I was running late and it was by complete chance that I ran into half of Jaws in post-gig favourite Subway, opposite The Duchess. Stocking up on tea and cheap sandwiches before their support slot for Spector later that night, it was the grounded nature of this band that shone through. Manager Neil leads us past the queue into the venue, having given me the most Brummy of welcomes. But it’s outside on the bitterly cold, concrete slab of a smoking area that we huddle together to discuss their story so far.
Individually they have been pursuing music from as young as ten years of age, but their “first gig was in April at Camden Barfly.” It’s drummer Eddy Geach who takes the lead in recounting their formation, whilst lead singer Connor Schofield, who looks positively knackered, rests on his shoulder, delicately noting how “it’s cold as fook”. Having formed only a month previously, Jaws have, over the past year and half, slowly built themselves into one of the new frontrunners in the ‘Btown’ explosion. When asked whether, like Swim Deep, they were simply floating on the merits of Peace, Alex Hudson explained that originally they “helped us good gigs for the age of the band, but now its all spreading out and we’re pushing ourselves through”. Jaws proved this only too well an hour later as a raptured audience, entranced by their future anthems, chanted the drawling hook to ‘Stay In’. “We always kept up to date with everything”, claims Eddy, and you can tell. They are so on-trend it hurts, both Connor and Alex sporting the baggiest Slazenger hoodies. Their fashion sense is mirrored in the sound on their debut EP, Milkshake. Grungy guitars, chorus effects aplenty, all enveloped by the steady thunder of Jake Cooper on bass, it asserts a stronger sound than most of the new wave of 90s-influenced guitar bands. Jake goes on to pronounce the best analogy of the Btown music scene so far: “no one’s actually from Birmingham…it’s like Birmingham’s the bolognese and everyone else is the spaghetti”.
When probed about when their debut LP might be hitting the shelves, they replied “hopefully by the end of this year, we should have a rough idea what the album will sound like.” Jaws seem to be managing the writing process efficiently for such a young band and avoiding the pressure to rush that initial record. It’s noted that “Connor writes most of the stuff” on what he coins his ‘Fender Jizzmeister’, although “we all add our own little bits to define the song”. For a band that come from a place about as urban and inland as humanly possible in the UK, tracks like ‘Toucan Surf’ are peppered with a sense of coastal escapism and surf rock notions. In answer, lyricist Connor reminisces how “the earlier stuff, I wrote in the summer”, that essence very much conveyed as the lines in ‘Breeze’ washes The Duchess away, amidst waves of chords.
As the conversation moves onto recent single ‘Gold’, you get the sense that this is a band still very much uneasy and wary of their own momentum. Currently, there’s no video for the single. Jake tells how “we’ve had a few offers from people who wanted to do it,” but they’re paying the price for shoddy state of the musical economy right now. As ‘Gold’ receives perhaps the greatest cheer of the set, and regular radio play, Jaws still find themselves, “folking poor”. The message that resides most powerfully comes from Alex, “if the money that we got, we just blew on doing shit like videos, we wouldn’t be a band anymore”.
Followed by resounding agreement that the biggest cost of touring from early June until October is petrol – their Birmingham Christmas show standing out amongst their highlights of the past year.
It’s a sad but very real issue, that a group so honest and shocked to have come as far as they have, are hindered by something as anti-music as petrol money. Jaws are about as far away from their own arseholes as you can possibly be. Their whole outlook was epitomised when one girl from the audience yelled ‘I love you Jake’, to which he replies, “Thanks…No one else does.” In their own words “fingers crossed” they make the sound of 2014, they deserve it. And thanks to Eddy for holding my shitty recorder throughout the entire interview.
In other news, Fred Macpherson was as pretentiously twatish as always.