Jockstrap: “We wanted to make something that felt right to us but that also felt as accessible as possible”

Interview Jockstrap: “We wanted to make something that felt right to us but that also felt as accessible as possible”

Being crowned our Best Album of 2022, Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye reflect on the impact of ‘I Love You Jennifer B’.

When Jockstrap first emerged in 2018 with their intriguing single ‘Hayley’, it was clear that the duo - made up of Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye - were primed to make some experimental pop magic.

Fast forward four years and their long-awaited debut album, ‘I Love You Jennifer B’, arrived with a colourfully chaotic bang, more confident and bolder than their previous releases, and just as magical as ever. In our review on its September release, we described the album as “creaking and groaning under the weight of its ideas in a way that’s more thrilling than exhausting.”

It’s no great surprise then that, as we were thinking of our fave records of the year, Jockstrap kept shooting to the top. Scoring the number one position in our official Albums of 2022 list, we caught up with Georgia and Taylor to reflect on ‘I Love You Jennifer B’ and their year so far.

‘I Love You Jennifer B’ has been voted DIY’s Album of 2022 - congratulations! How was it finally getting the record out in the world?
Taylor: The day it came out, we were playing these in-store shows where we were DJing the album and Georgia was performing and we had a dancer. They were on the day the album came out, and it was kind of overwhelming - a real moment, for sure.
Georgia: Now with the end of year lists, lots of people have thought about the album and it’s been in a ridiculous amount of Top Fives. We’ve been really surprised about that. Realising that people have listened and stuck with it from when it first came out, that’s been the thing for me. I think maybe it’s an album that takes a couple of listens and grew on people? That’s the impression that I get. When it came out, we were super excited, and people that were already fans were super hyped, but when new people listen to Jockstrap for the first time, I don’t know… Maybe people have to sit with it for a bit?

Do you feel like the album has gathered momentum since its September release?
Georgia: It’s hard to tell because we’ve just been touring, but coming to America and having all our shows sell out has been a big surprise and really amazing. It’s such a gamble when you book a tour in America whether it’s going to go down well or not and it did, so we’ve been very excited about that. Coming here and people singing the lyrics - that’s a pretty insane feeling.

Looking back at the album-making process, are there any special moments that stand out as particularly memorable ones?
Taylor: The first song we finished was ‘Concrete Over Water’ three years ago, and we did it in two goes - Georgia coming up with the demo in one move, and then me spending some time working on it and sending it back. That was an unfair representation of how the rest of the songs were gonna work because some of them took weeks, months, some even years to finish, but we needed that at the start to give us hope that we could do ten songs. I was living in an attic, we were both in different places and we’d just finished Guildhall [School of Music] so it was was quite an uncertain time for both of us, and that was quite a memorable moment, beginning the whole thing.

If some tracks took years to complete, which was the biggest labour of love to get to the finish line?
Georgia: ‘Greatest Hits’ was the longest one; that was a bit of a monster. There were so many things we needed to do to it - so many parts and ideas, and making it flow.
Taylor: Because it was the most generic-sounding song, it was the hardest to get right. And that’s something that we’re generally trying to do: make something that feels right to us but that also feels as accessible as possible. It’s probably one of the most simple-sounding [songs on the album], but some of the best music is amazing because of how succinct and simple it is, and it can be quite hard to get right.

“That’s something that we’re generally trying to do: make something that feels right to us but that also feels as accessible as possible.”

— Taylor Skye

Have you been surprised by the reaction to any tracks?
Georgia: I think also ‘Greatest Hits’. People could slam it as a pastiche song and they haven’t. But we put the work in to make it interesting, so that wouldn’t happen. It’s not like it was a fear… was it?
Taylor
: No, it’s just that I think people seem to be into the new sounds [we make] in our music, whereas with this it’s pretty obvious that there’s piano and funky drums and stuff like that. But I think when Georgia sent me the demo for it, the chords she came up with were really special and interesting so, for me, that carries it. It’s maybe just a different focus on that song to the others.

Were you conscious of what statement you wanted your debut to make?
Georgia: I don’t think we treated it any differently to the EPs. We just set out to make a longer project, but there’s also a lot of weight that I personally put on debut albums which was unhelpful because we were just always going to do what we knew how to do. I don’t think Taylor was so phased by it to be honest, which helped. Is that true
Taylor: Yeah, but I think often the different approaches we have work together to help. And who knows what you really think deep down; obviously it meant a lot to both of us but we also didn’t want to overthink it. And also it has come out and people have seen it as a debut album, so it is a relatively important thing to get right, but we never made any changes to make it feel a certain way. We just put the songs together.

Aside from releasing this superlative album, what other moments will you remember from 2022?
Taylor: This tour has been [quite special], because I find touring quite difficult but I’m starting to get used to it and I really enjoy being in America. We’ve put a few extra things on sale while we’ve been here and they’ve all sold out straight away, which is something we’re still not used to. It makes you think, where are we actually at? What can we do next? Which is quite exciting to think about. We’re playing the biggest shows we’ve ever played and there are venues that we’d love to play that now maybe seem possible.

You’re literally playing Wembley Stadium next year with Blur! Have you mentally prepared for how that might be?
Georgia: I’ve never seen a show there so I don’t really know the size of it, but it’ll feel a bit stupidly big probably. But the fact we’re playing first will counter it.
Taylor: We grew up on Gorillaz, and we actually did an Africa Express show with Damon a few years ago and Blur reunited for two songs so that was exciting.

Does the reaction to this album push you to be even more ambitious next time?
Taylor
: We’re mainly editing the live show as we play, so that’s probably the thing that [the reaction] is affecting the most. We both like DJing a lot, and sometimes we try and approach the live show a bit like that and see what people like. Although we’ve played live quite a lot, this next couple of years are gonna be a new level.
Georgia: I didn’t play guitar before we played these shows, so there’s still a lot of perfecting to do, just getting comfortable on stage. Even though it’s electronic music, we can go back and change things from show to show like bands do so we’re putting a lot of energy into that.

And finally, what will a Jockstrap Christmas celebration involve?
Taylor: We’re playing a show two days before Christmas in Paris, so that’ll be nice. Georgia will probably go up to Cornwall.
Georgia: It will look like a rest for me.
Taylor: I’m going to get really drunk for five days in a row.

Both solid options. Congrats Jockstrap and Merry Christmas!

Tags: Jockstrap, Features, Interviews

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