Q&A: We Were Promised Jetpacks

BY SHEA VAN HOY

Darren Lackie recalls the sticky summer day he and his bandmates played the outdoor Forecastle Festival in Louisville nearly two years ago.

“I remember it very well,” Lackie said Tuesday while riding with the other three members of We Were Promised Jetpacks following the first date of their U.S. tour. “The stage we were on was right next to the river with no real cover at dusk. All the lights attracted these crazy flying bugs. They were in our ears, our mouths.”

There were at most 150 people watching the Jetpacks that day, but crowds are starting to swarm. Lackie said the tour opener in Denver was sold out.

The Scottish band plays indoors on their next stop in Louisville, which comes Wednesday night at Headliners in support of “In the Pit of the Stomach,” the band’s second full-length release.

Lackie recently spoke with the News and Tribune about the new album — which turns up the energy and noise from their debut — and touring America.

N&T: You have toured the U.S. three times in three years. What’s the philosophy behind that?

LACKIE: I think it’s mainly our label [Fat Cat Records] — they are based in the U.K. and here. They have been pushing us here in the last couple of years. We seem to be doing pretty well.

N&T: What is the best and worst parts of driving across the U.S.?

LACKIE: Today, it’s a 9 1/2 hour drive to Kansas City. [The long drives] are by far the worst thing. You don’t have to do that [touring] anywhere else, really. But the whole country is great. We have a really good time on the coasts — New York City and L.A., and I really like Austin.

N&T: Speaking of being away from home, do you think the present state of music with technology such as Spotify and file sharing makes it easier for bands to tour away from home?

LACKIE: Definitely. We’ve got friends in bands back in Scotland who have finished their first couple of tours [in the U.S.] and they’re on small labels, but not international labels. People are showing up to their gigs and they’ve had a really good time coming over here.

N&T: Some bands now give their music away on their websites. Do you think a continuation of that trend is where we’re headed?

LACKIE: [Laughs] I hope not, but I don’t know. It seems more and more difficult to stop file sharing. There’s too much of it on the Web. It’s got its pros and cons. Maybe by hearing the music, people will want to check out a new band, not spend $15 or $20 on a CD, but they’ll spend money on tickets to see a show and buy a T-shirt at the merch stand.

N&T: You have the outdoor festival Coachella this year. Can you contrast playing big festivals with clubs? Which do you prefer?

LACKIE: We’ve not really done a lot of festivals. Not many big ones. I think we adapt well to a club venue. But, the festivals are a fun time to just plug in and play.

N&T: It seems many bands tone down their sound after their debut, but you guys went the opposite way. How did the sound of the new album come together?

LACKIE: We spent last summer in a practice room in Edinburgh. We’d stay in there all day to see what we could come up with. We wanted a big, loud rock record that’s fun to play live and I think we got that. I think the next one, which we’re writing now, we might start toning it down a bit. That’s how it’s sounding.

DO IT LIVE

• WHO: We Were Promised Jetpacks with Bad Veins and New Cassettes

• WHEN: 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 28; doors at 8

• WHERE: Headliners in Louisville

• TICKETS: $12 in advance; 18 and over show

• MORE INFORMATION: Visit headlinerslouisville.com or wewerepromisedjetpacks.com

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About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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