Jets Overhead are trendsetters. They were supporting free music distribution for years before Radiohead even dreamed of In Rainbows. Their popularity has seen an explosion in the last two years, and now they'll play Canadian Music Week later this month in support of their new album, No Nations.
Singer/guitarist Adam Kettredge spoke to CHARTattack about how being in a band is an emotional rollercoaster and stealing Guinness from The Frames.
So, you're about to play the big industry event that is Canadian Music Week. What's the most shameless thing you've ever done to promote your band?
Adam Kittredge: Shameless? I don't consider myself to be a very good self-promoter, but that's probably because I feel even the mildest form of shame at the thought of self-promotion. I'm at a loss.
What's the hardest part about being an up-and-coming band?
That's not hard to answer. I think the hardest thing is staying positive.
It takes a long time to succeed at anything, especially art. Success is obviously relative, and in our case I think ultimately our main goal is to make a living and not stress out about money all the time, which I think most artists can relate to.
I think its hard as artists to remember that it's not an instant pot of gold. You've got to hang in there and stay positive and not let the doubt drag you into a shame spiral, asking yourself why the hell you wanted to be a musician.
That's our challenge. Probably every few months those thoughts creep in. We've on an up right now, but it's always a rollercoaster. We've had a lot of good news and a lot of good things happen to us in the last year, but even still, it's challenging to stay positive and to understand that there's a forward momentum to all of this.
How important is it for your band members to circulate and flirt with the audience before or after the show?
Absolutely. It's extremely important, more than ever. We're gaining new fans every show we play, and we're seeing the results of all the hard work we've been putting in. Nothing adds more weight to a personal experience with a band than meeting the band themselves.
We're doing everything we can to make our new fans, and our old fans — well any fan for that matter — know that we appreciate their support. It's good for us to go out after shows and meet people so that we understand who we appeal to. We've been doing it really vigorously in the last six months of touring, and I think it's interesting to see what kind of ages and styles of people we're attracting.
It's very diverse. We're really noticing a wide nature of diversity. If you can type a person by their clothes or their outfits, there's definitely a good diversity there. It's a good education as a band.
Have you ever stolen from someone else's rider? If so, who was it and what did you take?
There's too many to name. But, as an opening band that's one of your duties. You're obligated to at least poach a few tasty treats from the headliner's rider. And when we headline, we kind of expect it — "Oh, yeah; here we go, payback." Shocking.
I do recall a few times, one in particular where we thought we offended them. We played in Dublin with The Frames, who are pretty much the Swell Season, and we were playing a great venue and the promoters were really cool but they didn't give us a whole lot in terms of apres-show beverage.
So we're in Dublin and we wanted Guinness and we notice The Frames had probably 36 sitting in their dressing room — and we took it upon ourselves while they were on stage and I think they noticed.
I don't think they were totally excited about that. We're still talking, so maybe it didn't bother them too much. You don't necessarily know the ethics with different countries' rider-raiding policies.
Have you ever been graded before according to CHARTattack.com's Rock 'n' Roll Report Cards?
I think so. It rings a bell. We've been playing CMW for a lot of years now, so maybe circa 2007 we might have passed. Not sure if it was with flying colours or not, though. [It was NXNE 2006.]
Have you done anything new or interesting this week?
Well, I happen to live in Victoria, and we were lucky enough to be invited over to play a few of the shows at the Olympics. So, yeah.
This past week has been full of excitement with the Olympics being the rarity that they are. We got to play a show outdoors in the rain in Surrey, and on Monday we played downtown in front of some really excited Olympic beer-guzzling fans. It just went off.
I haven't sweat that much playing live in a long time, if ever. I think I managed to sweat through the shirt and the leather jacket as well. My entire upper-torso smock was soaked. Sweating more than ever, while being on a jumbotron. I'd say that's a new thing. There's a few photos — I look like I'm standing in the rain, but I'm not.
Jets Overhead play the Horseshoe Tavern on March 12 at 12 a.m. as part of the annual CHARTattack/Horseshoe/Canadian Music Week showcase.
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