Je$us Loves Amerika is a Glasgow based band who’s gritty industrial sounds meld together awesome dance beats and political lyrics. With their last EP, 2015’s ‘Falling’, under their belts, they’ve most recently remixed a track for industrial black metal band Mortiis, and will be performing at the end of April as part of Brutalism UK 2017 in Glasgow and London.
How did Je$us Loves Amerika come to be?
Paddy: Sort of my accident! I’d been working on music, and my long time cohort and friend Gerald was living in London. I met Brydon at a party, and we sorta clicked – I knew pretty much straight away I wanted him in the band I wanted to form. he was keen so it made sense. Gerald then worked on the first few tracks remotely. And then moved back home. We had the band. Gordon Luke I’d known for years. Again, he’s a friend and someone I respect and admire. When I got wind he’d be interested in joining, there was no question about it. It had to happen. Τhe fact that all the band were (and are!) multi instrumentalists meant that we could think big with regard to playing live also. It was a big part of what I wanted, the band actually playing live and not just with a backing track as a glorified karaoke show.
‘The Ugly Truth’ is a track you’ve remixed for industrial metal band Mortiis’ ‘The Great Corrupter’ LP, which features remixes from John Fryer and Godflesh among others as well. Could you tell us a bit about this remix and the collaboration?
Paddy: I met Havard in Glasgow when Mortiis played. It was the first time I’d see Mortiis live and they were awesome. I’d always loved Mortiis’ work, so when meeting him we chatted about music. He asked if we’d be interested in remixing a track – and there was no way I was going to say no! The chance to work with people you admire and respect and whose music you love? It’s a no brainer. When I got the track I had a completely different idea in my head for it, but the remix pretty much made itself. It just sort of self formed.
How does the average song come together? Are you more of a lyrics first type band or a melody-and-all-the-wicked-industrial-sounds-first-band?
Paddy: There’s no set way, but a lot of the time I’ll have an idea for beat and the music sort of forms around that. Lyrically, I’ll have a theme in mind and try and write around that. The theme typically involves saying ‘fuck‘ a lot.
Most of your lyrics are politics based it sounds like, what are your thoughts on these turbulent times in the UK and America?
Paddy: We live in a very dangerous time – historically without precedent. The greed of a few cabals is out of control and people and animals are the collateral damage. Obviously the media have a huge role to play in the manufacture of consent for this, and they keep trying to push people. As new media and news sources become available the move to control them – which is why the current government push to control the internet and encryption, must be resisted at all costs. That laws specifically exclude politicians from oversight is scary. It’s my view that there will be a tipping point and a bloody and painful insurrection. People can be pushed so far before they snap, how far along the road are we to that? I think the UK riots a couple of years ago were the fuses being lit.
How are solo projects such as Hoor-paar-Κraat and others balanced with what all of you do creatively in Je$us Loves Amerika?
Gordon: I have always been interested in various forms of electronic music, especially more ambient, fluid stuff, that wasn’t constrained by the rigidity of predefined tracks. This project evolved to perform solely on live hardware machines where I can manipulate the various textures and sounds live to create something unique every time, quite a different direction and sound to that of Je$us Loves Amerika. Each project is a completely different entity and they both don’t really overlap or get in the way. It’s more my musical outlet when the others are tending to their adult duties of fatherhood. I have my own studio where I can spend a few hours after work here and there to fit in the creation of any ideas I have while still rehearsing with JLA. Brydon has his own studio thing going as well, working with artists such as PeeSix of Stretchηeads and Desalvo fame as well as Lesley Rankine from Ruby. He’s writing some of the most impressive hard electronic music I have heard.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had performing in Je$us Loves Amerika? What’s the funniest?
Gordon: As the newest addition to the band (and long-time fan) I have to say the most memorable experience I’ve had personally is from when we played a headline show in Leeds last year. It may not have attracted the biggest crowd but I feel it was one our best performances to date. We had recently updated our live rig which paid off big time, even if it meant lots of stressful rehearsals getting all the equipment talking to each other! Also, myself and Brydon worked on a nice live outro piece where we layered up various textures and drones, manipulating them to create something that was incredibly powerful and crushing. The drive down and ‘band bonding’ made this show one that’ll stick with me.
Gordon: Funniest show? That has to be our second show, supporting Prude, where I somehow managed to snap the power supply cable to my trigger module. I tried in vain to source one but due to the strange voltage and connection, this was not to be. I ended up using a ‘toy’ kit, which is something you’d get with a computer game like ‘rock band’. It had no real support and slid about the stage for the whole gig. Horrible at the time but looking back it must have looked totally bonkers for the audience.
Who are your inspirations musically? The Shamen, I might guess from the name of your band...or is that an incorrect venture? Who else has influenced you?
Paddy: One of my big influences is ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ era Adam And The Ants – the two drummer burundi dynamic is amazing, and probably what got me so inspired by beats. Other than that? I love Τhe Sisterhood album with the sample heavy emotionless machine rhythms. Fairly obviously, Front 242 and Skinny Puppy, for the music and the politics. And I adore Τhe Cure. Stuff like Howard Jones‘ output has been an influence also – the ability to write sublime pop songs solely on synths at a time people didn’t think it possible. Growing up in a ‘steel’ town, a bit of the country governed by heavy industry, I didn’t get a lot of exposure to ‘alt’ acts until well after I was making music, so JLA are probably more organic than most folk would imagine. Front 242 are probably the biggest electronic influence – the live shows, the live experience, allied with a sound that has grown and shifted is something I can never get bored of!
You’ll be performing in Glasgow on April 28th and in London at the O2 Academy Islington on April 30th as part of Brutalism UK along with acts like Cubanate and KANGA. What can audience members expect to see/hear from you live?
Gordon: Our Live show is exactly that…Live. We bring an energy to each performance which can only be described as organised chaos! We are all having very different personalities which shine through, hopefully, giving the audience a show to remember. JLA aren’t just another band who rehash the source material verbatim, we add a live flavour to all of our tracks demonstrating our ability to work as a unit and surprise the audience (and ourselves at times!) with something new each show. We go all out. Expect a heavy, loud and crushing set list from start to finish.
It’s been such a long time since your debut, ‘Advanced Burial Technology’, in 2002. Αre there any plans of a new full length on the way?
Gordon: I have seen/read a number of interviews with the other guys where the answer is always ‘Yes, it’s on the way!’ and it’s never materialised yet, however, this time it’s actually happening! The track list is pretty much complete and at least half of the tracks are finished. I think real life has taken over quite a bit as both Paddy and Brydon are now fathers and our jobs are all quite time consuming but this is something I am taking a keen interest in doing. No date is set but I’d like to say after these two shows, we will return to the studio and come out with something bigger and better than ‘Advanced Burial Technology’.
What else is in the pipeline for JLA this year?
Gordon: The only confirmed gig we have is on September 6th, St Luke’s, Glasgow, supporting the legendary KMFDM. I’m sure they’ll be others in the pipeline with maybe a few smaller shows to try out new material but that is pretty much it. In theory this will give us more time to work on the album! I have a few Hoor-paar-Kraat shows coming up as well. The next being on May 14th, supporting Spit Mask at Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow.
Photo credits: Clickandpray Photography