Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
JATSES: I guess I’m the type who just likes to do their own thing. Which can be a bit of a drawback when you’re trying to get your music heard in today’s world.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
JATSES: I’ve played guitar since a very young age and began writing songs in my teens. It was around this time I started playing in bands at school and stuff like that. That carried on over the years, playing mostly covers but some original stuff too. I was always writing and recording my own material in the background as my own kind of therapy. In the last few years I just decided it was time to focus on that and push that as far as it could go. Still waiting to find out how far that is.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JATSES: I have always loved a variety of music types and genres. Mostly guitar music and alternative rock in particular. But also a lot of soul and Motown, jazz, hip-hop, indie and acoustic music. My major influences are Bruce Springsteen, Billie Holiday, Manic Street Preachers, Green Day, Dear and the Headlights, El Cantador, Idlewild, Amy Winehouse. I could go on all day, but those are the major, desert island type influences who I always go back to.
In terms of non-musical influences I would have to say the Brazilian radical educationalist Paulo Freire for the way in which he views and understands the world, and helps others to to do the same. During the day I work in Community Work, it’s all about trying to work with individuals and groups to bring about positive social change and Freire’s theory is the cornerstone of what we try to do. I’d also have to say my family for teaching me the two most important things in life; love and laughter.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
JATSES: To live a happy life, be the best I can be and make people proud. Music will always be a part of that regardless of how far I can take it career wise.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
JATSES: It’s all just me at the minute. I write everything myself. They can be about everything and nothing. I often touch on quite emotive and depressing topics like suicide, addiction, being lost, etc. But I try to put a joyous and defiant spin on those themes and ideas, so they don’t often sound like sad songs per se. And other times they can be about nothing specifically. Sometimes you just have a melody in your head and words that suit it and makes sense – that all just comes to you. There doesn’t always have to be a clear grand plan when writing a song. Sometimes it just happens. What those songs are about, people can decide for themselves. Isn’t that the point of it?
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
JATSES: It would mostly be done through social media so follow my Facebook and Instagram (@jatses) for more info on upcoming music or events.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
JATSES: As someone who grew up in the 90’s and still listens to vinyl, CD’s and cassettes I can’t say I’m a big fan of it. I suppose it’s a natural evolution of sorts in terms of the technology and access to music and entertainment but it’s when that evolution is driven by market forces that you end up with an issue. The way in which music is consumed has changed the way the charts work and the kinds of music that can get any kind of significant air play and success. Which is a shame. Didn’t Ed Sheeran once have like 9 singles in the top ten at one point!? How can that be healthy for the industry from an artistic and cultural perspective?
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
JATSES: Jungleland by Springsteen. One of the most beautiful songs ever written. The poetic and theatrical lyrics, the way your emotions undulate as the song progresses. The sax solo from the ‘Big Man’ Clarence Clemons is possibly the greatest musical solo ever written. It probably still wouldn’t make it into todays charts, but who cares right!?
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
JATSES: People who talk in cinemas, when people tell blokes to ‘man up’, when people don’t acknowledge or challenge racism, people who feel self-entitled. Oh, and the Tories.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
JATSES: Making a girl cry when I sang a song. It wasn’t because it was terrible…I think.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
JATSES: I’ve got lots of songs written and continue to write whenever I get a new idea. But I can be impatient with writing and tend to move on to the next song too quickly. So I’m trying to work on that by returning to songs to develop them multiple times with new perspectives. Rather than just going with my first instinct. Hopefully this will continue to improve my creative process. It has done so far. So when new songs are ready they will be getting released one by one and working up to an EP sometime in the near future.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
JATSES: It’s all coming soon. First major release will be out on Friday the 2nd of April. A single called ‘We Are Everything (and that’s alright)’. Then I’ve got another single in the pipeline for June and we’re taking it from there. So keep and eye out and give me follow to find out more.