A Q&A with Leaf
Punk-grunge-rock fusion – here’s Jarad from Leaf…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
Our latest release is ‘Butterfingers’, which is one of my favourites to listen to and perform. It’s a ‘nice’ little tune that really gets in your head. A bit like tinnitus, but catchier. Colin says it is about his Gran’s buttery thumbs, but we all think it is about his narcissistic tendencies.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
The hardest part of putting it together? We don’t really find it hard to put things together as Colin is great at putting songs together. Many of them start with a riff by me or Colin then we work on them in the rehearsal room so we all have input, which I think is very important and creates the level of uniqueness. So, the hardest part was probably when we went to record and produce it as Jonny Price our fantastic producer always changes bits. For the better too, but don’t tell him…!
What did Jonny Price bring to it?
He is a fantastic person and great producer!! He just ‘gets us’ and we get him, so when recording he’s like a fifth member. His slight changes and inputs on the songs make a big difference and have really helped with dynamics – we are all about the dynamics and Jonny forces us to reflect and improve every aspect. He is a bit like: ‘That was ace, do it again’. Brutal!
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I think we’d all like anybody listening to it to firstly think ‘Man, the old guys can still rock’. Secondly, to realise a great song doesn’t have to be five minutes with two minutes of guitar solos. Thirdly, it gets stuck in their head and they check us out – we have visits to the website from all over the globe.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
A track normally comes together in the rehearsal room. I send Colin riffs, he has riffs of his own, we start jamming on them adding bits and before you know it it’s a song… Like I said previously Colin is great at arranging songs. There is a great chemistry between our guitar playing as we are completely different (even tuning wise), but it works. One of the best things about the Leaf is the chemistry between all four of us. We don’t argue or bicker but are completely honest with each other and can critique each other’s parts without any arsy-ness. We all just want the best outcome, the best song that we can craft.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Our influences since Leaf started are so varied as me and Colin got together in the early 90s with Leaf, but had a 25 year break. So back then it was Smashing Pumpkins, Cannibal Corpse, Manic Street Preachers and AC/DC, whereas now with the addition of Mark and Dan it’s a much wider array of stuff from Candlebox to Prince, and Colin is into punkier stuff these days. But at the end of the day, we are Leaf and just do what we like doing regardless of who it sounds like. We want to sound like us.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
Countries and venues we’d like to play? We are happy to play anywhere and will put as much into it no matter where we play and how many people are there. I love curry so Bangladesh would be good. But if we play to 20 or 20,000 it would be the same performance; me and Dan being quite static, grinding out the riffs, Mark obliterating his kit and Colin going nuts.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
As for a standout track for listeners it’s got to be listen to every one of them. Some of the songs we still put in our set are near on 30 years old but still fit what we do, although some do differ slightly from back then. If I had to show a listener five tracks it would probably be ‘Impossible’, ‘Long Road’, ‘Disruptor’, ‘Do it Again’, ‘Lost My Faith’, as I feel these show off the diversity of our style. Ask the others though and you will get a different five from each of them!
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
Our ambitions remain the same as ever: Play the next gig better than the last. Try to pick up a few followers and see where it leads! We are all a bit older now and really enjoy what we do, so I think as long as we all keep feeling this way we will keep pushing for bigger crowds and bigger gigs.
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Parting words are normally ‘We are Leaf, thank you and good night!’ Then we all rush for a beer or two. Oh and a kebab. Athletes we are not, but we have fantastic songs, play with commitment and you won’t forget the hooks!
For more info visit: leafband.co.uk