Band Interview: JAWS at the Riverside 23/11/19

Phil Etchells chats to JAWS before their Riverside show.

Philip Etchells
7th February 2020
Image- Wikimedia Commons
Hailing from Digbeth in Birmingham, JAWS are a 4-piece band who have previously released 2 albums: 2014’s Be Slowly and Simplicity in 2016. Back with The Ceiling, JAWS have honed their dream-pop sound into something more expansive and ambitious. Last Saturday, I sat down with JAWS lead singer, Connor Schofield and bassist, Leon Smith, before their gig at the Riverside to chat about their latest album, growing up and mental health.

So, lads you’re about halfway through the The Ceiling tour. How are you finding being back on the road? Have there been any highlights so far?

JAWS: Yeah, it’s been high energy and fun crowds as usual. Bristol was probably my favourite gig so far, but Newcastle will be good. It’s always pumping up here and I love this venue.

In regards to the album released back in April, there’s some influence from dance music on there, but also some heavier stuff. Could you speak to that?

JAWS: Yeah, the dance stuff has always been there, as has the heavier stuff. Me and Eddy (drummer) used to be in punk bands when we were younger. The dance thing is something I’ve been interested in producing and I’ve finally got to a point where I feel confident to put it into JAWS music so it fits into our style. 

I read that a lot of your songs are about your anxieties and was wondering if there’s anything you could speak from your own experiences to other people struggling?

JAWS: The message that I always say is that what helped me with my anxiety was going and doing what I was scared of doing, essentially. I know that doesn’t work for everyone and I was in a situation that was a bit different for most people - gigging - so there wasn’t much choice apart from doing it. Everyone has their own ways and I think sometimes it’s just about being careful around other people and aware that other people have feelings.

 You've said the recent album is about growing up and life changing. How would you say JAWS have changed since you started back in 2012?

JAWS: Just with life, y’know? We started at college, went to uni and dropped out, to touring all the time. To now, being men essentially, all 25/26 years old, and it’s a period of life where it’s like, if we weren’t doing this (pauses) we’d be on the ladder to whatever we’d each consider “success” in whatever jobs. A lot of the lyrics on the album are about being lost, not really knowing what your path is or where you are in life. 

 What’s next for JAWS then going into 2020?

JAWS: We dunno (laughs) we’ve not spoken about it yet! We’ve managed to do for 8 years without a long term plan, so we’ll see what happens.

JAWS put on a brilliant show later that evening, with material from all their albums in the setlist. The crowd, full of both old and newer fans, bounced along to every song. Give The Ceiling a listen and see what you think!

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