We Were Promised Jetpacks Interview

We Were Promised Jetpacks are an uber cool Scottish band consisting of Adam Thompson (Vocals / Guitar), Darren Lackie (Drums), Sean Smith (bass), Michael Palmer (Guitar) and Stuart (keys, piano, guitar). They’re on their third studio album, Unravelling, which is full of all out, rapturous rock music, and we think could be the album that leads them into the big time. We caught up with the band to find out what they are all about:

YA Mag: Hello! Can you tell us about how you guys met, and a little bit about Scotland and why it’s so charming?

We Were Promised Jetpacks: Me and Adam and Stuart met at primary school in Edinburgh when we were about 5 years old. At the same time Peter and Sean met each other. Then we all met at high school. We started the band in 2004, and then me and Sean and Adam moved to Glasgow for university in 2005. Glasgow is about an hour away from Edinburgh. Edinburgh is the big city on Scotland’s east coast, and Glasgow is in the west. It’s pretty charming. Though, not really. It’s quite cool though. There’s loads of venues for bands to play and plenty bars and whatnot. Good stuff.

YA: Just quickly: are you happy you’re still part of the United Kingdom?

WWPJ: Not really.

YA: Ok, so now back to the music. After doing the Glasgow club scene and releasing your first album on Fat Cat Record, you then got the opportunity to recorde your second album In the Pit of the Stomach at Sigur Ros’ studio in Iceland. Did you get to hang out with the band at all?

WWPJ: No, afraid not. That would have been cool, but no. Good story that eh?

YA: After your second album you cranked out an impressive amount of high profile live appearances including Coachella, Fashion’s Big Night Out at New York’s Rockerfeller Center and on Last Call With Carson Daly. What were the high points amongst these?

WWPJ: I think probably Coachella. It’s a big deal festival, and none of us had ever been before, let alone played there. We also did the first year (i think) of the two weekends so that was a blast. Yeah, Coachella was one of those shows that we thought was going to be really cool beforehand and it lived up to expectations.

YA: We love the raw rock n roll sound of your music … Talk us through the creative process of making your new album Unravelling?

WWPJ: Thanks. Well, we all write in a room together. Everything’s built from jams, pretty much. We jam out some chords or a riff or two that Adam will have, and we’ll all work out our own parts and talk a lot about where we want to take the song. On this album though, we took a lot more time than we had before. We wanted everything to be well thought out and considered, not just loud for the sake of loud.

YA: You’ve recently added a new member, Stuart. Welcome Stuart! What are you bringing to the band?

WWPJ: Well, I’m not Stuart, so I’ll answer for him. He’s good at playing keyboards, so when we were writing we were able to add key ideas right there instead of waiting until we were in the studio. Also, he can play the keyboard parts from older songs live. But he’s also a good guitar player and can sing backing vocals and was another voice when we were writing. He’s also extraordinarily hairy.

YA: This is your third studio album. Describe your musical journey so far in one word.


YA: You are currently embarking upon a pretty extensive US tour. What’s the most common thing for you guys to get into fights about?

WWPJ: Mostly where we get to sit in the van. There’s usually a good seat and a bad seat and instead of taking turns we play rock, paper scissors for it. That means every one of us thinks that we get the bad seat more often than everyone else. We don’t really fight much though. We’re pretty good that way.

YA: Who is your rock icon, past or present?

WWPJ: The Rock. That’s what you mean, right?

YA: What are your plans for the next few months, and hopes for next year?

WWPJ: We’re touring for ages, then had a small gap in December where we’ll probably write a bit, then off on tour again next year. Hopefully well get to play in some countries that we’ve never played in before.

YA: Which five songs do you have playing on your digital music player (this question is for any of you)?

WWPJ: Rubber by Pronto Mama; Sweatpants by Childish Gambino; Sunday by Earl Sweatshirt; Suit & Tie by Justin Timberlake; Giants by Bear Hands

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