We recently caught up with The No Name Janes before their recent show in Rhyl to ask them a few questions. Check it out below to see what we asked and how they answered!
Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the band?
Jay: I’m Jay, I play bass in The No Name Janes. How long have we been going now? About three years?
Lewis: I’m Lewis. I hit the tubs and how long have we been going now…about three years?
Carl: I’m Carl, I do the singing and some guitar stuff. And I’ve been going for roughly three years!
Skip: I’m Skip, I play the guitar and do backing vocals, as we all do, for about three years!
How did the band form (three years ago)?
Skip: Jay and I have played in a band together for about ten years now and we played a show with Carl’s old band, which was called Hellacious.
Carl: You shouldn’t have said that, people might look us up and see me with my beautiful locks!
Skip: Yeah, he used to have really long hair – like yours, actually! (note: my hair is extremely long!)
Carl: I was like a beautiful woman!
Jay: We told him to cut it off.
Skip: We didn’t really! But we played a show that he was on, and our other band was a punk band as well. It almost seemed like he was in the wrong band. They were a really good band – the songs were good, the band was really good, the people in it were good but he stood out as if he was in the wrong band. Really good frontman; we both commented on how good a frontman he was. We stayed in touch, and then very shortly afterwards his other band were splitting up. They were playing their last show at a Halloween event in Wrexham and we went along to that show. I think we actually talked on that night about maybe doing something as a side project and then a couple of months later we started firming it up, and then…
Carl: I think it was January, February time.
Skip: Yeah, January 2011. I knew Lew from another band we’d played with a few years before and we knew he was a really good punk drummer. So I got in touch with him, then we wrote a few songs and we all seemed to work really well together. Then about six weeks after that, we were already playing shows and already had about half an hour’s worth of music together.
Carl: We’ve still got about half an hour’s worth of music!
You recently released your new album Hometown. Could you tell us about the writing and recording process of it?
Jay: I think it was relatively stress-free.
Skip: We’d been talking about doing an album for quite a while but we’d never quite got the material together. So we had a writing spell earlier this year to make sure we had an album’s worth.
Carl: We kind of knocked the gigs back a little bit. We took a little bit of time off and we got about four or five songs that are now on the album from that little session.
Skip: So when it came to the new album, it was just a case of finding a studio. We went to a really great place in Manchester where they were really happy for us to record it all live. Most studios don’t want you to do that, they want you to track all the parts seperately.
Carl: Yeah, we could basically do what we wanted to do. He had his own ideas there but he said “you tell me what you want to do, and we’ll do it”.
Skip: This guy was very focused. Any money that the studio made went right back into the studio.
Carl: I think it’s a big thing for us, to work with somebody that was more into the music. We’ve seen people who’ve gone into the studio, then someone’s who’s gone in there with a different background and has gone “no, actually you’re going to sound like this” and we couldn’t have done that.
Skip: This guy came from playing in punk bands and he played us a whole load of other bands he’d worked with and recorded, and it was exactly the right sound. It was perfect for us and we just booked a week there. We did five days where we recorded the album, we basically set up and played through it live as if we were playing it at a gig. We just played through, played through, played through until we got takes that we thought were good. Then it was a day mixing, a day mastering. And Hometown is the result!
Any interesting studio tales?
Carl: There were a lot of Michael Jackson-isms going on that week!
Skip: It was funny, but quite high-pressure because we had such a short time to do it. I think we were conscious that lots of other friend’s bands have gone in to record things, they go into the studio and then two months later you’re expecting to get their album or EP, then six months later you’re still asking them when it’s coming out! We just wanted to make sure that we went in there, did it, got everything down so we didn’t have to go back and fix anything. Then it could be mixed and mastered, so it could then come out.
Jay: Yeah, it was all a bit straight-forward, wasn’t it?
Skip: It was good fun. It was in the Moss Side of Manchester so it was a bit of a rough area but everyone around there was really cool.
Carl: I think the one thing we took from it was that we talked too much about sex! They have shared accommodation there and they could hear what we were saying! The guys who lived with him came up to him and said “do they just talk about sex and bumming?”
Skip: Well we are named after a porn star!
Carl: We don’t do that sort of thing. Well, some of us might, I don’t know, but our own private time and what we do then is not what the band do!
Skip: You’ve got to make it humorous.
Jay: Can I just point out that Carl doesn’t speak for the whole band?
Carl: What, when I said we don’t bum guys? Alright then, Jay, fine!
Carl: Says the man with the moustache…no, we don’t.
Skip: It was a funny time but we’d all planned it out. I hate to sound really anal about this – and I don’t mean it in that way! – but we’d planned it out massively and we’d rehearsed the set to the nth degree, and we had all the parts and backing vocals sorted.
Carl: I think it was a case of playing everywhere. I mean, we played small venues in North Wales and have played bigger venues in Liverpool and Manchester, and the 100 Club in London. We played some really good venues, so it was a case of getting the live set into a studio set and I think we managed it.
Jay: We certainly didn’t want it to sound overproduced and polished.
Skip: We wanted to recreate our live show. You’ll never totally capture what your set is, but we wanted to capture the energy and the humour, and the speed of the set. Hopefully we did it!
How would you describe your live show to someone who hasn’t seen you yet?
Carl: Bouncy, shoutey, movey, drinky…
Jay: In your face.
Carl: And getting involved, I think.
Skip: Yeah. As much as we have a set that’s really fast and the songs are all “one, two, three, punch”, one after the other, we also try to have a bit of banter and try to engage with the audience. The one thing we’ve taken from being in other bands is that so many bands…the first thing we notice when we see a band is that they get up and don’t say who they are, they play a few songs and still haven’t said who they are or what the songs are called, so the biggest thing for us is to ram that down people’s throats. I want people to go away and know who we are and what the songs are called, thinking that it was a good show and a bit of a funny show, but the songs were also performed really well. We want to convey the energy of our music.
What would you say your best show has been?
Carl: The 100 Club in London was a great one. But I don’t remember much about it!
Skip: New Year’s Eve. We played a rock night in Wrexham to 200 people. It was packed and when people are singing your songs back at you, it’s awesome!
Carl: And it’s been great that we’ve been asked to come back again this year. It was great last year, we had a band drop out on us and we thought “what are we going to do?” So we played on our own and it just went really well. But unfortunately I wasn’t drinking! I’ll make up for that tonight!
Skip: And other shows like The Compass. We played there recently with Random Hand and it’s a great venue. It’s only 100 capacity but it’s got great sound and it’s nice to be there with everyone right in front of you rather than up on a stage.
Carl: I’d rather a small crowd and a good sound, rather than a big place and no crowd. You don’t have the same interaction and people falling onto the stage at you – it’s great fun! You’ve just got to watch what you’re doing!
And what about the weirdest?
Lewis: Vegas Bar?
Carl: Usually that’s quite fun though because when they try and go to the toilet over the stage, I try to dance with them!
Skip: It’s one of those venues that used to put on music regularly – well, they might still do – but there was never any matching of bands. It was like, we’d turn up and we’d be playing with a metal band, a folk band or an acoustic artist and it was tough for us because we want to sell our music to the right audience. We still got some fans out of it but it was a tough crowd.
Carl: I think the guys hearts are in the right place, doing what they do, but for us it wasn’t the right bill. But we’ve enjoyed a lot of our gigs. One of our first gigs was at the Crazy House in Liverpool, which was like “wow, we’ve played the Crazy House”. The 100 Club in London, we thought “wow, it’s the 100 Club in London”. From a hobby band, it’s great.
If you could play a show anywhere, where would it be?
Carl: Rhyl, tonight!
Skip: Any show is great and strangely, we have played some of the places that we probably thought we’d never play. Playing the home of punk in London is awesome but we’re touring next year with a band from Finland – we’re doing a week here and then we’re going to Finland to tour with them, a band called Expected Boy. They’re probably around the same level as we are, just a local punk band as such, but they’re getting together to come over for a week, then we’ll be going back over there. That’s a big deal and I think we need to get to Europe more.
Carl: We’ve spoke to people who’ve been in bands that have gone out there. Sean from Random Hand said “you’ve got to Europe, it’s a really big thing there” and Groezrock in Belgium is a massive thing every year.
Skip: He goes there every year, we’ll just go to play it! I don’t know if there’s things we’re massively aspiring to, gig-wise, I’d just like every show to be as good as, you know? And for the next album to be even better!
Carl: We’ve already written about five or six songs for the new album already! It’s coming along.
If it was announced that there was going to be a movie released about the band, which actors would you want to play yourself?
Carl: I’d want Jayden James to play me! She’s a porn star, she’s very nice. Slightly smaller boobs than me, but really cute, so like me!
Jay: That’s a tough one.
Skip: For me, it would be the transsexual guy out of The Crying Game – Jaye Davidson!
Lewis: Who’s the bloke that played Ruby Rhod in Fifth Element? Chris Tucker?
Jay: I think I’d like to give an unknown a chance, put another name out there.
Carl: You could just play yourself.
A band I like recently released their own hot sauce. If The No Name Janes could put their name to any product, what would it be?
Skip: A porn film! Well, we’re named after a porn star, so that would probably be appropriate wouldn’t it? We were actually talking about what to do with the cover for our first EP and we were going to put it in a DVD case and make it look like a porn film but we never managed to get that together.
Carl: We looked at ourselves in the mirror and said “nobody’s going to want to watch that”. So who’d play us in the porn film? I’m not going to go with John Holmes.
Jay: I’ve got Ron Jeremy’s moustache but that’s about it!
Carl: Lew would obviously be the guy-
Lewis: I thought you just meant normal actors, why are we on about porn stars?
Jay: We’ve moved on from that one!
Carl: Lew is the drummer, but that’s about it.
Skip: Could we have a hot sauce though? That’s a good one! Or a barbecue sauce, that’d be fantastic.
Carl: Didn’t Ron Jeremy have a sauce?
Jay: No, there was a Ron Jeremy rum.
Carl: Ahh, yeah. I’ve tasted his rum but not his sauce.
Skip: I don’t know! What product would represent us well?
Carl: Giant hot dogs?
And finally – what’s your opinion on marmite?
Jay: We’ll let Skip answer this one! My view on it is that it’s all rubbish and it’s all exactly the same as vegemite. Go! I’ve pulled the pin, over to you!
Skip: My view is fuck marmite, vegemite is where it’s at!
Jay: It’s all the same!
Skip: Vegemite, it’s like licking God’s dick!
Carl: I’ve only ever had the little cheese bite things with marmite on, that’s all I’ve ever had. It looks wrong to me, it looks like tar!
Skip: Marmite’s horrible, vegemite rules.
Lewis: I like them both.
Skip: I got in trouble with my girlfriend the other day because I had four jars of vegemite on the go in the house!
Jay: Hold on! Can you please explain, for the purpose of the interview, when you say “on the go”, what exactly do you mean?
Skip: I have them kept in special places for certain things! No, there were four jars of vegemite in the cupboard, all open in different states of being used because I’m a vegemite addict.
Jay: I’m glad you cleared that up.
Skip: Marmite is like what comes out of nappies!
Hometown is out now and can be bought from here.