Interview with International Jetsetters

 

internationaljetsetters_promo11

 

Delusions Of Adequacy: Hi Mark and Bert! It’s great to get the chance to talk to the both of you and see how your band International Jetsetters is taking off. From what I’ve read, you joined forces and formed the band in March 2007, soon after which you enlisted former Ride drummer Loz Colbert, and then added Mark’s brother Paul and Fi McFall.

What was the impetus for you starting International Jetsetters? I think you both have worked together before on musical projects, so was it a natural progression to start this band, or did you actively want to create a music project that was different from your past work together?

Bert: Yeah, me and Mark had been writing stuff for a few years, and had positive reviews for our demos, but we hadn’t really spoken about doing anything live. The band just happened, to be honest. Mark had landed himself a solo gig in Oxford, and thought it would be cool to get me and Loz in on it as a 3-piece. We squeezed in a rehearsal somewhere along the way, and it went really well. We knew we had to do more.

DOA: Before we go into the details of International Jetsetters, can you let us know the basics of who’s in the band and what instruments each member plays, and how you decided on the band name?

Bert Audubert

Bert Audubert

Bert: The band is:
Fi Mcfall Vocals
Mark Crozer Guitar/Vocals
Paul Crozer Guitar
Bert Audubert Bass
Loz Colbert Drums/Vocals

The name was Mark’s doing. He thought it was ironic if we were International Jetsetters, seeing as we only ever went as far as the village pub for a beer or two.

DOA: Mark, you’ve known Loz Colbert for a while now, since you’re both part of the reformed Jesus And Mary Chain, and, well, you’ve known Paul Crozer, for even longer, since he’s your brother. What’s it like working with Loz in a different band, and how is it going with having your brother in the band? Any dust-ups or are things hunky dory? I just find it interesting when siblings end up in the same band…

Mark: Paul and I get on fine mostly. In fact we haven’t had a single bust up at all since he joined the band. Well, nothing major. Only when I’m being an arse. If anything it’s brought us closer together. We do still squabble over things but it’s usually when we’re playing Scrabble (because he likes to make up words and then pretend they’re real by reading out some random definition from the dictionary) or about who’s eaten the last Malteser or something equally banal.

Working with Loz is a pleasure whether it’s in the Mary Chain or International Jetsetters. I couldn’t ever imagine having any other drummer in my band. I was a Ride fan when they came along so was thrilled when he agreed to give the Jetsetters a go last year. God, it already seems like we’ve been doing this for years. I’m very happy to say we’re all still good friends.

DOA: How did you end up meeting Fi McFall? Has she sung in any other bands or done any solo work? I really like the added dimension she brings to your tunes and the interplay between her vocals and Mark’s vocals.

Bert: Fi was a friend of mine before I even knew she could sing (which came as a shock…what a voice!) and Mark heard her singing one day, and the next thing she knew, she was doing backing with the Jesus And Mary Chain at Brixton Academy. That was Fi’s first public performance. A bit like flying a Saturn 5 rocket when you’ve just got stabilisers on your bike. After that Fi had to be in the band.

DOA: How would you describe your sound or style? Any reference points to other bands or singers that have directly influenced your sound?

Bert: Oh god! You could talk for hours on this one. I think we all bring something different to the overall sound of the band. We don’t set out to get a certain vibe or feel. We all do our own thing and it just seems to work. I guess the JAMC and Ride are in the mix somewhere, but other than that, each track probably has its own influences from Blondie or the New York Dolls to Nina Simone and the Beatles.

DOA: It seems like 2008 has been an exciting and productive year for you so far, with U.K. and U.S. shows, radio sessions, and interviews. Can you give us a peek into what your year has been like? I think you played CMJ Festival in NYC, did radio session for WFMU 91.1 FM in New York, played a lot of gigs and did a lot of interviews, besides releasing your EP…

Bert: Well Jen, yes, it’s been busy! Our first gig with Fi was this year, so we haven’t even been together for a year yet, which is fucking mad really! Mark and Loz have had their other commitments too, which have taken them all over the place, so we gig when we can. We’ve done some great supports for Glasvegas, Inspiral Carpets and The Whigs amongst others, and yeah, me, Fi and Mark went to New York in May for a couple of acoustic gigs and to do the Irene Trudel show on WFMU. We all write a lot as well, so there’s always something going on….the odd interview perhaps…

DOA: You have a sonically tasty EP out since October titled Heart Is Black. Why did you decide to put out an EP before releasing a debut album? Will you be recording the full-length soon, or maybe put out another EP?

Bert: Thanks for the “Tasty” word. We’re working on the next EP now. We’re in the studio in a couple of days, but yeah, an album next year’s the plan.

DOA: You’re a U.K. band on U.S.-based Planting Seeds Records. How did that all fall into place?

Bert: It fell from a great height and landed on something soft…sorry Neil, and…er…thanks.

Mark: When I was booking tours back in 2005/06 Neil heard about me and sent me some CDs by Linda Draper and a couple of others and over time we became friends. I can’t really remember how it went from him being keen on me booking some of his artists to me persuading him to put out our EP… in fact I can’t even remember when or where we physically met now! Was it in the US or the UK? Er… I feel like I’ve known him quite some time. He’s a good guy as is William at PSR. They’re lovely people and have been very, very supportive of us.

DOA: Planting Seeds Records just released a benefit CD titled Blue Skies Daisy Days to support Keep A Breast Foundation, which raises awareness of prevention and early detection of breast cancer. What is your contribution to this compilation?

Bert: We’re honoured to be on the cd. We were totally up for it. Our song “Inside Out”, is the first track.

DOA: Mark, you have a long history in the music field, as a solo artist, and more recently as a guitarist in Jesus And Mary Chain, which reformed in 2007. From what I gather though, you were playing guitar in a band with Jim Reid since 2006, but his brother William was not involved with this. Was the band considered Jesus And Mary Chain at that time or did it have a different name? What has it been like to be part of such a legendary band, playing Coachella and other gigs and being in the presence of greatness, I mean, in the presence of Jim and William Reid?

Mark playing in the reformed Jesus And Mary Chain, with Jim Reid, NYC, May 2007.

Mark playing in the reformed Jesus And Mary Chain, with Jim Reid, NYC, May 2007.

Mark: I met Jim Reid in 2005 when I was asked to book some shows for him by the record label that was putting out his solo singles. Jim and Phil King had been doing sporadic live dates and in early 2006 it was decided we’d put a band together. I offered to play bass and arranged for Jim to meet Loz (who I knew was a great drummer but didn’t know personally.) We did a few gigs just under Jim’s name. It was never remotely considered the Mary Chain as we played mostly Jim’s own songs and a couple of covers.

It’s been what can only be described as overwhelming being part of the Mary Chain. Sitting here now a month after our tour of South America it all feels quite unreal. This might sound weird but it’s quite to hard to really appreciate it at the time as you go into a different head space; almost like survival mode! The last tour in particular was incredibly grueling. We flew from London to New York to Buenos Aires to Santiago to Mexico City to… urrgh… struggling to remember where… in the space of about ten days. We were in the air for over sixty hours in total and we were on stage for about six. So the amount of time you’re onstage is tiny compared to the amount spent getting to your destination and waiting to play. And when you’re onstage you’re mostly thinking about not fucking up and hoping that the audience is into it etc, etc… and for me I always seem to focus on the one person in the crowd who looks bored! Ha ha. So it’s hard to enjoy it at the time but looking back it’s been truly great. A great experience. Still hard to believe that it’s real. Coachella was amazing. Chile was amazing. So much has been great.

DOA: Mark, how are your duties with JAMC meshing with International Jetsetters? Is there any conflict in scheduling at all? For lack of a more pleasant simile, are you running around like a chicken with its head cut off?

Mark: There have been times when it’s been a bit crazy but the Mary Chain schedule this year has been quite light. We’ve toured all over the world but only in short bursts so it’s been pretty easy to fit everything in. The only things I’ve really missed out on are family events which always seem to fall on days when I’m away.

DOA: Mark, you released two solo albums in Canada, Shining Down On Me in 1999 and Unnatural World in 2002. Is there any similarity between the solo work you’ve done and International Jetsetters in the sense of sound or style of music? How do the experiences of being a solo artist and being part of a band compare with one another?

Mark: Actually there’s very little similarity between International Jetsetters and my solo albums. There’s very little similarity between my solo albums even. When I recorded Shining Down On Me I didn’t have a very clear idea of what I wanted so I let my friend Paul (who engineered and produced the album) guide me. I think he was really into people like Seal and other MOR pop so it ended up sounding like that. I actually quite like it still though it is totally different to International Jetsetters. When I did Unnatural World I had just got into Nick Drake and Elliott Smith so it sounds more like those two people. International Jetsetters is completely different. It’s the first time I’ve been in a band since 1994 so I think I’ve just been carried away by having an electric guitar plugged in for the first time in ages. I don’t know why we sound the way we do as there is no real conscious thought involved. We just all plug in and play and take it as it comes. It would be totally different with a different group of people.

DOA: Bert, what has your musical journey been like? I saw on MySpace that, besides your involvement with International Jetsetters, you and Fi McFall have a band called Welcome To Peepworld, so it looks like you, too, are running around like crazy and wearing many musical hats! Can you tell us more about this project and how you manage to devote yourself to at least the two bands?

Mark and female vocalist Fi McFall.

Mark and female vocalist Fi McFall.

Bert: I’ve got a huge hat collection! I let Fi wear them sometimes. Peepworld started last year as an acoustic project. Fi and I wrote really easily together, and we suddenly had a load of songs, all different vibes and feels. Some felt like Jetsetter tracks and others were definitely me and Fi. So we thought we’d have Welcome to Peepworld as a band. We’re looking to start gigging next year, but we’re getting an albums worth of material that we’re both happy with first, and when it fits in around the Jetsetters.

DOA: Not to be outdone, Mark, you also have your own MySpace profile where it looks like you, along with Bert on bass, are posting new songs once in a while. Is this just for kicks or are you trying work on as many musical projects as possible?!

Mark: There are songs I’ve written that to me don’t really sound like Jetsetter tracks so I’ve decided to do another solo mini-album which is probably going to be 8 songs. It’s going to be far gentler than International Jetsetters I think – more of a Beach Boys vibe with lots and lots of vocal harmonies and laid-back slide guitar. I’ve even covered a Cure song in a sort of West Coast Americana vein. I’m hoping to get it finished by the end of the decade! After that we’ll see what happens.

DOA: Bert, I hope this doesn’t sound too silly, but I was checking you out online the other day, and you name came up as being affiliated with IMDB.com where it lists you, or at least someone with the same name, as an actor in two short films, Monsieur Ballon in 2005 and Lucky Numbers this year. Would this, perchance, be another facet of your working life? If so, how did you get involved in film?

Bert: It sounds completely silly Jen!…Damn! Yeah alright, that’s me. I got sidetracked from music for a few years, and got into acting. Comedy stuff mostly. Nothing major, but it was a lot of fun. I fell into it really, on the advice of friends. I was egged on to audition for a couple of agencies in London and got in. If I’d thought about it, I probably would’ve freaked out. Hopefully some of the stuff I’ve done is ok.

DOA: What has it been like playing live as International Jetsetters? I’ve seen several video clips on YouTube of cool gig footage. What do you think of YouTube as a medium for people to post shows and other video related to your band?

Bert: International Jetsetters are fucking brilliant to play with live. Have you heard Loz drum? He’s a monster! Love it! Youtube’s cool. You can’t beat live, but getting your stuff out in the world’s seriously exciting.

DOA: Continuing with the YouTube phenomenon, and with MySpace too, I’ve now heard songs like “California”, “Out of My Depth”, and “Keep It In (Let It Out)” that are not on the Heart Is Black EP. Will these tracks eventually surface on your debut album?

Bert: Some will, some won’t, some may be on the next EP.

DOA: Please list your official band site(s) where we can find more info about you.

Bert: Have we got an official site Mark?

Mark: We don’t really have an official site as MySpace is perfectly adequate for now. Paul set up a mini site for the EP release which is www.heartisblack.com. That’s probably as official as it gets.