By Stephanie Stevens-Wade
SCOTTISH indie band We Were Promised Jetpacks are about to unleash their second album In the Pit of the Stomach, and embark upon a European tour. And after finding success in the hard-to-crack US, the band are now playing some dates for their fans closer to home.
Forming as high school friends in 2003 WWPJ have transformed themselves into a fully-fledged rock group. The talented four-piece from Edinburgh were promptly signed to Fat Cat Records after playing local shows in pubs and clubs and supporting Frightened Rabbit. They released their debut These Four Walls in 2009, scoring an impressive collection of five star reviews across the board.
They are now following up with something just as enthralling, powerful and delicate – In the Pit of the Stomach – and are feeling confident with their latest album.
“With the first album Fat Cat records got us a deal and they wanted us to record an album a few months after. We just did the album with a bunch of songs we had. With this one we recorded it last November so we’ve been sitting on it a while and we’re really happy with it and I think that’s the most important thing I think.”
With influences of fellow tour and label friends The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit, and hints of Interpol, The National and Bon Iver visible throughout, Adam says of the album: “We don’t have any themes or messages; we’re not that smart. We just wanted to make a big rock album.”
And they did just that, by flying to Iceland to record in Sigur Ros’s recording studio. It’s not the first band that springs to mind when thinking of a “big rock album” and the experience almost drove them mad.
“We had never been to Iceland before so it was a great opportunity. We were a lot more focused as the area was a really small town and about an hour from any nightlife. We started going a bit crazy by the end of recording. We would go home have tea and watch E! which was the only English channel available.”
A teaser from their album, Act on Impulse, was recently uploaded on their website giving a taster of what’s to come from WWPJ. The heavy crescendo of pounding drums and quickening guitars is a contrast to Thompson’s delicate vocals, and their sound has become more atmospheric and epic.
“We were in our teens when we released These Four Walls. We have matured and are now touring with more international bands. You’re just realising what you want the perception of the band to be.”
It’s always interesting to think what singers listen to. Does Ozzy Osbourne play a little Tchaikovsky before bed? Does Damien Rice like to crank it up to 11 with a bit of AC/DC in the morning? Thompson on the other hand admits that he doesn’t listen to that much rock music.
“I like a lot of quieter stuff like Bon Iver and The National, not many big rock bands, especially whilst writing”.
In the Pit of the Stomach is quite brutal album title. I ask Adam about the meaning behind it, “It’s just a line from a song I like. I think after the first album we were trying too hard. It was just going round and round in my head whilst we were recording.”
The band are heading out on tour across Europe this month, after extensive US tour last year supporting Jimmy Eat World. “[That] was great! Our drummer is a massive fan. It’s fun touring in the US. We got lucky with Fat Cat records and being close to The Twilight Sad who did a lot of the leg work for us. By the time we went on tour we were reeling in huge crowds and a large fan base and it just went from there. We keep going back and the shows get bigger and bigger.
“We haven’t really toured the UK,” Adam says. And then adds, “In fact we haven’t even toured Scotland before.”
With dates locked in for October and a stellar new album under their belts, catch them before they take off.
In The Pit of the Stomach is released on October 3rd and tour dates as follows, below.
6th Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
11th Leeds Brudenell Social Club
12th London XOYO
13th Brighton Jam
14th Manchester Deaf Institute