MusicUmpire Interview | JAGAARA

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Finchley-founded three-piece Jagaara have been making some serious waves in London and beyond over the past few months. I caught up with lead singer, Jane, after a number of shows in support of debut single ‘Faultline’ – a wonderful taste of the west-coast to beat away the winter mirth. We spoke about influences, how it felt to be picked up by the hugely influential CJ Marks, and the explosion of all-female indie groups in the last few years.

MU: First question, how does one correctly pronounce ‘Jagaara’? Is it Jagger-ra? A pirate saying Jaguar? Help the less wizened of us out there.

Jagaara: It’s pronounced ‘Jag-AR-a’. It comes from a character in an anime series.

MU: You’re currently touring in support of the release of ‘Faultline’, how’s the reception been so far? Any highlights?

Jagaara: It was our first time touring outside London and we loved it! We didn’t know what the response would be like because we’ve only just released our first single, but the turn out was great. Swn Fest in Cardiff was probably our favourite because it was so packed. We also played our first club night in Southampton for Club NME and came on at midnight – definitely our most lively crowd!

MU: Being sisters, does it ever get difficult touring together? My brother and I get on great, but sometimes tensions rise and one of us gets spear-tackled through a bunk-bed (Usually me). How do you all manage to keep your cool?

Jagaara: Ha! no it’s been great so far. We all shared a room for 15 years growing up, so we’re used to spending a lot of time together! We can be really honest with each other without falling out which is crucial to any creative project. And any tour bus.

MU: Moving on; you managed to record the debut single with the illustrious Catherine (CJ) Marks, who’s known for working with Foals and Howling Bells. How was it working with her?

Jagaara: She was great to work with – she really listens and works in a collaborative way. She helped us to create a bigger sound and we’re really happy with how the track turned out.

MU: You should be, it sounds absolutely beautiful; there’s some fantastic use of space that opens the whole thing up and gives off a wonderful atmosphere. There appears to be a flourishing of all-female indie/alternative groups appearing across the UK music scene, something that often, and sadly, appears to be male orientated. How did this affect things when you were just breaking through as a group?

Jagaara: There seem to be a lot of solo female musicians doing well so it’s strange that indie female bands haven’t done as well until recently. Times are definitely changing though, so it’s a great time to be in an all-female band. We recently played an all-female night at The Clapham Grand for Women’s Aid alongside female comedians, writers, and speakers which was really inspiring.

MU: Awesome, is there any advice you could offer to similar groups who are looking for a way in to the scene?

Jagaara: This might sound obvious, but keep playing live. It’s the best way to connect with people. Our management spotted us at a Communion gig in London and it was all very unexpected, but since then things have changed for us. Also try and meet other musicians and collaborate as much as possible – we’re lucky to have great musician friends around us who inspire us and make the whole thing even more fun. And if you can produce your own music, even just demos, everything is much easier. We produce our own demos and we’re trying to get better at it.

MU: Now, a lot of reviews have hinted at the similarities with Haim, another all-female, sibling three piece who kicked up a huge storm this year, how do you feel about being considered the “British-answer”? Have you found yourself influenced by this or would you rather step away from such titles?

Jagaara: A lot of the comparison is down to being three sisters in a band who play guitars and keys and harmonise, so we can see why people would go there. New bands are always compared to what’s come before, and they’re an awesome band so we don’t mind! But our sound and style is very different to theirs, so once people hear more of our music they probably won’t compare us so much.

MU: Furthermore, who has influenced your sound and how you write music?

Jagaara: We’ve been influenced by a lot of different music over the years. We all grew up on our Dad’s record collection which was a mix of old blues and rock, including Led Zeppelin and Kate Bush. Then I started listening to Nick Cave, Portishead and Radiohead. We all have different tastes but they all overlap. I started writing when I was 16, just on the piano and then on guitar. We write some of our songs all together too. We find that if a song can sound good with just a guitar or piano, then it’s probably a good one! Ruth studied music production at college so she usually develops the track and we all finish it together. Recently we’ve started using Ableton, writing music to drum beats and being more experimental with the soundscape…we like to mix organic soulful influences with electronic sounds. At the moment we’re listening to Honne, FKA Twigs and our friend Jack Garratt.

MU: Sweet, sounds right up my street. You hail from London, a city with an unbelievably vivid and thriving music scene, are there any venues out there that you just can’t help but go back to?

Jagaara: We’re lucky to have grown up in a city with such a great music scene. We really like Electrowerkz, and Union Chapel in Islington. We’d love to play Cargo in Shoreditch – we’ve seen some of our favourite bands there.

MU: On a more serious note; How do you like your Nando’s?

Jagaara: Medium. We love spicy food! And it’s all about the all you can eat frozen yoghurt…

MU: Damn straight! What’s the plan after the tour finishes? Are you going to be heading back to the studio or getting some more shows under your belts?

Jagaara: We’re still writing, but we’re aiming to finish writing the album really soon. We’re playing The Shacklewell Arms on 18th December, another one of our favourite venues!

MU: Sounds fantastic, I’m sure you’ll smash it. Thanks for the chat, I speak for everyone at MusicUmpire when I say we can’t wait to hear the album. Stay classy!

You can catch Jagaara on 18th December at The Shacklewell Arms for the Eat Your Own Ears / Field Day Christmas Party. Free tickets.

Like: Jagaara on Facebook

Photo Courtesy of Gaelle Beri

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