we were promised jetpacks - press photo

Interview: We Were Promised Jetpacks

Our hope is, that Manchester United will be as good as they have been – because that’s our passion!

A group of four young scotsmen that’s just been announced as special guest for the BON JOVI-concert in Hampden Park – this mere fact shows two things: first, how big WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS have grown in the four years since their debut These Four Walls. And second: you better don’t take yourself too serious and keep up a good amount of humour on your way to the top. The “right” way to the top is one of the things we recently talked about with Adam, Darren and Michael, as we met them at this year’s IMMERGUT – besides, we also heard some decent statements about football and Sir Alex Ferguson. Read the result here and get an impression of how friendship and a relaxed trust in your own strengths can influence your way in becoming a successful young band like the JETPACKS.

Welcome back to the IMMERGUT – why did you decide to come back, good memories?
Darren: Exactly. The last time we played here we had a good time. We played the same stage that we’re playing today and I remember the audience to be very great, everybody’s dancing and jumping – we really liked it here.

How’s your festival-season going so far – you played a few already, right?
Adam: Yes, we played last night the – ahem – Musikschutzgebiet? (laughs) I’m not sure how to pronounce it.
Darren: It’s down in Homberg. Somewhere..I’m not sure (laughs).

WWPJ - 2012

Don’t worry – I’d have to google that first as well.
Adam: Good. It was very wet!
Darren: Yeah, quite muddy. So, our festival-season so far has been muddy! But we had a got show.

You also toured the states now several times – how’s the response over there? I reckon it’s not that easy for a British band…
Adam: Good, actually. Depends on the band, I guess, but we always had a good time over there. Luckily! Because: it would be a bit odd to go for people who don’t like you (smiles). But we always enjoyed it and will go on enjoying it, hopefully.

“Everyone seems to think that if you break America, than you’ve made it – I don’t know if that’s the case, really”

I’m also asking because touring the states is always considered to be a big step for a young band – you got any idea why that is?
Darren: I don’t know, really. You’re right, everyone seems to think that if you break America, than you’ve made it – Personally, I don’t know if that’s the case.
Michael: It’s a big place, you know. Big market.
Darren: The feeling you get there is just that everywhere you play is so different from where you played before, because the places are so far apart. I mean, you play the eastcoast and then you play the westcoast and you got completely different crowds, completely different people. It’s a bit like you play Europe and notice how different the crowds in France are compared to Germany, f.e.

Another Scottish band that got quite big lately is BIFFY CLYRO – you guys once named them as an influence as well, right? I recently talked about them with the guys from TALL SHIPS and that ended up in a fairly big discussion of where BIFFY headed lately; musically I mean – you guys got any opinion on that as well?
Darren: Ah, I don’t know. They got a lot of different material, you know? They were my favourite band for a long time and I’m pretty sure that they’ve always written the kind of music that they wanted to, so I guess what they’re doing now is exactly what they’re aiming for.
Michael: You’re referring to the very poppy arrangements, I guess. That stuff had always been in there, you know? It’s not like this is a brandnew thing. Throughout their whole career they had a lot of aspects to their music, so it’s not that new actually.
Darren: I just think they deserved to be where they are. They’ve been doing this for a long time now, building up a fanbase, grassroots-like, from the bottom all the way up. I’m happy for them.

It’s funny because that’s what I hear most people say about them – if there’s something like a “right” way to the top, it’s exactly the way they chose, isn’t it?
: Definitely. I used to see them a lot when I was younger, when they played these tiny little rooms and they were like this big, crazy, loud, amazing band playing to few people and it’s really nice to see them grow. I like that.

Away from that, let’s talk a bit about where you as a band are in your career now. You got two well-received albums out, gathered lots of fans throughout Europe and the States – seems to be a promising way as well. So, where do you see yourself in a few years ahead?
: Probably back here, playing the same tent (laughs). I have no idea, really. I suppose it depends on the new album we’re now working on. If that goes well, then hopefully we keep going as well. And if not, we’d have to try and a get a real job.
Darren: Work at the bank (laughs). I agree, it certainly depends on how we get on with our next album. We’re doing that right now and are quite happy with the direction actually.

Glad you mentioned it yourself so that I can pass the ball right back – 2009 the first, 2011 the second, now’s 2013 – so, how’s the work going so far?
: It’s going well. We just took some time over christmas for it, because we toured a lot last year and didn’t really found the space back then. But especially in the last months we’d been practicing a lot more, writing a lot more. So, yeah. It’s going fine. Going steady. Roughly we’d been working on six songs, maybe. On our last album we just tried to get ten, and then that’s it, but the aim for this one is to write at least 15 to 20 songs to choose from. I don’t know how long that will take but it takes as long as it takes, right? (smiles)

So this is a slightly new approach for you?
: Well, on our previous one we had a strict deadline at first, a time at which we should’ve been done. Our label said that they hoped to get us in the studio for a certain time and we were sort of working towards that. With this record, we just want to take our time.
Adam: Actually, we decided to work that way ourselves on the last one as well, because after putting out your first album there’s always some stuff left that you want to get out quickly. But on this one we try to contemplate a bit more.

Some friends of yours – THE TWILIGHT SAD – put out their third record last year and did a remarkable but excellent step away from the sound of their previous work. Is that something we can expect from you as well?
: Probably not. I don’t know if the new TWILIGHT SAD-album is that different either – I know people say it is but I’m not sure.

Well, I felt it to be much more reduced, soundwise; more Industrial less Shoegaze..
: That’s right I guess, but we don’t know yet if we want to sound very different with this one. Maybe slightly. But we will definitely not turn into some dance-music-combo, it’s still just the four of us, with our guitars and bass and drums, typical stuff.

So, no synthies involved?
: Probably not. Maybe a little bit.(smiles)

Obviously, you didn’t make it onto the longlist for this year’s SAY-Award (Scottish Album of the Year)..
: We did make it last year, but I didn’t understand why actually. The announcements seem to be all over the place. But last year we were at the final 20, yes. I think TWILIGHT SAD got their popular voting going right now. Go TWILIGHT SAD!

Honestly, I’m a bit jealous and I wish we had something like the SAY-Awards over here. The Scottish indie-scene seems to be so lively – are you still connected to it and do you have any recommendations for me?
: Not as much anymore. As the three other guys left Glasgow we also left a lot of people we were hanging out with. Although almost all of us are back now, we don’t get to see the same people that we used to. But there are still a few bands for us, like FAKE MAJOR for example, or…
Adam: Yes, um…
Darren: Gosh, we’re struggling. As soon as your turned that thing off, I’ll remember some, I swear..
Adam: BIFFY CLYYRO? (laughs)

“Hopefully, we keep going. And if not, we’d have to try and a get a real job.”

Not that important anyway – but: I’ve read that you guys are not only good competitors music-wise; you also won something called the Miniature-Dinosaur-Cup in Stirling..
: We’re actually missing that today!

I noticed that because Louis Abbott (from ADMIRAL FALLOW) recently stated that he’s really confident of winning this cup for the first time, just because you’re not able to attend..
(laughs): Yeah, they got a chance now. Very sad that we’re missing it this year. Devastated! MINIATURE DINOSARS are a band, by the way. Nice guys and good musicians. They put on this tournament, which we won two years in a row now. Apart from that we also won a cup presented by DF Concerts – a fairly big promotion company in Scotland. We won every tournament that we went in for, actually and really looked forward to the cup this year; until we realized that we have gigs.
Darren (ironically): But, we’re soooo happy to be here! No really, we are. Besides, we got a football in our van.

It’s a pity that you arrived a bit late because there’s a tournament here at the IMMERGUT as well which you would have ruled, I suppose.
: Ah, damn it, I remember that happened last time as well. We should start getting here in time…
Adam: As you see, we’re all into football and we like playing it. It’s our other passion.

Right, as it is your passion and we like that word – let’s stick to that topic: do you follow the Bundesliga or are you satisfied with your Premier League?
: Following would be too much, but I think it was last season that they started showing highlights of the Bundesliga because everybody started realizing that it’s amazing. I watch that. It’s presented by a German woman with very bad English; she stands there with her microphone and you can see her reading, pretty funny.
Adam: We don’t have the time really, because despite how good the Germans are, the Scottish League always has got a lot of drama – keeps us busy.

Any favourite teams?
: In general? Always loved ManUnited.
Darren: Yeah, all four of us. We might support different Scottish teams but we all love ManU.
Adam: Mainly because of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Oh, then you surely shed a tear recently?
: Absolutely. Considering that he’s been ManUnited-Manager for all our lives. It was tough to see him go, but we’ll see what happens next season.

Now we’ve already heard something about your passion, so our last question is: What does “hope” and what does “passion” mean to you?
: Oh, you guys. Can we go back to football again?
Darren: Our hope is, that Manchester United will be as good as they have been – because that’s our passion!
Michael: Killed it!