Ahead of their sophomore album release this September, I asked lead vocalist from Jess The Bandits, Jess Clemmons few questions, ranging from how the band first met to finding out which artists she’s listening to at the moment. Read on to find out more.
Hi – how are you guys?
Doing really well, just staying very busy!
What have you been up to?
Other than writing and making an album? That's about it. We've been pretty busy this summer doing festivals and now gearing up for our tour in September.
How did you all meet?
Most of us met years ago when I was doing the solo pop stuff and touring with a group called The Overtones. The guys were their backing band. We got on so well and when I was time for me to start making the switch to country and do my first outing as Jessica Clemmons, the country singer from Texas, I knew I wanted them to be my band. From then it naturally developed into a band and Jess and the Bandits were formed.
Your last album ‘Here We Go Again’ was a big success. Did you find there was more pressure with this new record, Smoke & Mirrors?
Yes, a lot of pressure. I think that's why it took a year and a half to create. It was important to grow the sound from the first album and give the listener something different.
Describe a typical day in the studio.
The day usually starts with everyone gathered around and we go through the first song. We play the work tape and then the guys head into the recording space and do a first take. Usually we are finished with a song in about 3 takes of a full run through. Then we go in and add parts on top of that. I'll sing through once with them but my part is saved for vocal day, which is at the end of the process. A day is usually about 8 hours in the studio and we can get up to 4 or 5 songs done in a day.
Are there any particular writers you wish to work with?
There are a few. I'd love to work with Liz Rose. It hasn't quite worked out for me to work with her yet but it'll happen one of these days.
Opening track on the new record, I’m Not Going Home, has a real gospel feel to it. What inspired that?
I grew up singing gospel music in church. It's always been something that I've loved but haven't experimented much with. I think that's a new sound to the U.K., so we kind of wanted to be some of the first to introduce that into the U.K. country genre.
What has the fan reaction been like to the new material?
It was been really great. They are finally getting a chance to get 5 songs from the album for free right now via our social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) and I think for the most part it's a bit of an unexpected sound but they all seem to love it. I think that's the thing, when people hear Jess and the Bandits they probably think loud, country rock band. Although that is a part of who we are, we wanted to show the listener a different side to us. I'm thankful that they seem to dig it!
Are you looking forward to doing your UK headline tour this September?
Of course! That's the big pay off for all of the hard work in creating an album. Being album to actually perform that music and take it all around the country to the fans. That's why we do what we do.
Finally what artists are you listening to at the moment?
Rag'n'Bone Man, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Ed Sheeran… the list is endless!
A huge thank you to Jess for taking the time to answer these questions.