North East indie outfit Jarpsy have had an exciting 2019. With new music and new adventures, filling the last twelve months, it seems there was only one event that made the year complete for everyone: Hardwick Live.
“It was our first real taste of a big festival stage,” frontman Jack “Shorty” Johnson explained. “Pulling in literally hundreds of people…[it] was incredible.”
“I nearly shook Chris off the stage with the volume of my bass in soundcheck,” reminisced Tom O’Donnell.
“It was the nicest backline drum kit I’ve played yet, sounded absolutely monstrous,” Gary Keep answered. So the consensus all around was, Hardwick was a very important festival to the guys.
Hardwick was also the best opportunity for the band to be brought to the attention of many music fans, who would suddenly be greeted with the vintage-modern hybrid that is Jarpsy. Their sound is self-described as having “a modern age twist, tinged with vintage vibes”, and Shorty has claimed the music to be “Clash-esque”.
“We’ve got influences from everything, and crafted our own sound from the fire.”
“We don’t need a fucking horn section or a trombone solo. We don’t need a gimmick to be mint”
Tom is passionate about Jarpsy’s “distinct, raw” sound. “We don’t need a fucking horn section or a trombone solo. We don’t need a gimmick to be mint.”
“And the fact we can’t afford a synth or drum pads,” Gary chimed in. “We keep it retro…all very analogue.”
Jarpsy released their debut EP last year, ‘The Come-Up‘ and looking back on it a year later, it seems they are still their own worst critics – but the fans still pass on “nothing but positivity”.
“We got positive reception from everyone but ourselves,” Gary confirmed, but guitarist Chris Macknight clarified things. “We write what we want to write. If you don’t like it, unlucky then, it’s your loss.” Doesn’t get blunter than that!
Writing for themselves has definitely brought the fans closer to them, as the tours have been selling quick. Every venue packed to the brim when they’re playing. And it seems all “surreal” to them. “Hearing people sing ‘You Know It’s Not Better’ back at us, all the while bouncing around…beyond humbling.”
Tom however got straight to the point on why he loves touring: “I just think it’s nice to get out of the gaff every now and then.” No truer words ever uttered on the benefits of touring, and it seems touring give them some fantastic memories.
“The quicker you crack London, the quicker you take over Britain. Simple as that.”
“I did enjoy sharing pie and chips with Sister Sledge at Hardwick” – who wouldn’t have? “But my favourite is definitely Surf Cafe in Tynemouth, near Newcastle.” A venue that Chris happily dubbed a “lovely little sweatbox”. Sounds delightful.
Now preparing for another major release anytime soon, Jarpsy have been busy releasing some more music – most recently, in late November, they’ve released a brand new single, ‘It’ll Be Alright’. A single full of “the classic ‘Jarp’ sound” it actually took the band two recording sessions to be proud of the song. After recording it in the same session as the last single, ‘Hammerhead’, they felt it needed to be refreshed.
“We made the decision to re-record it in our own practice space, using our own gear…it was great being able to have a bit more control over the outcome.”
Being in control is difficult in this industry, and it can end up feeling unbelievable at moments when making it big. However, despite how much it seems, it’s “not really unreal” to the guys.
“Every gig is getting bigger and better.” Shorty claims the success is from the atmosphere Jarpsy has, and Tom confirms there’s “a lot of love” between them and the fans.
Let the love fill them all this festive season as Jarpsy are playing their first London gig just before Christmas at Soho’s Spice of Life! They’re “pretty buzzed” about it all. “The quicker you crack London, the quicker you take over Britain. Simple as that.”
Despite exclaiming “I don’t have 2020 vision” (classic joke), Jarpsy are planning big things for the next year… but are being hesitant with details. “We have a few very big things tentatively pencilled in…they’re shrouded in mystery.”
Alternatively: “Loads more music, loads more gigs, bigger crowds, bigger festivals.” Whatever 2020 holds for Jarpsy, it’s going to be exciting – stay tuned!