We Chat to The Jar Family

This week The London Word caught up with dapper folk collective The Jar Family, whose second studio album Jarmalade was released on Monday.

The Bohemian band of songwriters and instrumentalists, all hailing from Hartlepool, has found recent fame for their industrial folk sound and neo-Dickensian finery.

Here Max Bianco, Dali, Chris Hooks, Richie Docherty and Keith Wilkinson open up about family, heroes, happiness and their northern hometown.

So, what makes you family?
Dali: ‘The fact that we love one another like a family and lived together as a family.’
CH: ‘The fact that we all get on so well.’
RD: ‘The consideration between one another.’
KW: ‘The ability to argue but still sit down and eat together.’

How would you describe your sound?
MB: ‘Mad and juicy.’
Dali: ‘Raw and un-digitalised.’
CH: ‘Industrial folk.’

What drives you, as a collective?
MB: ‘A black VW Splitter bus.’
Dali: ‘The amount of genres and influences fused together.’
CH: ‘The will to succeed and keep improving our sound.’
RD: ‘The brotherly love.’
KW: ‘The thrill of it all; a musical thirst is insatiable.’

How does London compare to Hartlepool?
Dali: ‘Bigger, faster, more expensive and more culture.’
CH: ‘No comparison whatsoever.’

How does your music reflect your northern roots?
Dali: ‘Honest and from the heart – how we all are.’
KW: ‘In a small world our northern roots are heavily influenced by World music – so it’s impossible to quantify.’

How would you describe your new album Jarmalade, and what was the inspiration behind it?
Dali: ‘How much we have evolved; break ups and hard times are my inspiration.’
CH: ‘A musical journey of past experiences.’
RD: ‘Different. The year before we recorded it was really inspiring, with all the gigging we did.’
KW: ‘A serving of musical “amuse-bouches”. As a producer, making all the flavours work.’

Where in London do you feel most creative?
CH: ‘Camden Town.’
RD: ‘On every stage we play on.’
KW: ‘To me creativity comes in a closed room, preferably with no windows – the outside is a distraction no matter where.’

Where in London have you never been, but have always wanted to go?
Dali: ‘The Dungeons.’
CH: ‘The O2 Arena.’
RD: ‘Wembley Stadium.’
KW: ‘Winston Churchill’s War Rooms.’

Who is your favourite Londoner?
Dali: ‘Guy Fawkes. He saw through the Government.’
CH: ‘Micky Flanagan. He is well funny, innit?’
KW: ‘Michael Caine for Zulu and The Italian Job.’

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
MB: ‘Don’t think about it, just do it.’
Dali: ‘Live every day like it’s ya last.’
CH: ‘Don’t eat yellow snow.’

What inspires your neo-Dickensian vintage styling?
Dali: ‘For me, it was the Steampunk granddad shirts I loved. Vintage is bliss. Bring the past back to the future I say.’
CH: ‘It’s not really inspired, just a style that naturally developed.’
RD: ‘Dali really got me into this look.’

Who are your musical heroes past and present?
MB: ‘W. Guthrie.’
Dali: ‘Robert Johnson, Jim Morrison, Jack White, Blind Willie Johnson.’
CH: ‘Peter Andre, Olly Murs, JLS, who sadly split up.’
RD: ‘John Lennon, Elvis Presley and my band mates.’
KW: ‘The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and John Barry.’

Which gigs do you have lined up that you are most looking forward to?
MB: ‘All of them. I’m at home on the stage.’
CH: ‘Launching our LP to all the north-east ears. Especially our hometown Hartlepool.’
KW: ‘The next one. All gigs are great, large or small.’

Happiness is…?
MB: ‘A warm jacket, my good woman Bernice, cups of tea, sandwiches, pizza, harmonicas, the band, family, friends, guitar, rambling and crumpets – not necessarily in that order.’
Dali: ‘Sharing a pocket on a cold morning and the looks and love from my kids.’
CH: ‘A cigar called Hamlet.’

The Jar Family’s new album Jarmalade is available now on Jar Records.


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