On March 18, 2012 we had a chance to talk to Dan Lucas from the amazing JAIRUS. Read our conversation below.
Hello. Please make a brief introduction of the band.
We are JAIRUS, a vague mixture of hardcore, ambience, post rock and everything in between!
Oh, yeah. Your tune is on and I feel good. It’s always nice to get back to the “Build My Gallows High” EP, the first thing I heard from you. Tell us how have you created it?
Build My Gallows High was the first thing we wrote after re-forming back in early 2009. It’d been 4 years since our previous release, so we felt like we needed something current for people to hear. The first song written for that record was Film Noir, which I (Dan) personally think is the best track on there. I think it showcases all of the elements of JAIRUS (of which there are many!) that we love. It’s powerful, has beautiful chords and a great vocal performance from Adam! I think the EP did the job it was supposed to, which was to give people something to listen to that was a more accurate representation of JAIRUS in 2009, but I thnk that the band has far more to offer than that record, it was a real rush to write and record!
Let’s go back for a while. Your debut album entitled “The Need To Change The Mapmaker” was released in 2004. How different were those times for the band?
That time wasn’t too different in the sense of our goals and aspirations for JAIRUS to how they are now, but everything was new to us back then. We started recording that album in Summer 2003, and it was the first thing we ever did that was released on a proper label, so it was a really big deal. It was a daunting process to write and record a whole album for us as a bunch of 20 year olds with very little experience! I have such fond memories of that recording process though. It was very DIY, and was all recorded in my friend Ben’s flat over a period of about three months. It’s raw as hell, but I think you can hear the passion and emotion that went into it, we wanted to change the world when we did that! There were a lot of late night conversations about whether it would make an impact in the right places or not, thankfully it did and led to a LOT of touring and great times afterwards. I receive so many messages from people even now who seem to regard that album as one of the ‘stand out’ records from the hardcore scene at that time, so am very proud to have been a part of it, but I feel that JAIRUS has so much more to offer!
Any plans to re-issue the old stuff, including 2 demos from the 2001-2004 era?
I don’t think we want anyone to hear those, they suck! And in fact there were THREE demo’s from that era!
Damn, I missed that. What have you been doing during the hiatus?
Some of us went on to form an instrumental indie/post rock band called PAPILLIONS – we played a couple of shows but it just didn’t feel the same. I also briefly joined UNWED SAILOR, am Oklahoma-based instrumental band signed to Burnt Toast. They used to be one of my favourite bands, so playing guitar on them for an American and European tour was an amazing experience. I believe during that time Adam made a pretty weird solo record, let’s just say we were a little lost without JAIRUS.
When you were about to start this band, did you think how life would shape up for you in 2012? How was your idea of the future and how is your idea of the further future like 2025 now?
We didn’t really think about the future, it was a kind of ‘live for today’ thing, it still is really. We’ll all be 42 in 2025, I don’t wanna think about that!
Ok, so what’s new for the band? You are releasing your “Streams over Sad Parades” EP in May. The new tunes kill even better. How was the writing and the recording process? Are happy with the final effect?
Yes, very happy indeed, much more so than with Build My Gallows High. We took a lot more time over the writing of Parades and I think we’ve managed to incorporate all of the great elements of JAIRUS into those four tracks. It was also a much more even keel on the writing front between band members than previous records have been.
How about the making-of documentary idea? Will you be releasing some episodes soon?
We will, the guy is just waiting for a photo album from Adam to be incorporated into it. It’s actually a really cool thing to watch though, I think that even people who aren’t into our music will enjoy it as it just shows you what being in a band is really like from the inside out. It’s all filmed in HD, with some great footage of various tours over the years, interviews, and a ton of footage of us recording Streams Over Sad Parades in my studio.
You are releasing it via Frontal Noize Records and Holy Ghost Records. Tell us more about your relationship with both labels. Do you have good friends within those rosters or is it just a distribution channel?
Frontal Noize was brought to our attention by my friend Rhys from the band WILD DOGS IN WINTER. Holy Ghost got in touch with Pieter from the label about European distribution. So far things have been great, we’re really excited about working with both labels, so who knows what the future holds!
Ok, you’re hitting the road just after the release date. Exicted? Why only a few shows? What are your touring plans for the rest of the year?
We will be touring throughout the year, but figured that two weeks worth of European shows would be enough to start with – we’ve not been out to Western Europe for quite a while so wanted to test the water first, but so far the reaction has been awesome. But yes, we will be touring constantly this year if the right shows come up.
You have been touring heavily in the past. Do you have your best touring experience? Any fucked up stories from the road?
Lots of stories. I guess that myself, Adam, James and Symon would probably all agree that Japan was the greatest touring experience as a band. Although we’ve done some other incredible tours in Eastern and Western Europe and had so many amazing experiences along the way. 26 countries so far! I remember a particularly scary experience in Osaka (Japan). We played at a venue that was owned by someone with connections to the Japanese Yakuza. After the show we were informed that there were members of the Yakuza hovering around in the alleyway and becoming aggressive because they didn’t want us there. We were informed by our touring partners (The Stiff) that we needed to get out of there NOW before trouble erupted. We had to sneak down all these back alleys to get back to our van, and were pretty edgy to say the least!
What’s hot in your local music scene?
FEED THE RHINO are doing very well at the moment. A good, heavy band. I really like a band called MAGNETS who are doing a kind of RADIOHEAD meets something a lot heavier kind of thing!
Any good zines you would like to recommend?
I’m not that familiar with zines to be honest, I never look at them!
How did you tap Geert van de Velde from SHAI HULUD to contribute for song called “Chupacabara”? Do you think he looks alike? [laughs]
Do I think he looks like a rabid dog?! No! [laughs] …Well, SHAI HULUD were a huge influence on JAIRUS. I remember playing with them a few times in 2003/4 and being totally in awe of Geert’s vocals and stage presence. He’s kind of the iconic hardcore frontman. I noticed that his new band THE BLACK ATLANTIC were on tour over here around the time we were recording Parades so I e-mailed him initially about them doing some live recording in my studio. Then I decided to pop the question about contributing guest vocals to the EP and he was up for it. He’s a really cool guy, very down to earth and I have a lot of respect for him as a vocalist and a musician in general. There is a lot more to that guy than just being a screamer and aggressive looking frontman, he has a lot of depth and a lot of great ideas, and it was an honour to have him in the studio and on the record. I can’t imagine anyone more perfect to contribute vocals to that track.
What’s good in today’s hardcore scene?
It’s a grey area for me…the things that made me fall in love with hardcore music aren’t really there any more.
So what’s your goal in making music?
Just to write and perform music that we believe in…so I guess we’re already achieving them?!
Tell us a little about your lyrical content. What thoughts are you trying to bring out?
Adam would have to answer that, and he’s not here to answer! I know that a lot of the lyrics have political content – Chupacabara has a lot of references to the stock market and city traders in it. Adam has a lot to say, he’s a very talented lyric writer.
Outside of the band, what are your activities?
I can only speak for myself here really – my life is generally taken up with either playing in bands, or recording/producing/mixing them. I spend a lot of time with my family and my girlfriend Holly, I also love nothing more than just reading a book in town and drinking coffee! I’m also in a blues band with Adam, Symon (JAIRUS drummer) and Holly…so their lives are generally taken up with music too. James spends his time selling beautiful sports cars, something that both of us have a keen interest in, not that any of us can afford them. One day!
Thank you so much. Pleasure to have you here. Feel free to add anything you like.ple hearing much more
Thank YOU! I’d just like to say it’s nice to have people showing an interest in what we’re doing. JAIRUS has SO much more to offer and we’re looking forward to peo from us in 2012. Please head on over and like our Facebook page too!
Photo by Joanna Lane.