeling quite disillusioned by band names that were really over-the-top indie. I’m not going to name names, but there were a lot of ‘clubs’ and bands naming themselves after a random noun and dropping the ‘the’. We wanted to kick against it a bit and go for something that felt classic and timeless. It kind of could be punk, could be Motown, we didn’t want to confine ourselves stylistically by a name. Theres a story about the French revolutionaries that says they all called each other ‘Jacques’ so as to confuse spies, as it was such a common name in France at the time. We liked that, but saying it was our actual inspiration would be a bit of a lie!
You’ve toured the UK recently, how would you compare the reception you’ve had here to the fans in Europe?
It’s really difficult to gauge because we are used to a very different gigging culture on the continent. We’re very aware that we have to work a little harder back at home to draw the crowds, but that’s been thrown off even more by the pandemic so its really hard to tell how we’re actually doing – of course this feels like bit of a curse since we finally managed to get it together and get out on tour in our home country. But obviously the wider perspective kicks in and we realise there are much worse things to have to do than cancel the last leg of a tour! We had some great shows though – we’ll have to see how things fare for us once this has all blown over and we can get on with our lives.
So far you have released a string of singles and you have just released an EP, is there a full-length release on the cards?
Yes, we are currently putting all the last bits and pieces in place for our debut. It’s hopefully going to be a strange and beautiful snapshot of the last few years of our lives.
How did you come across the opportunity to sign with Gary Powell’s 25 Hour Convenience Store?
We met Gary years ago through a label distributor but actually things didn’t work out the way they are reported to have. We are currently signed with Modern Sky UK who are based up in Liverpool.
Who are your key musical influences?
We all listen to all sorts of different music and actually, until I recently re-discovered my love for PJ Harvey, I hadn’t really been listening to guitar music seriously for a few years. I listen to a lot of Reggae, Ska, Soul, R&B, Hip-hop, Pop… But we all love bands like Stone Roses, Blur, Wire, Pavement, Grandaddy…
What’s the creative process behind your songs and how do you come up with ideas?
I’d say our composition process these days is a pretty even plane and we don’t have a set format or process. I very rarely begin with lyrics these days. We start with a riff or a chord sequence or even a synth sound, and then I’ll usually come up with a melody by singing nonsense syllables until the percussion is right in the vocal, then words will usually fall into place and I expect they come themselves from all sorts of fascinations I may have had. I think anyone who’s interested in how vocal parts and lyrics come together for people like me should read Shaun Ryder’s introduction to his lyrical collection called ‘Wrote For Luck’ – it articulates an alternative writing process very well.
How are you spending your time post-tour?
Well, unfortunately, quarantine. But it is giving us some time to think about what our debut album is finally going to look like and make a gameplan for the following year. The bright side is that we won’t be missing festival season anymore, because there isn’t one! But once everything is back to normal we just can’t wait to play as many shows as possible and also to hone our live experience.
You’ve played lots of shows, including huge festivals. What has been your best experience as a band so far?
The William’s Green Stage at Glastonbury years ago was pretty special and we would absolutely love to go back some day. But I think Transmusicales in Rennes tops all. What a festival!
The Jacques’ recent EP, Born Sore, is available now