We Were Promised Jetpacks – Interview
With the worldwide release of their latest album ‘Unravelling’, the Scottish quintet has been gaining some well-deserved notoriety for their freshly-pressed sound. I recently had the opportunity to talk with the gents about the evolution of their sound, the writing process, and what albums they’ve had on repeat.
(FE): What does ‘Unravelling’ represent thematically, and emotionally speaking for you as a band?
I’m not sure about emotionally, but it’s definitely supposed to be a ‘next step’ for our band. We changed the way we write the songs a little. It still stems from jamming together, but we’ve tried to be less impulsive and a lot more thoughtful. We tried to make every song as interesting as possible without relying on raw loudness.
(FE): How has the addition of Stuart McGachan allowed you to explore sonically? Has this altered your song-writing progression?
It’s helped us a lot. We write almost exclusively in a room all together (we wrote maybe two songs ever in-studio) so just having keys at hand in the room is great. He’s not just “the keyboard guy” though, we all write the songs together.
(FE): ‘Unravelling’ comes across as a very full and complete evolution of your sound, after spending a lot of time touring, do you feel that the album was created with a live audience in mind?
No, kind of the opposite actually. Our last album was meant to be big and massive sounding and represent a live show in that way. We wanted people to be kind of exhausted after listening to our second album, similar to how you feel after a show. This one, though, we thought a lot about the recording as opposed to the live performance. We wanted everything to be well thought out and considered.
(FE): What’s your favorite song to play live?
We’ve just started playing ‘Disconnecting’ live a couple of weeks ago, we love doing that one. Playing all the new ones is still very exiting to us. ‘Peace of Mind’ is a corker though.
(FE): How is ‘Peace of Mind’ related to previous songs ‘Sore Thumb’ and ‘Keeping Warm’? Are the writing processes similar for these sprawling emotional epics?
The writing process is pretty similar for all the songs, but ‘Peace of Mind’ and ‘Sore Thumb’ differ in that we all built on chords that Sean brought into the room. We didn’t se out to make them instrumental (or mostly instrumental in the ‘Sore Thumb’ case) but we realised pretty quickly that they were melodic enough to not need vocals. ‘Keeping Warm’ is different though, we wrote that in the same way as all the other ones! But yeah, no matter how they’re started, we write those songs in the room together in the same way as the others.
(FE): Who have you been listening to this summer? Are there any bands you’d love to catch live?
I’ve [Michael] been listening to Pronto Mama loads. They’re the most exciting scottish band I’ve heard in years. Other than that, the new album from Bear Hands, the new Childish Gambino, Young Fathers, Earl Sweatshirt and Justin Timberlake. I’ve just heard that Run The Jewels are playing Glasgow in December. I’m desperate to go to that. Hopefully we’re not touring somewhere!
You can buy the record from Fat Cat here, or over on iTunes.
Check out four of the biggest highlights from ‘Unravelling’ below!