Birmingham band JAWS’ debut album is the product of almost three years of writing. In that time, the four-piece have gone from being a hyped tagalong to their city’s ‘scene’, right up into becoming the fevered, grunge-peddling band they are today. Every single moment in their career has developed underneath a spotlight, and that lends their first LP ‘Be Slowly’ a scattered, snapshot quality. Moments in all four members’ lives are documented, from growing up in Birmingham to touring the country. Practice sessions and panic attacks - every tiny detail of JAWS’ early days - works its way into the record.
We sat down with Connor Schofield and co. to discuss their first work. Schofield (vocals, guitars), Alex Hudson (guitars), bassist Jake Cooper and Eddy Geach on drums all chip in with their various stories, the tales that formed this excitable debut.
Eddy: It was around Christmas time when we were doing gigs. I remember the first time I heard Connor play that riff, and we all knew ‘That’s a song. We need to do this’. The next practise session we went straight for this song, and it had to be an opener.
Jake: I remember that being one of the first tracks Connor shared me off his phone. Connor: I sort of try and get as much down onto Logic as possible, upload onto Soundcloud and ship it round.
Connor: It’s the first song I wrote ever, as a songwriter. I didn’t even intend it to be a band.
Jake: Connor sent this to me when he asked us to be in a band. When it came to writing the album, I remember it being on the shortlist, but it was such an in-depth songs. Connor: The main subject of the lyrics is anxiety, but it’s called ‘Cameron’ because I watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the character Cameron reminded me of myself. He’s the one that has to be dragged around everywhere, with no enthusiasm to do anything.
Connor: ‘Gold’ speaks for itself. It’s the big one that we play last.
Jake: It’s definitely not a Spandau Ballet song.
Connor: It’s general escapism, not being happy with where you are.
Connor: ‘Swim’ is about seeing someone on a bus, on a train or anywhere else and thinking ‘Fuck, she’s beautiful. And then you think about them for the rest of your life.
Eddy: It’s being too nervous to do anything about it, going home on your own and forever regretting not asking this person out.
Eddy: That’s the wildcard.
Connor: That’s my favourite on the album.
Eddy: It’s the last one we wrote, three days before we started tracking the album. And it was brilliant - when we wrote it, it felt new and different. We needed to record it before making a decision. We’d played it to a few friends who didn’t like it, another few friends who did.
Alex: Even when we recorded it, we listened back and went, ‘Nah’.
Eddy: I felt like that about a lot of the songs when they got finished.
Connor: But then it all got mixed and wasn’t so bad after all!
Eddy: I was shitting myself to be fair, I was like, ‘It’s been a good run’. It’s a song that made us doubt the future of the whole band!
Jake: It’s probably my favourite track on the whole album. It’s just upbeat.
Connor: To be fair, I don’t really know where ‘Be Slowly’ came from as a phrase. It sort of means that there’s no rush ever. Just take your time. A lot of people live in a constant rush, and you need to sit for a second. A lot of people live too fast for themselves.
Think Too Much, Feel Too Little
Connor: We wrote that song as a joke, to be honest. I was playing the exact same riff from ‘Stay In’, and then we were sort of taking the piss out of how The 1975 play guitar. I was just playing our riff but in that style, and I remember Eddy being sat with the bass and playing along. Eddy: We accidentally wrote a song that turned out to be one of the singles.
Jake: That was definitely not going to be on the album, but the producer liked it. It was decided that it had to be the single. Connor: We were all like, ‘Are you serious? Are you winding us up?’
Connor: This song was called ‘Grunge’ for so long. It reminded us of Nirvana and we couldn’t come up with a title for it. But we ended up playing the song at a Christmas show and a mate came up and said, ‘The riff in that song was pure filth’. I thought, ‘Hang on’. So I wrote it down.
Connor: It’s my favourite song musically on the album. It came out exactly how I imagined it.
Jake: This song always pisses me off. I remember us touring, and every single soundcheck or rehearsal we did, Connor would play the opening note of this riff again and again in soundcheck.
Connor: Just a classic number. It’s about the same thing as ‘Swim’, really. Regretting not talking to someone.
New Year’s Eve
Connor: It’s an emotional one. It’s about last year’s New Year’s Eve. We thought the album needed a slower, sad song on there. We had a couple but they didn’t really go anywhere. And then we started writing one and it ended up being this cool song.
Eddy: The inspiration for that one was a Killers song, ‘When We Were Young’. Jake: Say a band like Killers or Coldplay are playing a stadium and then it bursts into fireworks. We’re not going to play this one live until we reach Wembley Stadium.
Alex: We’ll have to play it at least five times.
Eddy: And if you play the album backwards, it sounds really shit.
JAWS’ debut album ‘Be Slowly’ is out now via Rattlepop.