45°: We meet…. JELA!
It’s no secret that over the last 50 years, Manchester has been a hot bed for musical talent. Whether it be your Stone Roses, or Chemical Brothers, your Dutch Uncles or Joy Divisions – it’s fair to say rock and roll and all its associated sex and drugs have rushed through every aspect of the city to stimulate a heart beat so loud that it’s anarchic pulse can be felt far and wide. Well, certainly as far as France and even the Philippines it would seem.
Meet JELA – a trio brought together from those very distant lands to chase and embrace the fabled Rock’n’Roll mystique that emanates from the Capital of the North for their own.
With a bass player with the spidery frisson of John Entwistle (Jude Coupe), a guitarist (Lucas Aimeka Bernard) who evidently likes his riffs to sound like your most punishing hangover should feel and a drummer (Arthur Aimeka Marechal) seemingly fighting a losing battle to keep his feral drum-kit from going walkies, this band have breathed in the Mancunion air and gobbed out a gloriously spitting, hissing, venom-laden elixir of its very rock’n’roll essence.
However, if you needed any proof that you don’t have to be a local to play like the locals, brace yourselves and catch them live. Having stumbled across these guys playing in someone’s living room as they roared out a Stooges-style jump-out-of-your-skin din like a harrier jump-jet in constant nose-dive before you, we can vouch that JELA are hair, skin and flesh-raisingly exciting to watch.
So excited were 45 Magazine by their raucous guerilla set that we asked them for an interview right there and then….
Right then, first off with the basics – for everyone at home, who are we speaking to and who plays what?
Hiya there! You’re talking to JELA made of Jude Coupe a fine-looking island bassist (Philippines) and two froggies, Lucas Bernard (lead vocals/guitar) and Arthur Marechal (drums).
Let’s say the Who is the band we’ve got the most in common. I reckon we admire those crazy and strong individuals putting their skills and differences together to build something together. I’d say our strength comes from the diversity of musical tastes. While Jude is really jazz/funk influenced, Arthur grew up in his father’s blues/rock discography. Personally, folk/americana music made me pick up a guitar. Which makes us quite complementary.
You guys moved to Manchester from locations as far flung as France to the Philippines? What drew you to the ‘rainy city’?
Getting involved at Antwerp Mansion has been our biggest step forward in Manchester. It was like entering Ali Baba’s cave: everybody there is either a musician, an artist, a music passionate or a sound engineer! Everybody was weird and cool somehow, which is what you’re looking for when you’re young, a musician and thirsty for experience and inspiration. Without mentioning the amount of bands we came across who subconsciously influenced our sound. More generally, Manchester has so much to offer and is definitely the world capital of indie music. A lot of exciting stuff for two country boys.
Are there plans for an album on the way soon and what are you going to aim to say with it – or is it too early days yet?
Lucas: It’s all about being wild and wise at the same time. A learning process to balance between letting go, being who you really are and find the right attitude to make it contagious.
Guitar-based music in recent years has taken a bit of a battering by critics with only Arctic Monkeys really seeming to excite the mainstream with rock’n’roll. What’s it been missing?
Lucas: Bruce Springsteen without a doubt!
You may have to wait until the 10th of May for their next official headline show at Kraak Gallery (Manchester), but no doubt if you keep your eyes and ears peeled on the Manchester house party circuit, you may not have to wait so long…