Between support sets from The Lizards and Cosmo Pyke Reef Pearson had the pleasure of catching up with JAWS’ Connor Schofield (vocals and guitar) and Alex Hudson (guitar) before the final set of their whirlwind Simplicity album tour at Birmingham’s Rainbow Warehouse.
So last day of the tour, how has it been?
Connor: It’s been ridiculous like…there’s no words. It’s surreal.
How does it compare to when you toured for Be Slowly’s release?
Connor: It’s a similar thing, like it’s just really weird we get to do this. It’s just such a weird feeling when you’re on stage, it’s hard to describe.
Alex: You just kind of blank out don’t you, in the best possible way.
How have fans responded?
Connor: Amazing, that’s what makes the shows so good is that the fans are so positive. I wouldn’t be able to perform at the level I perform at if it wasn’t for those guys going off and loving the show. I can’t come out of my shell unless they come out of theirs.
Is it different performing in Birmingham since you’re from round here?
Connor: There’s a lot more pressure, there’s a pressure because your friends and family come. I try not to think about that though.
Alex: See if I fell over in like Manchester there might be like a couple of videos of it and people would laugh. If it happened here it would be like Christmas dinner ‘HAHAH you fell over’.
Ah you better remain vertical for this one then lads. How’s it been touring so intensely? You’ve been doing a lot of nights in a row.
Alex: This has been our most intense tour but we’ve done longer definitely.
Connor: We ain’t stopped for like ten days.
Alex: Yeah normally we’d have like three days then go home for a day.
Connor: Basically, it’s messed my voice up and I’m going to be writing a very concerning email to my booking agent.
Ah the worst kind of email. Do you feel there was pressure to follow up Be Slowly?
Connor: Na, this sounds really weird but like we never stopped writing. We honestly wouldn’t release anything we weren’t proud of and if that meant not releasing a second album then we wouldn’t have released a second album. We just waited until we were happy with everything, we wrote 30 songs in the end?
Alex: Yeah something like that, it was a lot of songs.
Connor: And that worked itself out to like the final 12 and we just went from there. But like we wrote that many because we have to go through the bad songs to get to the good ones. We have to be happy with it, we’re the ones that have to play. I know that sounds quite selfish.
Yeah, no obviously you’ve got to play it quite a few times.
Connor: If we’re not happy playing it then that emotion and the things I’m trying to sing about and convey are never going to make it across to the fans. I wanted to feel like I meant what I was saying and we all meant what we were playing. I think we achieved that with this album. I feel there might be pressure for the next album but it’s going to be the same thing again, if it takes a couple of years, it takes a couple of years. We’re not going to rush anything.
Alex: I think for us this is the closest we’ve sounded to being ‘us’.
I get you, if you’re under lots of pressure if gets rushed so it’s chill that you take your time.
Connor: I think because of the kind of people we are we can’t be rushed. I don’t care what Simon Cowell thinks. I’ll say mate I’m not writing a song today. Cancel the helicopter because I’m not getting on it.
How has the band changed since last time? Do you think you’ve evolved as artists?
Connor: Definitely, practise makes perfect in everything that you do. I’m not saying ‘Oh yeah we’re a good band’, I’m saying we’re better than we were.
Alex: Yeah, play guitar one hundred times a year and you’re going to be better. It’s nearly impossible not to be.
Connor: The more songs you write you learn to say things in different ways and structure songs a bit differently. You get better.
Alex: Yeah I think Ed’s quite a bold person but me and Connor we’re quite shy people, the more we’ve done shows the more we’ve been allowed to get out there and the more comfortable we’ve become on stage. We weren’t really comfortable getting on stage we just happened to know guitar and happened to want to sing and stuff.
That’s pretty cool though, do you have ways to get in the zone before you go on stage?
Alex: I ignore everything, I’m going to go to the pub, forget this is all happening and then panic in about an hour.
Connor: I have to go away from this like really get some quiet for 10 minutes and just come back and jump head first into it.
Alex: Yeah, ignoring it is the best way.
Yeah don’t want to freak you all out before you go on.
Alex: Haha you’ve already done it
Haha Sorry! You’ve been announced at Live at Leeds, anything else you’ve got coming up?
Connor: Can’t tell you, ain’t been announced yet.
Alex: But if we could do every festival, we would.
So you like festivals?
Connor: You know what’s really funny, you’ll do the whole tour in season and think ‘you know what, can’t wait for festival season’ then you get half way through festival season and you’ll think ‘you know what, can’t wait to be back in venues’. It’s good for like 4 weeks then you think, I can’t wait to use a proper toilet.
Yeah I can imagine that.
Connor: If it doesn’t rain it’s great though.
Alex: Festival season is the best time ever. Sun, music and a chill-out. It’s class…as long as it doesn’t rain.
Yeah haha we’ve all been there. So how are you going to celebrate your last day on tour? Or are you just going to go to bed?
Connor: Probably, it’s really hard to decompress after doing shows like this. I’ll be seriously emotional at like 11pm then go and end up doing something ridiculous then at midnight think what am I doing I need to go to bed. Probably go for a drink and go to bed.
Alex: Everyone I know is here tonight so I’ll probably have quite a big night.
Connor: The end of a tour is really a sad time, I’m going back to work on Monday.
Alex: Yeah same, I’ve got to get started studying on Sunday as well.
Yeah back to reality. I’ll let you chill now, it’s been really nice talking to you, thanks for that.