WALK London Shoes sit down with Welsh band Trampolene to discuss life as a band in lockdown, working with Carl Barat and Pete Doherty, supporting Liam Gallagher and the future for TRAMPOLENE.
We met with the band outside their rehearsal studio to get some initial shots of them before the interview. All three members; lead vocalist and guitar player Jack Jones (J), bassist and backing vocalist Wayne (W) and new drummer Jay (Jay) couldn’t be a nicer group of lads. Their honesty and genuine nature makes them warm to you immediately and it’s not long before we head to the local pub to sit down and chat.
So how did you all get together?
J: Fucking hell!? Haha, it’s a long one…
Did you all know each other before?
J: Well I was playing for Swansea City when I was 15 and I got let go, and there was someone who was watching us and invited some of the boys to come and play for a local team instead so I thought, “yeah alright”. I got to the first training sessions and they said pair up, and I didn’t have a partner but I saw this lad (nods to Bassist Wayne) and thought he had the hairiest legs In the team, and I was a bit under-developed at the time so I thought If I hang out with him I might seem a bit older…
W: And that was pretty much it really wasn’t it, that’s how the band started haha and you (to Jack) had recently got expelled from school which I liked?
J: Yeah I jumped on my art teachers car, in my pants screaming that I wanted to be a woman…all for a fiver.
W: And when I heard that story I thought “that’s my kind of guy”
So when did the music start?
W: I think I had started playing bass guitar at the time, we were both playing around then..
J: No I had never played guitar then. I had a guitar in my house but I had no real interest in learning it and Wayne was into his music and asked me If I played guitar so I said yeah, even though I’d never fucking played it in my life haha
W: I couldn’t even play my bass at the time either, so we just bluffed each other and before you know it we were hanging out and playing together
J: I remember you asked me to play Guns ‘N Roses “Sweet Child O’Mine” and I said yeah even though I’d never played anything like that in my life
That’s quite a hard riff to start with as well…
J: Yeah I was clueless, I was trying to play the chords and even they were wrong haha but we’ve been together since then. We’ve been on this journey when our friends went off to Uni, we moved to London to start a band and try and make it happen. Then we bumped into this nutcase (points to newest member and drummer, Jay).
So how did Jay become a part of the band?
J: Our original drummer forgot his passport before a gig, or his misses hid it in the freezer or something? Or he just couldn’t be arsed to come…it was definitely one of those 3.
W: We were playing in Paris, and because it was just going to be the 2 of us, I said “well fuck it lets go anyway, take the acoustic guitar and you can play solo and I’ll come along for the craic”. We were playing with “Carl Barat and The Jackals'' which Jay was the drummer for at the time, and I think it was our sound engineer that introduced us?
J: No I think I came up and said hello before your sound-check and then Jack said “no it’s just me tonight” and then you told me the story of the drummer who’s girlfriend hid his passport in the freezer haha and I said “well you should have let me know I could have learned a couple of songs for you” and he went “well if you’re still up for it?” haha
W: And that was only about 5 minutes before we were due to go on for sound-check. Luckily the sound engineer owed me a favor as I had found his wallet at a party last New Years Eve so he leant me a bass to play – As it was only going to be acoustic I didn’t bother bringing my gear so that was lucky. And then we went backstage to try and learn these songs, now 10 minutes before we went on…
W: The soundcheck sounded fucking great but by the time we were then due to actually play later that night, and after a couple beers…
Jay: I basically forgot all the songs by then.
W: Jay would be playing drums for the chorus parts of the song, but in the verse - and me and Jack couldn’t stop smiling cause’ it sounded so fucking bouncing! We thought we were in ‘Rage Against the Machine’ or something! So the first time we ever played together was really off the cuff and great, and then we didn’t see each other again for about 2 years. But that first show we ever played together was sold out, about 600 people I think so that was great to have as our first show together.
J: I thought you meant the first show we played together formally was sold out? I was thinking “we supported Liam Gallagher so of course it was fucking sold out” haha Welcome to the band mate.
Jay: Yeah it was crazy, they said do you wanna be in the band and I was like “yeah of course” and Jack said “great, well the first gig is Cardiff Motorpoint Arena supporting Liam Gallagher”
That’s amazing, how was that as your first official gig with the band?
Jay: It was quite a difficult gig actually as we only had a 3 minute soundcheck and only 1 or 2 rehearsals before
W: And the sound on stage sounded like we were standing in front of about twenty Boeing 747’s!
Jay: I mean it was a great gig in the end!
W: People were bouncing at the front, they were loving it. All geared up for Liam.
J: Yeah I think especially in Wales, people are starting to come around to the fact we’re actually Welsh and they’re starting to get behind us as one of their own which is great. It’s not just the Phonics’ (Stereophonics), Manics’ (Manic Street Preachers) and the Furry’s (Super Furry Animals) anymore there’s actually a new band that’s made it out of Wales. And we love all of those bands, especially the Furry’s so it’s great to start to be recognised alongside them by the Welsh fans.
So speaking of other bands, what were you musical inspirations growing up?
J: I dunno really, I was into loads of guitar material. I became obsessed with playing guitar and loved bands like Oasis and Rage when I was about 15. I just loved anything with loud guitars. I did love Stereophonics as well, they were a big passion of mine. I went to see them was I was about 6 years old or something in Morfa Stadium so I think that kind of set me off as well.
Being the new face of Welsh bands, do you constantly get compared to other Welsh artists like Stereophonics?
J: No not really, but I think that’s because not many people have made that link yet. I think a lot of people overlook the Stereophonics these days but they’ve written some banging tunes.
Jay: Yeah was it the ‘Performance and Cocktails’ (Stereophonics’ second album) with “Bartender of the Thief” on it? That was an amazing album.
W: That album and “Word Gets Around” (Stereophonics’ debut album) were fucking great growing up as kids in Wales.
J: They were so good. If you were a Welsh kid growing up in a small town, it really meant a lot.
A lot of your lyrics are very conversational and relatable and often have that small town story vibe about them as well; Is that an intentional thing?
J: I dunno, I think whatever you write about and say, you have to know yourself and believe it.
W: You have to be true to yourself otherwise what’s the point?
J: I like the idea that everyone who listens to us could think of me as their mate who’s talking to them about their life – and likewise if I bumped into someone I’d like to hear about their life too, you know?
W: It’s like good old Rock and Roll therapy haha
The music certainly does come across very honest – the lyrics are often humorous, personal and very poetic.
J: Thank you - Yeah I think a lot of it is about production now isn’t it? A lot of bands I feel are stuck, as there only influence is one band they group up with and the story-telling element is lost because of that.
Musically the music is very melodic as well…
J: You’re gonna make me start crying haha no we appreciate that. I think any artists we love, they’re always being themselves to the nth degree. Any artist worth they’re socks…Is that the saying? What I mean is any artist worth their WALK London boots haha they know who they are, or they’re trying to find out who they are, and to me that’s what appeals. There’s parts of me that want to play as loud as possible and go a bit mental but there’s also parts of me that wanna play my acoustic and write love songs; then there’s another part of me that’s just a bit of weirdo writing down his thoughts. Sometimes you capture a bit of life and the words are enough. That’s the only way I can be myself and we hope that comes across in the music.
So are you working on new music at the moment?
W: We’ve been working on loads but lockdown hasn’t helped
J: Yeah we couldn’t finish the new record because the studios have closed but we did manage to write some songs on voice memo’s on our phones; like the song we did with Peter (Pete Doherty) “Uncle Brian’s Abattoir” that was all recorded on our phones which is great.
I guess it comes back again to production not being the key focus, and letting the songs speak for themselves?
Jay: The thing is, if you rely solely on the production you miss having the substance on the song which makes it harder to relate to.
J: A lot of music is style over substance, whereas I like to think we’re the opposite. Apart from now actually, where we’re kitted out in WALK London shoes haha hopefully we can have both.
So what’s next?
J: That’s what the great screen writers always say. There’s a great story of the guy who wrote Gladiator, he writes all his scripts with a fountain pen and when he finishes a scene, he always asks himself “what happens next” so he can continually push the story forward. So for our story, how can we push it forward? What happens next is we get into that rehearsal room, we get the songs sounding amazing, we go into the studio next week and play our hearts out and it sounds like the best album…since our last one. We get the music out there into this new world and amazing people hear about Trampolene and our first gig back is Sold Out in the Millennium Stadium Cardiff…
W: In our WALK London boots haha
J: Exactly! I’d be happy to play anywhere to be honest. The fans are the best member of our band and I can’t wait to perform for them again. Although saying that, the last time we played in Swansea I couldn’t even get my mate from down the road to come and watch us, and we had some fans who flew in from Japan haha some guy flew from Japan and my other fucking mate wouldn’t come from around the corner! I remember I called him up and said “where are you?” and he said “ah its fucking raining isn’t it”.Trampolene’s latest release “Uncle Brian’s Abattoir” featuring Pete Doherty is now available on streaming services and for download. The band are dressed up wearing Hoxton Cuban Heel Boots, Hiker Runner Sneakers and the Sustainable Leather Graduate Sneaker.