This week, Birmingham four-piece JAWS have declared their brimming post-lockdown agenda. With an upcoming nine-date UK tour on the cards, the release of a dazzling tour photo-book, and their hazy new hit Untitled, Gemma Cockrell spoke to the outfit’s drummer Ed Geach on their plans for the rest of 2021.
“The photobook came about through Connor [Schofield]’s friend Peter Lally, who is a really talented photographer. He came on tour with us in 2019,” Geach begins. “He took some amazing pictures of us, not just on stage, but also of us fucking about off-stage too. We wanted to share the photos with everyone. It’s just a bit different. We’re pretty open to any ideas because it’s not just music you have to release as a band.”
Initially, the photobook was an idea that Lally intended on pursuing independently, before opting to create it in collaboration with the band instead. “It’s taken a while for it to come into fruition but I’m glad we did it, I’ve got one here,” Geach reaches across the room to grab a copy and opens it to a random page, which happens to be a particularly goofy picture of himself. “Ridiculous!” he laughs as he points to the magnified close-up of his face.
“We put a lot of effort into [Untitled], so didn’t want to just chuck it in the bin. We had it fully recorded, mastered, and everything.”
“We’re really proud of it and we’re really happy with how it turned out, I’m looking forward to seeing what the fans think of it,” he remarks. “Some of the bands that I’m a big fan of, I’d love something like this, I’d proper geek out over it. I’m also looking forward to seeing what other bands think if they manage to get their hands on it because it represents what touring is really like, I think they’d relate to it a lot.”
It’s refreshing to see physical copies of photographs in the modern social media era, and this was at the forefront of Geach’s mind throughout the process of creating the book. “The majority of photos we look at now are on Instagram. To be honest, when I’ve actually got a physical copy, I do appreciate it more,” he admits. However, he shows no contempt towards the internet, crediting it as a facilitator of JAWS’s success. “Social media has taken over everything in the last ten years but I’m not going to sit here and complain. Without it, JAWS wouldn’t be as big as they are today.”
The photobook was announced in conjunction with the band’s new song Untitled. “It was written before we recorded The Ceiling, and we recorded it during those sessions for the album in Manchester but it didn’t make the final album for various reasons. There was an issue with the vinyl because you have to take into account how many songs are on each side and we had too many songs, so we had to cut Untitled out,” Geach explains.
“We also just didn’t feel like it fitted with the rest of the album. It didn’t tie in with the other songs which were already definitely going to be on there, so unfortunately Untitled drew the short straw,” he elaborates. “We still put a lot of effort into the song, so we didn’t want to just chuck it in the bin. We had it fully recorded, mastered, and everything. We really liked it and we knew we wanted to release it at a later time, and this opportunity has come up now where we can do that. I’m just glad it hasn’t gone to waste.”
“We still love our older stuff, we’re not one of those bands who are like... ‘our old stuff is crap!’”
The song is comparable to the band’s earlier work, which isn’t something that JAWS try to distance themselves from – in fact, they embrace it. “We still love our older stuff, we’re not one of those bands who are like, ‘our old stuff is crap!’ He continues thoughtfully: “We’ll definitely write songs in the future that sound like our early stuff. I think that’s a product of the four of us playing our instruments in a room together.” However, whilst remaining faithful to their roots, they continue to modify their sound marginally over album cycles. “We manipulate the songs going forward, to make sure there’s that shift in gears, but we’ll always have that distinct sound.”
The release of Untitled officially marks the end of The Ceiling era for the band. “I think this would be the closing of a chapter as far as The Ceiling is concerned. This is the only song we have that was left out of the album,” Geach confirms. “There are other songs we’ve recorded in the past that weren’t anything to do with The Ceiling that we still have unreleased, but I don’t think anyone will be hearing them any time soon because we don’t like them!”
JAWS will get the opportunity to revisit songs from The Ceiling when they embark on a nine-date UK tour in November. “We can’t wait to get back out on tour now,” Geach exudes. “They’re smaller venues. We may potentially play some new stuff, who knows. We played Simplicity to death and we still do, and there are the classics like Stay In and Gold that always get a look in, but because of the pandemic, we didn’t get the chance to fully tour The Ceiling and show it off enough. So, for the next few tours, we’re going to try and play as much as we can off The Ceiling to give it what it’s owed.”
Despite these subtle hints of new music on the horizon, Geach predicts that Untitled will be the band’s only release prior to the tour. However, JAWS are eager to return to the studio as soon as possible. “This lockdown, as much as it would have been a great opportunity, personally I haven’t been motivated which is disappointing. We have written some stuff, we’ve got little ideas here and there which will grow into songs, and Connor is constantly writing. But lockdown has made me realise how much we need to be together. We just need to get into the studio and get those creative juices flowing.”
“A lot of the time Connor will bring an idea, like a skeleton of a song. I like to do a lot of the arranging.”
JAWS are a band who evidently thrive off each other’s creativity whilst working collaboratively in the studio. “Connor shouts and tells us what to do!” Geach laughs, though he quickly elaborates, “no, a lot of the time Connor will bring an idea, like a skeleton of a song. I like to do a lot of the arranging. Alex [Hudson] likes being told what to do, so if there’s a gap somewhere I’ll ask him to fill it. I just let Leon [Smith] do his own thing. The drums come right at the end because it’s a lot easier to play drums to something that is already arranged.”
Geach looks to music’s return to normality with an air of caution. “This tour in November, there’s still a chance it might not go ahead. I’ve got everything crossed but who knows. And unfortunately, over the pandemic, a lot of great venues have had to close, which is such a shame. It makes me wonder what we’re going back to,” he reflects. However, if there is one thing that he is certain of, it’s that when live shows do go ahead, they are guaranteed to be safe. “As far as safety is concerned, we’ll make sure it’s safe,” he promises. “I have no idea what to expect, to be honest, I feel a mixture of fear and excitement!”
Written by: Gemma Cockrell
Edited by: Olivia Stock