Super World Interview Time: This Charman Man

Jetstream Pony’s debut self-titled LP has just landed and, as you would expect, it’s a corker. It’s been spinning all week, it’s more addictive than crack cocaine and I should know. My current fav tune is “The Very Eyes Of Night” which apart from a brilliant title also has the zeitgeisty refrain of “sometimes I’m happy on my own”.  I love the beautiful juxtaposition of Beth’s otherworldly vocals with the band’s ramshackle,  indie pop paradiso. Also, and I could be wrong, does it have echoes of the British folk renaissance a la Fairport Convention. Anyone? No?

In any event, I was more than chuffed when Shaun Charman did a wee Q&A for us.  The record is out now via Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten and Shelflife. Check it out.

How are you feeling about the new album? Do you have a favourite track?

We’re really happy with the album, the engineers Paul and Tony and Kerry Kelekovich (who mixed), have done a great job. It’s slightly more melancholic than I expected, but that’s not a bad thing. Some of the songs we haven’t played live like “Outside”, so they are still fresher for me.  I don’t really have a favourite, though I’m really pleased with Trapped in Amber which was written at the very last minute. I was still working it out while we recorded it.

How did you meet/become Jetstream Pony?

Beth and I met playing gigs together with The Fireworks and The Luxembourg Signal, including the Indietracks festival. Shortly after, the original Fireworks singer Emma left and Beth joined as she lives in the UK (she still sings with The Luxembourg Signal when she goes back to LA). We recorded a couple of songs as demos originally for that band, but it was decided it should probably be something different. Jetstream Pony is my partner Carol’s retired greyhound. Over Christmas, Carol gave me a homemade Jetstream Pony t-shirt before the band even existed, as a huge hint. In the meantime, Beth had played the demos to her friend Kenji in Germany. He played them to Ronny of Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten who enthusiastically asked to release them. We assumed we’d re-record them properly, but he insisted they should be released as they were, and so we found ourselves listening something recorded on my iPad on BBC 6 Music! Kerry and I have known each other for years and had played together in a 90s band Turbocat. She was the obvious person to ask when we developed into the full band, great bass sound!

 Who does Jenna belong to?

As above, she is my partner Carol’s dog, though maybe we belong to her. Sometimes watching TV she will come, stand by the coach and patiently stare at you until you move from her place. Many sleepless nights I’ve had, trying to get comfortable sharing the bed with something the size of a small horse. I could push her off, but then…

 What music are you listening to during this bizarre period?

We have 6 Music on most of the time, though I am still working my day job from home, so there is not as much time as you might think. I had hoped I’d have written the music for our second album by now, but unfortunately not…

What else are you doing to stay sane?

There’s surprisingly little time it seems. Like a lot of people there’s been clearing out cupboards, even (gulp) gardening, though there’s nowhere to put anything I’ve trimmed to within an inch of its life. We have kids (Nina 16 and Joseph 11), just glad the two of them get on really well.

How did you come to be on Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten

See question 2! It’s a lovely label, Ronny is great, looking forward to going back to Augsburg when things get back to normal. It’s great being involved with them and bands like The BV’s and Pale Lights, and now Shelflife in the US too, with lots of other great bands like Close Lobsters, Even As We Speak, and… um, The Luxembourg Signal and The Fireworks! We’re also doing a single later in the year for Spinout Nuggets, letting loose in a slightly different style (I’ll just leave that there, but very happy with that too!).

I used to live in Brighton many years ago, what’s your favourite thing about it? 

It’s my hometown (or at least Hassocks is, just outside). There’s lots of things I like about it, the sea, the North Laine, the Downs (the view from Devil’s Dyke), and also the answer to the second to last question!

What question would you like to be asked that you never are and what is your answer?

 Did Jetstream Pony actually win anything? Yes, she did sometimes… there are even videos online. Greyhound racing is obviously not a good thing at all, but it’s funny to look at the lazy thing on the couch and think that people actually put money on it.

What was the first record/music you ever bought?

My childhood path was Abba, The Beatles (a cassette of The White Album), ELO then finally The Stranglers (my first gig), so it was sad to hear of Dave Greenfield’s passing, even though I do cringe at some of their lyrics these days. After that it was all punk/post-punk…

Have you any other musical projects on the go at present?

I don’t, though Beth still sings with The Luxembourg Signal when she goes back to LA. They have their third album coming out later this year, which I’m really looking forward to as they are great.

Did you have any strange habits as a kid?

Peanut butter and golden syrup sandwiches?

 Who is your musical hero? 

My favourite band was always The Fall, so I would say Steve Hanley as I’m a bassist originally. When I started to drum, I’d say Steve Morris for being so inventive, though the early 80s Fall line up with two drummers was the best live band. I do like Andy Gill’s guitar in Gang of 4 too, I like a good metallic clang. Another sad passing.

What’s your favourite sport? Do you follow a team?

Football, and more football. Brighton and Hove Albion (see question about Brighton), from the Goldstone to Gillingham, to Withdean to (rubs eyes) how did we get here?? I like non-league as well, though it depends who’s playing if the Albion are away and I’m free… Lewes, Whitehawk, Worthing. Beth is a huge fan of AFC Croydon, the Rams. Oh, I am partial to FC St. Pauli as well, been to the Millerntor quite a few times. Luckily (or maybe it wasn’t luck 😉 ) they were at home when JP played in Hamburg!

Tell us a joke!

I just asked my son Joseph… Why is 6 afraid of 7, ‘cos 7, 8, 9. (Here all week! Which is true, unfortunately…)

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