Bolton-based band Jordan Allen talk to us about their grass roots, tour-time sleeping arrangements, and their dream shows...
How and where did you guys meet?
Jordan: it’s a long story really, I started off on my own doing acoustic shows around Bolton and Manchester, Danny was doing the same, doing covers of Ed Sheeran, we sort of formed the band at first and over time Kieran came in on bass and Nathan was the last one to come in on drums about 2 years ago.
Being honest, how good/bad were you when you first came together as a band?
Jordan: We were rubbish.
Kieran: Yeah rubbish.
Jordan: When us four got together it wasn’t too bad, but when it was just me and Danny it wasn’t great.
Danny: I’d never played electric guitar before and I’m lead guitarist!
Jordan: He’s done pretty well, but as a band it took about a year to get to a good standard, and then we started playing bigger gigs, and when you do those you start to find your way, and with playing gigs every night on tour its pretty much muscle memory.
Playing gigs every night on tour, it's pretty much muscle memory
How would you guys describe your sound?
Jordan: It’s a real mixture, so many bands get tagged with labels these days, and we get reviewers who come down and say, “they sound like the Arctic Monkeys, or the Pigeon Detectives”
Kieran: We get the Courteeners a lot too.
Jordan: Yeah, we do, but I think we’ve got a unique sound, it’s a bit heavier lyrically…
Nathan: It’s always changing though, because we all listen to different music, like I have a heavier background…
Kieran: It’s been a big change for me too coming from a more metal/screamo background to an indie rock/indie punk kind of band.
So a bit of a mix then! What’s the process for you guys when you’re writing new music?
Jordan: Well I tend to write the songs, then we just sit as a band and figure it out, but I normally have a clear idea of where I want the song to go, although some have been quite different.
Danny: Yeah sometimes we’ve just been sat in the studio jamming and songs have come out of that.
Jordan: I’m rubbish at working out cords so Danny helps me with that!
Nathan: Yeah, a lot of the time it’s Jordan with his acoustic and some lyrics.
Kieran: He comes in with a poem and we make it a song!
Where do you guys feel the new single R.O.S.I.E ranks in terms of the tracks you’ve already released?
Jordan: I think its been a steady progression, cause Rosie first came out as part of our EP we released in February, but we decided to release it as a single because we knew it was strong from playing it live. It seemed to be the song that everyone grabbed on to, so it was natural to stick it out as a single. With the version we released in February, there were still some tweaks we wanted to make to it, so we put the new version out as R.O.S.I.E and its quite a different track.
Obviously your current UK tour has been very extensive, but how good has it been so far?
Kieran: It’s been mega, the reception has been great from every venue we’ve played.
Jordan: We’ve had 3 sell-outs in Hull, Preston and Plymouth, which was mad for us because we’ve only been to Plymouth once before!
Kieran: Plymouth definitely ranks as the number one maddest gig I’ve done.
Which is obviously strange given that Bolton (their hometown) is at the opposite end of the country!
Nathan: It was like a One Direction response when we opened the van and there were people just screaming…
Jordan: And a couple of nights after in Brighton it was the exact opposite! We just have to build the support slowly though.
Nathan: Plymouth was great though in terms of crowd interaction and the energy in the room.
Jordan: Leicester surprised us too, we’d never done Leicester and we were expecting a quiet night, but we had about 75 people turn up and mosh pits were going off everywhere!
Have you played Newcastle before at any point?
Jordan: We have, we played Hit The North festival earlier this year which was across the road at Jumpin’ Jacks, but we had a bit of a nightmare because the stage time got delayed by an hour and a half and we ended up clashing with slaves, and no one knew we were on when we actually ended up playing, so hopefully tonight runs to plan!
So, what do you guys do to unwind when you aren’t on tour?
Jordan: Drink lots of rum.
Danny: A lot of rum.
Nathan: I go the gym a lot…
Jordan: ‘I actually go to the gym a lot’
Kieran: I play a bit of football.
Jordan: We did have a football team for a bit so that went to pot, I’m back at uni now in Leeds doing business management so I’m trying to do my assignments in the back of the van, there’s no down time for me at the moment!
"Jordan fights in his sleep!"
Are there any downsides to being in a band together?
Jordan: Definitely loading in and out, that’s the bit no one gets to see!
Kieran: Snoring in the room, it’s like a challenge to get to sleep first.
Jordan: Apparently I’m a nightmare to be in a room with…
Danny and Kieran: He fights in his sleep!
Jordan: Obviously we’re sharing one Travelodge room between the four of us, so we’ve got a double bed that two of us share and two single camp beds, but yeah, I’m quite an aggressive sleeper.
Danny: Most people go to bed to relax?
Jordan: I must save all my anger for when I sleep!
So, Jordan, why go from being a solo artist to starting a band up??
Jordan: Well I was getting to do some really good gigs, like a show with Blossoms in Manchester before they blew up, and you can be the best acoustic guy in the world, but with this kind of music it’s all about that full live sound, and I think I knew that this was the way it would probably go, it was just a case of finding the right people.
Is there one band or artist you’d love to support?
Nathan: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, hands down.
Kieran: The Killers at the Macron Stadium in Bolton…
Jordan: Bolton never has any gigs, but The Killers are there so that’s a big one!
Let’s hope they need a local support!
Kieran: It’d be great if we could blag our way into that!
Danny: So, if The Killers are listening, sort us out.
I’m not sure this one will reach them sadly! At what point as a band do you think you’ll say, “we’ve made it?”
Kieran: It has to be headlining Glastonbury.
Jordan: I think that’s a tough one, cause when you’re growing up and you see bands you do think ‘oh they must have made it’ but when you get to this stage that we’re at now you realise they’re just groups of lads like us, whatever venues they’re playing.
Nathan: I think it all becomes real when you go to Reading or Leeds and you’re walking round seeing people you idolise, and you’re in that same environment as them, but I think just being able to sustain this and play music every night and not have to go and work in Wilkinson’s or anything like that is enough for me.
Playing music every night and not having to and work in Wilkinson's or anything like that is enough for me
Apart from Jordan being at Uni, what do you guys all do for a living?
Danny: I’m a chef at the same time…
Kieran: I’m a hairdresser…
Nathan: I’ve been with the management for a while, so I’d been able to go full time for a while, then back into work, Jordan did this full time for a couple of years.
Jordan: And now I’m slumming it out at uni, I should’ve finished about 4 years ago!
What’s on the horizon for you guys after this tour ends?
Jordan: I think we’re planning on getting back out on the road as soon as we can, but I’ve got to hand in all my assignments in January! But once that’s out of the way we have 3 new tracks recorded, so we’re just mapping out how we’re going to release those next year, do a few more shows and then onto festival season, where hopefully we’ll get as many slots as we can.
A less serious one for you, but Christmas songs- Yes or No?
Kieran: Funnily enough we’ve just recorded one.
Will we be hearing that tonight?
Jordan: No that won’t be on the setlist tonight, we did the Christmas light switch on with Paddy McGuiness which was funny, but we had to do a Christmas song for that, so we covered Alien for Christmas by Fountains of Wayne. Our manager used to look after The Pogues, so we’d have to say Fairy-tale of New York is our favourite.
Nathan: I actually supported The Pogues…
Kieran: Just you?
Jordan: Just Nathan with a pair of scissors?
Nathan: No just me and a bottle of whiskey with Shane! (MacGowan)
This is the last question I’ve got; how would you convince anyone reading this who hasn’t heard of you to go to your gigs in one sentence?
Kieran: It’s well fun.
Jordan: I’d probably go for something a bit more articulate! He’s only got a vocabulary of about 6/7 words to be fair…
Nathan: He’s been trying crosswords on the way up trying to learn some new words.
Jordan: Well we were quoted as the best thing to come out of Bolton since garlic bread, and if you’re going to watch anything that’s come out of Bolton you might as well give us a try!
‘The best thing to come out of Bolton since garlic bread’, that’s going to be my headline
Jordan: That’s a gripper isn’t it, a clickbait right there!
Well thank you guys, good luck for tonight and the rest of the Tour!