Mike Edwards, Jesus Jones – Interview
Mike Edwards, the frontman of nineties indie hitmakers Jesus Jones, talks to Victoria Holdsworth about new records, style Nazis and never having a guilty musical pleasure…
After a very long hiatus, you are back in the forefront of everyone’s minds. How does it feel after all this time?
Not really any different. We were always a live band rather than a studio project and although we had big success in some areas we didn’t in others, like mainland Europe. So we were always used to not being rock star bigwigs. If anything, it’s actually better now, there’s no pressure and we’ve learned to be a better band. Yeah, that took a while.
Back in the heady indie/rock/pop days of the 90s, you were chart topping, musical contenders with your debut album, however the noughties generation seemed to exile you into a nostalgic musical wilderness. How do you, yourselves put that certain time period into context?
As the writer for the band I just do what I do and that’s the limit to the control I have over that. Although I know I have a strong style I think that it does change. To me there’s a big difference between Liquidiser and Perverse, and Perverse and Passages. There are new and contemporary influences always. It’s a bit late to worry about spin. It’s a better time for us just to get on and do what we do and be judged on our music and live shows.
One thing that you never really stopped doing though was touring. How important was it for you guys to keep on going that?
It’s a little like breathing. It’s just something a band like us does, we come from that genre where being in a band was about playing shows and everything else supported that. It helps that, once we lost our deal with EMI Records, it was the most straightforward option we had.
So the new album Passages – tell us how it came to fruition?
I’m often writing, so there were scraps I’d been working on for a while. There came a point when we realised there was enough momentum and enough material to push for an album so I changed gears, collected all the bits and pieces, re-wrote the old, started plenty of new and made the most of the DIY recording ability we have these days.
The album was promoted through PledgeMusic. Do you think that now music has changed so drastically, especially in the way that it is currently marketed, that it has opened up an opportunity for you to come back into people’s playlists?
I guess that people can listen to and like a band, without much in the way of effort these days, so yes I think that we could easily end up with a song or two, or five, on the playlists of people who thirty years ago wouldn’t have made the effort. I also think that there are fewer style-Nazis these days, and that our potential audience is less caring about the things they were in their twenties, so that we get judged solely on our music now. I’m hoping that plays in our favour!
There have been quite a few album releases of compilations from you, in many guises whether it be ‘Best of’, ‘Live at…’ or ‘Sessions with/at…’ but what have been your favourite tunes over the years?
I have a lot of moments from our albums in the past that I still enjoy, and plenty I don’t. There’s a live version of ‘Someone to Blame’, from a radio station in California, that sends me back to that exciting moment. The live versions of ‘Right Here, Right Now’ are usually OK. ‘All the Answers’ from Liquidiser is good, and the other day I listened to our ‘lost’ album London and really enjoyed it.
“Fun and rewarding”
Who are your guilty pleasures, musically?
Music’s never a guilt thing for me, not even the really long live version of ‘Forty Five Hundred Times’ by Status Quo, or the quite long album version. ‘Team’ by Iggy Azalea is superb, and ‘Light my Body Up’ by Nicki Minaj, and David Guetta rocks. If it’s good, it’s good.
On: Magazine needs to know if you’re still getting death threats from a now 35-year-old in the Seychelles?
[laughs hysterically] Not recently, but let’s not stir up that hornet’s nest! [laughs] I suspect those passions still run deep!
What does the future hold now for Jesus Jones?
Lots of possibilities and the more we do, the more there are. I can see us making more music, which is not hard since I’m writing again already, and we love to tour, but greater than that? Well, I don’t think we’re under any illusions about fame and fortune, but then I don’t think we’re that interested in that side of it. I guess now, if it’s fun and rewarding creatively, we’ll do whatever we want.