Jarpsy – Interview

Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

Interview recorded verbally, edited transcript given below.

C = Chris Macknight, guitarist T = Tom O’Donnell, bassist


PD: What type of artist are you?

T: The best type.

C: That’s like asking “how long’s a piece of string” isn’t it? There’s a lot of sides to Jarpsy. I suppose the average listener wouldn’t see that just yet, though, so… The fresh type? The cool type? The indie alt-rock type? The ‘going to be absolutely massive, so get yourselves down to one of their gigs and have your eyebrows blown clean off’ type?


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.

C: There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said already, to be honest. We’ve known each other for the vast majority of our lives, we’ve been jamming since we were in school, about 2014 or 2015, writing our own music not long after that, we’ve been Jarpsy since 2018, smashed everything we came across out of the park, been seeing massive opportunities for a band that came from absolutely nowhere, COVID screwed us over, now we’re here.

T: Myself? I was born when I was six, gained consciousness at about fifteen – the rest, as they say, is history.


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

C: It’s pretty much impossible to pin down any particular artist who has influenced Jarpsy’s sound itself, because we’re all influenced personally by different music. Myself, I’m a massive John Frusciante fan – both solo and with the Red Hot Chili Peppers – along with Biffy Clyro, Pearl Jam, Oasis… Oh, and Sticky Fingers, for me, big time. Non-musically? I’m not sure, honestly, most of my influences fall under the musical category… Well, people often tell me what a polite young man I am, so clearly my mam and dad.

T: I definitely agree about Jarpsy influences, we all listen to… Pretty much everything. Flea, Paddy Cornwall, Björk, Shoji Meguro for me.


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

C: I’ve always said to anybody who asks, if your goal isn’t to play the biggest stages, the biggest shows, the craziest crowds, you’re doing it wrong. Aim high. Pyramid Stage at Glasto, Main Stage at Leeds, arenas, stadiums… That sort of thing.

T: Rather than big venues per se, I’ve always wanted to play the iconic venues, you know? Places that might not have the same audience capacity, but have that cultural sway, you know? The Cavern Club, Fillmore East and West, Hordern Pavilion, Shibuya O-East, real cultural cornerstones.


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

C: First and foremost, we’re a jam band. Most of our ideas are generated on-the-spot, just from messing about and saying “Wait, that sounded cool”. Obviously, in the last year or so, because of COVID, that became a bit of a challenge, so we underwent a renaissance of writing on our own. A lot of that can be seen on the new records. Gary, especially, our drummer, has genuinely proven to be the best songwriter I know, he’s on an absolute roll. Out of the new tunes we’ve recorded recently, Gary has had a strong hand in writing about a half, maybe two-thirds of them.

T: As for what they’re about, I suppose that all songs are autobiographical to a degree, but writing as a character or in an imagined situation is always an effective option. Our strongest conceptual ideas come from us writing about things that are real to us. Take Desolate Towns, for example, the themes of desolation and filling that hole with shallow nightlife, that’s real to us, and has been for a number of years. That’s probably part of the appeal, and why we decided to release it first.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

C: Social media is obviously designed for this. For local shows, we rely on our reputation, and word of mouth. Further afield, gig swaps are always a good option, and luckily, Shorty – our frontman – is in digital marketing. He manages us to keep us ever-present.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

C: This is a point of discussion which came up between us a little while back, when everybody was suddenly up-in-arms about how little Spotify pays artists – for a band of our size, no matter what medium we released under, the profit we would make would be completely negligible. We sink far more money into this silly little music project than we currently get out. But for smaller artists like ourselves, even downloads produce negligible returns, CDs are hard to distribute and becoming obsolete, vinyl and tape are making a resurgence, but are extremely expensive to manufacture in small batches. 

T: We were at peace with not making money from streams and downloads from the off. The purpose of that is to build an audience, and get more people to our gigs in the end. I’ve argued that people who release music onto streaming platforms with the expectation of making money are massively misguided – but this goes hand-in-hand with the increase in recording artists who don’t gig. Live music isn’t just where the fun’s at, it’s where the money’s at too. So yeah, downloads are cool. I mean, we give our music away for free, just search for us on YouTube, listen to us there. Just make sure you share your love with us in a message or comment, and get yourself to a gig ASAP.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

C: Wet Sand by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s my favourite song of all time, and it’s just a beautiful progressive expression, with a euphoric end refrain and solo. Just wow.

T: Plastic Love by Mariya Takeuchi. It’s not my favourite city music song, but it’s the most famous, the most iconic.


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

C: I don’t like referring to anything musically as a ‘pet peeve’, more just something I don’t like from a personal taste standpoint. Probably due to my rock and roll roots, I love powerful, distinctive, and melodic voices. I really don’t find myself enjoying this thing in a lot of pop tunes released in the last few years where the singer kind of… Whispers? It especially annoys me when singers with provably amazing voices do this – like Billie Eilish and Clairo. Obviously, some songs benefit from this stylistically, but, come on, every song? These women have incredible voices, just go full send! I want to hear you guys belt! This is why I respect the likes of Lady Gaga so much – I don’t enjoy her music, particularly, but she has such an incredible voice.
Outside of music, it does my head in when somebody says something, you don’t hear it, you ask them to repeat it, and they say “it doesn’t matter”. YES IT DOES, I JUST DIDN’T HEAR.

T: Gary.


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

C: Every time I walk on stage, it makes me proud to be doing the business with my best mates.

T: Hardwick Live, our biggest festival date yet. We smashed it, drew in a massive crowd from nothing.


PD: So what are you working on at the moment? 

T: In the same sessions we recorded Desolate Towns in, we recorded eight other tunes. They’re going to be coming out throughout the new year.

C: We’ve also been working on re-recording our older stuff recently, The Come-Up EP and Hammerhead specifically. We’ve been demoing a lot of more out-there stuff, too, I’m excited about the direction we’re taking.


PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?

C: We have our entire released catalogue so far available on all major streaming platforms, and for download in any of the usual places you’d look.

T: Ask nicely and we might send you a CD, too.

Jarpsy links:
Band/Artist location – North East of England
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Merch – 
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Last Fm
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