Molotov Jukebox Interview
Apr 4th, 2013.
With trumpets, violins, accordions, guitars, percussions, sultry vocals and a lot of sweaty dancing, Molotov Jukebox has given birth to a brand new sound, aptly named The Gyp-Step. Here, Rookie Creative catches up with three of the bands six members and discusses everything from practising the Dirty Dancing lift on tour, to starring in Game of Thrones and collaborating with Alice Temperly.
How did the band form?
NAT: Through the unholy union of Sam and I, which spawned a collection of semi-functioning and dysfunctional talented musicians.
How did you get started in the industry and make a name for yourself?
NAT: Gigging, sweating, more gigging, more sweating, and our manager working himself close to a mental breakdown organising us and spreading the word.
ADAM: Yeah, relentless gigging. Spending so many summers lost in festivals or trapped in tents and never knowing how many days/hours/minutes we have before our next show… or an ability to thrive on chaos, I guess.
Who does what? There are so many of you! Can you give us an insight into the band dynamic?
NAT: Laughter, shouting, drinking and rehearsing.
ADAM: We make a good team because we’re all very different but have a shared willingness to laugh about the stupidest stuff. Endless, pointless word association madness that makes us sound like lunatics to all outsiders. But generally they’ll still be giggling as well; It’s pretty contagious.
SAM: I don’t know what they are talking about, we can’t stand to be in the same room as each other. We rehearse via Skype and take separate flights when we go on tour. The reason our shows are so energetic is that we are trying to get through the set as fast as possible so we can get off stage and go to our separate dressing rooms…. No that’s a lie. We love each other dearly…. Or do we?…… No we definitely do, well….
What inspired your Gyp-Step sound?
NAT: A melting pot of musical argument and different musical backgrounds.
ADAM: Yup. That’s about right. We’ll meet up and someone will have been listening to nothing but ’60s Italian horror film soundtracks, someone else early Jamaican dancehall, someone else beeping, whistling squelchy electro ragga, someone else Cuban Salsa etc… so songs generally get twisted to try and incorporate the bits that excite us most.
SAM: Yeah. I would say an inability to agree on ANYTHING and an unwillingness to focus on any one style. If I’m honest I am amazed that most other bands don’t write music like us, it must be so boring sticking to the same style, and lets face it the main reason for playing music is enjoyment and there is no enjoyment in boredom…
The last gig of yours I went to, everyone around me ended up dancing topless with their tits out. How do you ignite that energy out of your audience?
ADAM: Stealing their tops on the way in is a good start… otherwise I reckon just loving the music we’re pumping out and the fact that we’re all so clearly having such a total giggle while doing it. Fun is very infectious.
SAM: Also if we start taking our clothes off it tends to help…
If you’re feeling tired, what makes you get up on stage and muster up the energy to get a crowd dancing from start to finish?
NAT: For me press ups, the plank, sit ups, a vague vocal warm up with honey and hot water followed by a shot of something strong.
ADAM: Ah yes shots help! Also that fact that nine times out of ten I’ve forgotten I was knackered about three songs in and can’t keep the grin off my face (sic).
SAM: I find that, you know, you may have a drink or three to loosen up a little but then the buzz of being on a stage totally takes care of everything.
Do you have any funny tour stories you can share with us?
NAT: Tom and I practising the Dirty Dancing lift at a lock-in in Glasgow on tour is the first thing that springs to mind. Elegant is the word, I think. Don’t remember much else of what happened, to be honest…
SAM: Loads spring to mind but unfortunately I think not one of them is printable…
Tell us about your collaboration with Alice Temperly in your video Don’t Panic.
ADAM: That was a lot of fun! Hmmm what to say? Strongest impressions were the beautiful location, great team, weather doing its utmost to fuck with us every step of the way, throwing a dummy of myself off a rooftop, chaps in tuxes, ladies in lovely garms, explosions, cocktails and the world’s ugliest dog.
SAM: It was a really lovely if entirely insane experience; the most beautiful house I have ever seen (where we all got to stay for the whole shoot), driving incredible vehicles around sunny bits of Somerset (somehow I scored the sun for that bit) amazing crew and the family’s own cider I seem to remember featuring somewhat.
Nat, you played Tonks in Harry Potter and now hold the role of Osha in Game of Thones, how do you manage your two careers, acting and music?
NAT: With great difficulty and the hard work of our Manager, Sirius, and my amazing agent Sarah Spear. If it wasn’t for them I would be herding the cats of my complicated life in a black hole.
What emerging artists can you recommend to Rookie Creative readers?
NAT: Faela, Nimmo and the Gauntlets, Gentle Mystics.
ADAM: Yes to all of them. Also like to add the Zen Hussies as they are some dapper jazz cats.
SAM: Yeah big time, they are all fantastic bands. Double Drop as well. Filthy stuff…
What advice do you have for emerging talent trying to establish themselves?
NAT: Be utterly relentless and shameless, keep writing and make sure you have the right band members, don’t sacrifice your dreams by being nice and not surrounding yourself with the right people and the right direction.
ADAM: Work work work work work work work. Don’t wait for people to help you, do stuff. Write lots of songs, no matter how stupid or throwaway, you can always use em for spare parts later. Learn how to record and mix and get your ideas down. Then do it again, but better. And repeat.