Jacle Bow is a rock foursome on the rise. A rare species, too: they’re all about live and authentic sounds. Not big fans of sampling and layering techniques: the boys like it raw. They’re brave creatures, too. Not long after their beginning, they went on a self-made American west coast tour that got them from San Diego to Seattle with hot venues and even hotter adventures. During their far west expedition they shot a “rockumentary” titled “Play for that money boys” which was broadcasted during the Swedish Music & Film Festival ‘Live At Heart’. In 2015, they signed a record deal with Warner Music and 2016 saw them recording the album under the artistic wing of producer Mario Goossens (Triggerfinger). Big stuff has happened to Jacle Bow since their start, not least of which the “Artist in residence” in Ancienne Belgique (AB) last year. And the great news is that their album is ready. “What’s all the mumble about” is here. 13 songs and a great cover artwork by visual artist Geert De Taeye. And it’s going to be released tomorrow in that same epic venue, in the AB Club. Brace yourselves for some pretty great rock ‘n roll. Like Studio Brussel said during the 2015 De Nieuwe Lichting finale: « The Faces’ energy, Keith Richards’ groove and Lou Reed’s cool attitude». I met three of the boys last weekend at their rad abode, a renovated apartment near the canal in the Druum bed and breakfast for a little chat.
Band: Jonas Bastijns (voice/guitar) / Karel Van Mileghem (bass) / Guillaume Lamont (guitar) / Joris Thys (drums)
So you’re a rock band…
Jonas: If you have to put a label on it, I’d say rock or old pop. Rock 2.0 even… or renaissance rock. We have a lot of influences of the 60s and the 70s.
You say there aren’t so many of those pure rock bands playing “real music”…
Karel: For many bands, music is done in the studio. They record layer after layer using samples and computers and synths. We prefer playing our music together. Even in the studio, when we recorded, we play our songs like we do live. Even if we need more takes. For one song in the album, we did over 50 takes…
Jonas: And sometimes one is enough.
How did you live this first recording experience?
Jonas: It was a journey and a big learning process. For me it was the first real studio recording. Karel and Joris did some recording before. Live performance is completely different than studio recording.
Tell us about your West coast tour.
Karel: It was great. It all began as a silly idea: a very small band going to America when we hadn’t achieved much more than playing concerts in little bars. We said hell, let’s go and make a tour in the West coast. Also, it’s a relation test for a band. If you don’t survive it as a group, you won’t last long… So we started contacting venues and in the end we did 20 shows in 22 days from San Diego to Seattle.
Share the craziest thing that happened to you in the US and that is not on the documentary “Play for that Money boys!”
Jonas: It was probably one of our last days, in Seattle, where we finished the tour. Near Seattle, there’s a very small island called Bainbridge; it’s a ferry trip away. We played a very nice concert there in a coffee house / restaurant. We made pretty good money and, as we often did, we asked the audience if we could crash at someone’s place. And that time we got two people offering their place. We went with the girl who had the hot tub… There we had one of the few parties of the tour because touring is a lot of work and usually you need all the sleep you can get and you keep going… When we arrived to our house for the night, our host made us cocktails and put on some good music -Led Zeppelin, and then she showed us the fridge full of beer and said “take whatever you like, be my guests.” Then she left to her boyfriend’s. Anyway, it turned out to be an epic party… We ended up naked in the hot tub!
Karel: Epic but also a mess! The next morning, we woke up and were stunned by the view. The house was on a cliff and you could see the water, big mountains and Seattle in the distance.
Tell us about when you met Allen Hunter.
Karel: A common friend arranged for us to meet. We had a coffee and ended up in his living room playing music. He became a really good friend. He comes to Belgium every year and it’s always nice to see him.
Jonas: And actually, one of the girls who gave us a place to sleep in LA came to Brussels like 6 months ago and we gave her a place to crash. It was nice to return the favour.
How does playing abroad compare to playing in Belgium?
Karel: There is more live music in bars there. And music is more a “way of living”. And even though venues don’t treat you as good as in Belgium, in the sense that you basically have to get your own drinks, you do make more money. Even playing in the street…
Jonas: And people do music and music alone. They wake up and go to sleep having spent their day working on their music: making it, producing it, booking it, whatever. It’s really a way of living.
What did you take from your AB “Artists in Residency” experience?
Karel: When you start, they actually ask you “what do you want to do this year?” We wanted to make a video clip inspired from the Beatles’, with girls running behind the band and the got to have the whole AB to ourselves for the day. Among other things we got rehearsing time, a couple of support shows and advice from a lot of great people.
Are there bands you’d enjoy doing collabs with in Belgium?
We just did a big collaboration with ‘Music for life’ at the AB. We got to play with Triggerfinger and Adamo… In fact we’re going to cover a version of Adamo’s “C’est ma vie” next week on the radio. That was super rad, playing with Adamo, one of the best sold Begian artists worldwide…
What’s your earliest music memory?
Jonas: I had bought a Michael Jackson cassette and I remember that when we came back from our summer holidays, we painted the bedrooms and the cassette was playing in the background. So when I listen to Michael Jackson I think of painting… I’m still a fan.
Karel: It was the 80sa and it was the cd player boom. I remember my father took away his pickup and installed a cd player and he had this Miles Davis cd. That’s still a super vivid memory. And I think that ‘88 dc player still works. Tough stuff.
Joris: I was probably the hugest Elvis Presley fan. When I was 7 years old I watched a documentary made for the 20th anniversary of Elvis’s death and I became obsessed. I made myself a guitar and pretended to be Elvis. Every night when I went to sleep I pinched my lips so they’d look like his. I also made drawings and sent them to Youpi (kids magazine in Flanders) but they never published them.
Jonas: we still have Elvis’ pictures on the wall…
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Joris: We have a lot of guilty pleasures…
Jonas: I always liked dancing in the kitchen. And I like disco music… it’s actually very good dance music. The Scissor Sisters “I don’t feel like dancing”… THAT’s my guilty pleasure.
Joris: Madonna… or (the three) “wake me up before you go-go”.
Something that few people know about you?
Karel: When we have a new song and we play it at a gig, sometimes we don’t have lyrics for it yet… and Jonas just sings jibberish and nobody realises…
What are the next months going to look like for you?
Jonas: playing a lot, promoting the album and in a couple of months, starting to work on our next album.
Karel: We have a lot of songs in the vault.