British rockers J.O.S. band has recently released their eponymous EP. The band consists of David Clarke, Anna Thomas, Rosie Botterill, and John O’Shea.
“J.O.S. believe we live in an age of lowered expectations, where tweets mean more than tracks, where social media means more than song writing and where ‘Likes’ mean more than real fans. In an industry where labels would rather invest in talent shows rather than songwriters, where pop stars are porn stars, where rap stars are disconnected from their roots and where rock stars have become a distant memory, J.O.S.are dedicated to putting music back at the heart of the industry, and back into the hands of musicians.”
Best Rock List interviewed J.O.S. and asked them about their background and what their plans for the future are.
Best Rock List . com: In today’s music culture, you could have chosen to be a pop group but you chose rock. Despite some lamentations of rock being dead. Why choose rock?
John: Rock isn’t dead. The problem is journalists use the charts as barometer as to what people like, which is extremely misleading. For example in the UK, the Conservatives won the General Election with 36% of the vote. That means 64% of people, who voted, did not vote for our current government, in fact 35% of the UK didn’t vote at all. Yet David Cameroon is still our Prime Minister.
A similar thing is happening with our music charts. Today’s charts just reflect the minority of people who like that music and choose to buy it. It doesn’t reflect the majority of people who don’t like that music and choose not to buy it. It doesn’t reflect the majority of people who switch off their radio every time a chart songs comes on the radio. It doesn’t reflect the majority of people who choose to ignore the charts completely and listen to other kinds of music on Youtube.
Hell, even the people who do listen to chart music don’t even like it that much. Record sales are the lowest in history, even when you take into account illegal downloading and streaming. To have a No 1 single in the UK you only need to sell 30,000 copies, with a country whose population is 60 million that’s hardly reflective of the tastes of the country as a whole.
That then leaves the question ‘If it’s so easy to get in the charts, why aren’t more rock bands on there?’ There are loads of reasons for this. One of them is that a load of rock bands are counter culture and pride themselves on not being in the charts. Personally I think that is stupid because that attitude creates a vacuum which is filled with the very music those rocks bands claim to hate so much. Another is that most rock fans are into albums, rather than singles. The fact that album sales for rock bands are holding up reflects this, for example the recent No 1 for Pink Floyd and No 2 for Foo Fighters in the album charts.
But I think the most important factor is this.
Rock has produced a lot of wonderful bands and a lot of talented musicians in the last 20 years, but I don’t think Rock has produced a truly great band in that time. For me the last great band was Nirvana. Personally, no band since then has produced albums as raw as Nirvana, that captured the hearts of a generation like Nirvana, and captured the imagination of mainstream culture like Nirvana.
For me, every band that has emerged in the last 20 years has failed to do this. As a result there is now a generation of rock fans who are waited patiently, and silently, for that next great band to come along. And when that bands does come, they’re going to be massive.
David: Rock is far from dead. New bands are coming through all the time and the Foo Fighters have got a great new album out. Rocking out is fun and your body can’t help but to nod when you hear a great rock riff or beat.
Anna: I think any artists chooses his/her/their own sound, it’s down to influence of individuals and then collaboration with others…if you deliberately choose a genre of music to play because it’s the ‘in’ type of music at the time then it’s done for potential fame and fortune. J.O.S is a band, like many others, that does it because we all love the music. Anything extra is a bonus!
I guess what I’m trying to say is, there was no choosing… it was a natural fit for us all as musicians. And we love it!
Rosie: I didn’t choose to be in a rock band as such.. I wouldn’t really say it was much of choice. I learnt guitar as a child because I fell in love with it and the music that it features in. If you are working in a band where you put in a lot of time and money and you don’t really get a lot back, you have to love it! I play rock because I love rock, I couldn’t just decide to play a kind of music just because its popular if I don’t love it.
Best Rock List . com: Your sound is definitely influenced by 80’s rock. I was reminded of Siouxsie and the Banshees and also Talking Heads when listening to J.O.S.. What other music influences your sound?
Rosie: I wouldn’t say it was specifically influenced by a certain era, we are influenced by bands from every era but yes my main influence is 80’s rock band Gun N Roses. However our influences spread from The Beatles in the 60’s to Nirvana in the 90’s
Anna: Personally, I’m a major punk-head. I’m heavily influenced by 80’s/90’s punk bands like Bad Religion, Social Distortion and The Offspring. Like to think that punk music had an influence on the music, even if it’s the performing style.
John: We’re influenced by a lot of bands. For me it’s The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Guns ‘N Roses and Nirvana. I think a lot of modern rock has abandoned melody for fear of appearing mainstream, where as we put melody at the heart of everything we do. Whether it’s mainstream or not.
Best Rock List . com: What music did your parents listen to and how did that influence your sound?
David: My mum and dad were completely split. Mum listening to Whitney, Sade and Berlin and dad listening to Van Halen, AC/DC and Metallica. I know like all sorts of music thanks to growing up with diversity. All music has its plus points you can learn from.
Anna: My Dad likes different types of music, and my Mum was always into trendy music when she was younger. Used to listen to a lot of Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and 60’s mix CD’s in the car with her. I wouldn’t say Shania Twain was an influence on our sound though!
Rosie: My dad’s main musical influence was jazz! Which yes did inspire me too but in a different way. His job though involved him working with a lot of big rock bands, so I spent my childhood surrounded by amazing bands and musicians and that was no doubt one of my biggest influences not only on my sound but on my future career.
John: My parents aren’t really into music in a big way. When I was a kid I would steal my sisters Guns ‘N Roses cassettes and listen to them endlessly. So they’re kinda to blame for me being musician.
Best Rock List . com: You formally studied at Tech Music School. How did that enhance your career?
Anna: I became a better drummer…I study at Southampton Solent, in my 3rd year. I think Solent gave me more opportunity to explore the musical side, instead of focusing on paradiddles.
Rosie: It was a huge reality check to me! You go there thinking you’ll be the next Joe Satriani and then you soon realize they are there to train you as a professional musician and teach you how to work in the current music industry. The teachers are world class and I’d say that it made me grow as a musician in so many ways.
David: By improving playing massively and networking. There is a huge hub of like minded people there and if you put in the right amount of effort with the right attitude then good things can happen.
Best Rock List . com: What are your upcoming touring and/or performance plans?
John: We’ve been gigging London clubs for the last few years now. The next step for us is getting Management and going on a UK Tour.
Anna: I hope for a tour with some cool bands around UK and Europe, preferably Europe though!
Rosie: Hopefully a tour and management on the horizon! We’ll see how the next few months go but all is hopefully!
We hope that J.O.S. can obtain a manager and tour the U.K and the United States as well.
You can download their EP here
You can follow J.O.S. on social media here:
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