INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Jupiter’s Beard are a four-piece from Stoke-on-Trent, comprising of vocalist/guitarist Spencer Arnold, lead guitarist Adam Knipe, bassist Luke Brown and drummer Simon Lowe.
Having only formed in late 2015, the fledging outfit have already made an impact on their local music scene, with a sound that is unique and diverse, influenced by such bands as The Beatles, The Stone Roses and Stereophonics.
With an eagerly anticipated debut EP, ’10:33′, out later this month, I chatted with them, discussing such things as their approach to songwriting, and what we can expect from their forthcoming offering.
How did the band get together initially?
Jupiter’s Beard started off in late 2015, when our singer/guitarist Spencer, and drummer Simon started jamming classic rock tunes in their garages, such as ‘Back in Black’, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ etc…
With both of them taking music as a subject at school, the two of them spent most music lessons jamming out Beatles songs such as ‘Lady Madonna’ together in a tiny practice room, with nothing but a piano and an old drum kit. Having also taken music, lead guitarist Adam and bassist Luke filled the empty roles and joined them.
We then weren’t officially a band for another month until our music teacher suggested we played ‘Lady Madonna’ at the school’s Christmas concert after hearing us play it through.
We didn’t then have a gig for seven months, when at last, we had our first proper gig at The Exchange in Hanley last July, where we supported fellow local band ALMA.
In those seven months before the first gig, nothing really happened, we were trying to develop as songwriters and experimenting, trying to find our sound. We have only been a gigging band for five months.
How did the name Jupiter’s Beard come about?
Originally, we were stuck with naming the band. After weeks on end of trying to decide, we decided on the name ‘Nebula’, but then we realised there was another band with that name, so we were back to square one.
A few days later, Simon suggested the name ‘Jupiter’s Beard’. We all agreed that the name was the best of a bad situation. Although at first we all disliked the name, it has definitely grown on us, we’ve found that its originality has been helpful. It is also the name of a flower, and has other meanings attached to it.
How would you describe your sound?
We have a unique energetic sound, consisting of classic rock elements with punk/pop rhythms with indie, melodic vocals. Being a four-piece band, the texture is not too thick, resulting in easy listening without being excessively heavy.
What are the band’s musical influences?
Our musical influences, of course start off with The Beatles. We (especially Spencer and Simon) love them, and we try to incorporate catchy melodies into our songs, like they did.
Other influences include bands such as The Stone Roses. You can especially hear their influence in our song ‘Amy’, which will be on our forthcoming EP.
Oasis are another big influence on us, as their songs are just so catchy, simple and easy to listen to, but still carry that rock ‘n’ roll vibe, with distorted guitars.
We think this is important, as we want people to remember our songs after a first listen, and make sure they find it easy to listen and sing along to.
On the song ‘Stand Around’, you can hear a slight influence of Stereophonics, especially in the verses.
What is your approach to songwriting?
Our approach and our quality of song writing has definitely improved over the last few months. Compared to the songs we were coming out with before any of our gigs, in the first few months of the band, which were down right awful, we think we’ve made a massive leap.
Our songwriting approach differs every time we write. We don’t have a set formula. Like when Spencer and Simon say, “Right, we are going to sit down and write a song”, it is never any good, because it is forced.
The song ‘Prevail’, which is about leaving your home, came about when Adam came into the room and said, “Hey, listen to this”. He then played the main riff to the song. Adam is always good at that, he comes up with some wicked riffs that just sound amazing and fit perfectly.
Spencer then wrote the lyrics and put some chords to the chorus, which fitted around Adam’s riff. We then jammed it out, and Simon always comes up with a different idea on the drums. Actually, the intro of the song was his idea. Without him, the songs would all sound the same.
The song ‘Electrified’ was written in a French lesson (better than doing French though), and it’s about feeling on top of the world and going up your own road, not following anyone else. The song is different to the rest of the upbeat songs, as it is much slower and has a ballad-like feel to it.
We all pitch in musically, each adding our own take on the song with Spencer writing the vocal parts and lyrics.
However, some of our unrecorded songs such as our very first original, ‘Gettin’ Old’, was written by Simon. Also, Luke wrote one of them, which we called ‘Luke’s Song’, because we had no idea what to call it. It always gets a good reaction when we play that live.
Your debut EP, ’10:33′, is coming out later this month. How has the recording process been?
It’s been really fun rehearsing for it! We haven’t actually recorded it yet, we are recording this weekend.
We are recording the EP live to capture the energy of our live performances, layering the vocals over the live instruments afterwards. We’ve really enjoyed ourselves preparing for it, and we’re sure we’ll enjoy recording it all.
What can we expect from ’10:33′?
’10:33′ will be a four track recording, with songs ranging from a slow ballad-like track, using clean guitar sounds, to one that is more fast-paced rock.
One of our oldest songs, ‘Amy’, will make an appearance halfway through the EP, people who have come to our gigs will recognise its distinctive sound and massive chorus.
We also have two new songs, ‘Prevail’ and ‘Electrified’. On ‘Prevail’, we have taken a more rock-influenced route, making it fast-paced with its memorable riff.
We have a wide range of tracks on our EP, this will make it more appealing to a wider audience, having something for everyone on it.
You’re all from Stoke-on-Trent. What is the band’s opinion of the music scene there currently?
The music scene around Stoke, in our opinions, is one of the most underrated scenes in the country. It’s thriving at the moment, with lots of unrecognised talent, ranging from brilliant bands and great solo artists.
The three main venues we have played in Hanley are The Sugarmill, The Underground (where our first headliner will be on January 27th), and The Exchange, which have all always been packed with people supporting and listening to the up-and-coming acts.
Without the people that come to watch, none of these bands would be able to perform, and we are extremely grateful to everyone that has come to watch us up to now.
What is the band’s experience of playing live?
We enjoy playing live very much! Obviously, there are good gigs and bad gigs, but considering our first one was only five months ago, we think in that time, we have improved a significant amount.
We always seem to know if a gig is a good one to us personally, if we know we sound good and see everyone having a great time. It’s always great looking out and seeing people enjoying themselves.
However, it’s all about consistency; we believe we should sound the same and have the same attitude, whether we are playing to ten people or a thousand.
Along with the EP, what else have you got lined up in the near future?
We obviously have our headline gig coming up on January 27th at The Underground in Hanley, and ’10:33′ will be released on the 20th, but after that, we want to get out of the Stoke scene, still headline there occasionally, but move to places such as Birmingham to get a bigger audience and try something new. We would like to hope that the people outside of Stoke-on-Trent like our sound as much as the locals.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
We have the same view on our long-term aim, which is to get as much recognition as possible, to hopefully one day secure a record deal, and for people to just enjoy listening to us, and we want them to enjoy the live shows as much as we do.
JUPITER’S BEARD’S DEBUT EP, ’10:33′, WILL BE AVAILABLE ON iTunes, SPOTIFY AND SOUNDCLOUD FROM JANUARY 20TH.
THE BAND WILL ALSO BE HEADLINING THE UNDERGROUND IN HANLEY ON JANUARY 27TH.
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