NEW ELECTRIC RIDE - JACK BRIGGS
Sunderland’s psych rockers New Electric Ride are due to release their debut LP ‘Balloon Age’ later this month via Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. A name fresh on the lips of many, we thought a little background check would be wise as it’s something we’re likely to be hearing a lot more of. Jack Briggs was kind enough to let us in to discuss their formation, the new record and what looks to be a very bright future, inspired by the past.
How did this 'New Electric Ride’ venture come about?
Playing our own music was always something we wanted to do, but never really had the time. Three of us (Adam, Craig and myself) played in a pub/club/wedding band playing covers for years and years before deciding to actually get to grips with trying out our own material. When we did start, we were at an advantage in a sense as we were all very familiar with each other’s playing styles and capabilities. This made it easier to get an idea of what a song was going to sound like before we’d even played it together.
We were setting the gear up to play at a wedding and some guy came up to us and started asking questions about the guitars, amps, set etc. After the show, we started chatting with him. It turned out he played organ, liked the same music and was looking for a band. We were playing the next night at a pub in Sunderland and he came down (despite having a horrendous hangover) to watch us play. We arranged a practice, he came along, it worked well - Paul was on board for the original material.
We already had loads of songs written between us individually - we don’t tend to write together. Adam has a sensational home studio, so we rented a cottage in Hexham (Northumberland) for five nights. We drove up, set all the equipment up and then worked twelve hour days getting it right. At the end of it we’d recorded six songs. Adam got to work mixing it, and we self-released five of them on an EP in January 2013. It had some really nice things said about it and even picked up some international airplay (RTVE3, RTBF, BBC6 Music, Alice Cooper’s show).
Your debut LP 'Balloon Age’ is out in a few weeks. Can you tell us a bit more about the recording process?
Sure - much like the EP, it was self-recorded with Adam’s own equipment and with him behind the desk. Rather than rent a cottage and go away, we used a room above a nightclub in Sunderland to record the drums, keys and guitars. We did the rest in various living rooms and bedrooms. We like to keep it with just the four of us involved and only get other people involved when we desperately need to. There are a hell of a lot of different instruments on the LP and we played all of them (even if it’s a case of having to play violin like a cello because you can’t hold it properly, ha). Adam is really great with the production side of everything too, so that’s a great bonus. We had a guy called Fran Ashcroft master the LP. He’s worked with The Pretty Things, Damon Albarn, Dandy Warhols and loads of others. He’s a great fella.
You’re signed to a US label. Could you ever see yourselves making the move?
We’d absolutely love to. Three of us have never even been to the US before, so we can’t wait to get over there. We’re toying with the idea of doing a 2-3 week tour at some point later on in the year. Nothing set in stone as of yet, but we’re gonna make it a priority. There’s such a huge resurgence in psychedelic music happening all over the world at the minute, choosing where to tour is proving quite difficult. We have a nice little following in Spain, so it’d be great to have a couple of weeks over there too.
Do you have to use certain vintage instruments to create such an authentic sound?
It helps, but I don’t think it’s limited to that. I think the main reason we have this 'vintage’ sound, isn’t because we’re using equipment of that era, but because we take a lot of our writing influences and styles from musicians of that era (1960s/1970s). It’s not an act we’re trying to 'put on’, it’s just a reflection of the music we’ve grown up listening to.
As far as the instruments are concerned though, yeah, most of our gear is from the 60’s and 70s. It’s not especially a vanity thing, but also because the second-hand market for guitars and things is excellent at the minute. You can pick up beautiful, antique instruments that are going to be worth a small fortune in 20-30 years time. You pay less than you would pay for a similar brand new instrument. Same with amplifiers and keyboards. If they’re 40-50 years old and still working well, that’s a good reason to buy them! The thought of spending thousands on a brand new guitar/amp these days makes me feel ill.
Berlin Psych Fest. That’s got to feel good - what are your thoughts on the festival and new emerging festivals dedicated to the genre?
Yeah, it was great to be asked to play! I think it’s wonderful that all of these 'psychedelic’ festivals are cropping up all over the world. What’s especially great, is that so many of them are dedicated to largely unknown bands and are still attracting thousands of people. It’s a step in the right direction for festivals I think - people are there to purely hear new music.
Do you guys get rowdy before live shows - how do you prep?
Ha, we’re not really at a stage where we can afford to get rowdy yet I’m afraid. At the minute our pre-gig priority is finding a place to park the van where it’s not going to get a ticket/have the wheels nicked. I wouldn’t say our pre-gig preparation is particularly outrageous - just a bit of harmony practice and a couple of pints. We tend to save the 'rowdy’ until all the stuff is back in the van ha.
Who are some bands you often listen to and think - 'I’m going to wake up in the morning and make some really good fucking music’?
At the moment, I can’t stop listening to the new GOAT live album. Absolutely unbelievable. Tame Impala, too. Kevin Parker is the King Midas of psychedelia. We’re all big fans of Beefheart, Zappa, Jethro Tull, The Beatles, Stones, The Band, The Pretty Things etc. We’re never short of influences and inspiration to make music.
2014 is going to be a big one - where do you hope to be this time next year?
Doing it for a living! It’d be great to be able to pack in work and just tour and record, tour and record, tour and record. A relocation would be ace too. Where, I don’t know as of yet, but I’m hoping 2014 is going to give us some answers!