Jojo marks Valentines Day 2011 with an interview with Jordan Smith, bassist of The Xcerts and now proud winners of the Fudge Awards 2011 “Aberdeen Bands Of The Noughties Ultimate Champion Of Champions Championship” .
Firstly, a belated happy New Year, did you do anything nice for Christmas and New Year?
Aye pretty standard really, we all fled to our respective parents’ houses and sat down for 2 weeks. Bliss.
At the Lemon Tree gig before Christmas, the sound of the crowd singing Aberdeen 1987 was amazing, does it get emotional hearing huge amounts of people singing your songs back to you?
Of course, the Scottish shows are always the most intense anyway but that tour was particularly so, I think it was the weather and the snow, loads of kids couldn’t make it out, so the ones that did totally went for it, it just gave the shows this really special quality. Like we beat Mother Nature to bring a rock show to the kids.
You’ve been together since 2001, don’t get ever fall out or get sick of each other?
That goes without saying, we live in each other’s pockets 9 months out of the year, but the other side of that is that we know each other better than some immediate family members. We know when and how we’re annoying each other and we know how to diffuse those situations, only if we feel like it of course, ritual humiliation is a big part of keeping yourself entertained on tour, just depends whose due for a poke with the stick. (We don’t have an actual stick by the way..)
This year you will have been together for 10 years, do you have anything special planned to mark the occasion?
Nothing planned really.. Anniversaries are one of those things you try not to acknowledge too much. It only highlights how bafflingly quick time passes.
You’re all so young, if you weren’t to be in a band, what would you be doing?
Dead-end jobs probably. We’d all follow our respective cv’s past occupations. So, hotel porter, video store clerk and taxi driver respectively. I’ll let you guess who did what.
You describe your sound as “distorted pop”, can you describe this sound for us?
Kind of what it says on the tin really. We always saw what we did as pop music in its essence, no matter how heavy or out-there we end up, we all love classic pop structures in music. The distorted prefix just gives us full scope to be anything we want, should we take the notion.
Why did you choose to move to Brighton?
Well originally it was to follow our old drummer who was older than us and moved to London for college. We decided we wanted to keep this band going and we couldn’t have a long distance drummer so we set up in Brighton, sadly, he left soon after we arrived, but the blessing became evident in Tom’s shining beardy mush. Makes me well-up every time.
Do you still keep an eye on the Aberdeen music scene? What do you make of it at the moment?
I’m not about to start waxing lyrical about a scene I’m not actively involved with anymore, but yeah, we try to keep up on new bands whenever we’re back in town. Aberdeen’s scene has always seemed healthy and vibrant despite its obvious dissociation with the rest of Britain. It’s so far away from anywhere else that it means bands will always struggle to break away from their locality for want of a better word, but the good thing with that is that it creates this microcosm of competition which is really healthy and guarantees variety, loads of bands and loads of shows is what makes a scene strong.
How does it feel being an inspiration for other Aberdeen bands?
That’s another one of those things you can’t look directly at, like a solar eclipse or something. If people really feel like that about our band then i guess it makes me feel proud. But they say something about pride coming before a fall so that’s why I’m not going to look directly at that question.
Who are your influences, musical or otherwise?
Any band that uses old chord progressions in a new way. Actually that sounds weird, like we only listen to Status Quo or something..
Last year you played the main stage at Rockness, how was that?
Yeah a bit of a milestone really. My mum got a picture of my big squished up face singing on the big screens at the sides of the stage, which was, you know, never something we had to worry about…
What’s the best gig you’ve played and the best gig you’ve attended?
Best gig I ever played would have to be the British Anthems show in Tokyo, Japan, really vast warehouse venue full of smiling faces that I couldn’t understand. Best gig attended was probably Idlewild playing acoustically at a tiny, tiny shooting lodge near Forres, the exact opposite of the first show really. Best of both worlds.
You’ve supported a lot of big bands, is there anyone else you would like to tour with?
Still holding out for a 3 month U.S trawl with Springsteen and the E Street band. Bruce, if you’re reading this, think about it baby…
What are the best things about being in a band?
Travelling the country with your best friends, getting paid to play music to people.
Any bands to watch out for in 2011?
Too many to count: Us Baby Bear Bones from Brighton play super-cool Broken Social Scene-y national-forest-pop, The Computers from Exeter make fast, hard rock’n’roll, eh… maybe there aren’t that many. The Spin Doctors?? They’re a band right?
What’s coming up for the Xcerts in 2011, I hear you’re touring Europe later this year?
I can neither confirm nor deny those allegations… cause I honestly don’t know.
Any festival appearance planned?
Same thing really, we’d like to do them all but they always get confirmed weeks before the actual show so it’s just a waiting game.
When do you think you’ll return to Aberdeen?
As soon as we run out of stovies! (actually its on the 6th of April at Cafe Drummonds).
What can we expect from the new EP and when will it be released?
The Stairs to Noise EP will be dropping March 7th. You can expect off-cuts and unused tracks from the Scatterbrain recording sessions along with some remixes, covers and videos.
You recently announced you are covering Elliot Smith’s Say Yes, is there any other songs you would like to cover?
Well it was between Elliott Smith’s Say Yes and Bon Jovi’s These Days, they both have two words in the title and they both rock like a black mamba at a Whitesnake concert. Say Yes just seemed a little more appropriate I guess.
A JoJo favourite, what colour socks do you have on?
One purple and one sky blue. Christmas obviously means a massive influx of new socks and i just haven’t got round to pairing them yet.
Finally, two F’n’S favourites, favourite flavour of crisps?
What are your 5 desert island tracks?
Tom Waits – Bottom of the World
Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton – The Maid Needs a Maid
Why? – Eskimo Snow
The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow
Maps & Atlases – Will
Much thankies for your time Jordan and hopefully we’ll see you in April 🙂
The Xcerts play Cafe Drummonds on the 6th of April.
The Xcerts Website