There's a chirpy swagger about Jagwar Ma. The Australian trio of Jono Ma, Gabriel Winterfield and Jack Freeman are full of banter, tales and charm. They answer the questions that eFestivals puts to them prior to their 6 Music Festival appearance with good grace and generosity. Their live shows are known for their party spirit. You sense that this is simply the way that they live their lives.
We kick off with questions about festivals. I try to get an exclusive out of them but they're having none of it simply saying that “there are some big ones in there, ones that we’re very excited about”. Jono gets particularly excited about Field Day as they had to cancel last year at short notice. Now that they live within walking distance of the site, he suggests that the official after party should be back at their house. Before I know it, they are giving me Jono's address. "There's your exclusive", says Gab. I reassure Jono that I won't print it, not that he seems to mind much.
Glastonbury last year was a lot of fun for the band. Often, they can't stay around and enjoy what a festival might offer but they were able to spend the whole weekend at Glastonbury and get the full experience. "We played the Stonebridge tent which was kind of a later 1AM dirtier, underground clubby set – and then the next day we did the John Peel tent in the middle of the day so we had these two different days”. I wonder what sort of fun they might typically have at festivals. "The sort of fun I have might be quite different to other people at festivals. I'm quite happy to stand around at the side of a stage drinking wine and watching bands. It’s pretty tame really' ,says Jono. I’m not sure I believe him.
Jono and Gab also got to stay the whole weekend at Pukkelpop but Jack wasn't so lucky. "I had to go and see my Mum for 12 hours in London so I had to get a Eurostar from Brussels Midi. I interacted with gypsies at the train station. Nothing got taken but I did get sucker-punched. The pocket of my Tokyo Polo shirt got ripped out and you could see my ninja-star.” We all laugh at Jack’s misfortune.
As we're in Manchester, I clumsily ask them how much they agree with reviewers and bloggers who have compared their sound to baggy, Madchester bands. “I was defensive about it at first because I guess as an artist you want to feel you’re unique to some degree but, you know what, all comparisons have been quite positive. I guess maybe there’s the sentiment of it that we definitely with”.
The band chat about what it’s like to be Australians living in London and travelling the globe. “I think it’s great that we come from so far away and get compared to their native bands. That’s really cool. What’s also amazing is that people in the UK are saying that we’re beginning to sound very Australian whereas people in Australia are saying we sound very UK based,” mentions Gab.
“In America, they compare us to Jane’s Addiction – again it’s positive, we don’t see it but we’ll take it,” interjects Jono.
If you ever see a Jagwar Ma set list for sale on eBay save your money and don't buy it. It's likely to be a fraud. Gab swears that he'll never use a setlist. “I think it’s something that you should not only know but also feel. I’d rather ask my brothers than find some cold, piece of A4, written in Arial Black font in front of me. It’s not happening.” 6 Music need to have a setlist in advance of tonight’s show so that they can appropriately caption things on the red button but Jagwar Ma threaten to simply play a half hour version of ‘The Throw’.
They proceed to banter about the most ideal font to use in the production of a setlist. “Nobody ever gigs with Times New Roman,” says Gab. “Wingdings would be good”, quips Jono. The time that I have allocated to the interview has already over-run but nobody seems in a hurry to move. It’s like chatting with a bunch of good mates over a few beers in a pub, very casual and very easy-going. Conscious that Jagwar Ma need to get ready for their 6 Music Festival set, I draw the interview to a close. It could always be continued at the Field Day after party.
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