Photo Credit: Euan Robertson
Sometimes you’ve got to look back at what you’ve done and say, hey – what can I do to evolve that? That’s exactly what Scottish rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks did when it came to their December 9th release, ‘A Complete One-Eighty.’ They took some former releases and reworked a few, but also threw in a couple of other musical gems that are sure to brighten everyone’s playlists as we wrap up the year. We talked about how they landed on the idea for this record, David Bowie, and more in this new back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: Darren, you said that being away from the road gave y’all a “renewed desire” to play again. Do you think that was true for most musicians who were sitting at home with the rest of the world for a couple of years?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: Absolutely. The reward of being in a band for us is getting to travel and play for the people who care about our band. Having almost two years without playing a show was the longest break we’ve had since we started playing shows in 2004. We were extremely grateful to still be able to book tours and to be able to hit the road as hard as we did when it became possible again.
Kendra: Since heading back to the aforementioned road, what’s been the one thing you didn’t realize you missed about touring until you were out there again?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: I certainly missed the laughs that you have with your friends on the road. It wasn’t like I forgot that happened but I certainly forgot how much I loved it. It’s like a weird social experiment – stick 6 people in a van for 6 weeks at a time, traveling hours a day, barely getting any sleep and all missing the comforts of home. But you become one big tight-knit unit – picking each other up with humour whenever it is needed.
Kendra: It was during that time that you said the idea for ‘A Complete One-Eighty’ came to mind. What made you want to go back in on some older songs and rework/remix them?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: It’s reworkings and remixes from songs from our latest album ‘Enjoy The View.’ We wrote and recorded that album entirely during the first nine months of the pandemic and we’d never played any of the songs live before recording – which is the first time that it has ever worked out like that for us. So we thought after touring the songs for a bit it would be fun to have a go at doing them differently. It was also a fun opportunity for us to record with and spend more time with Andy Monaghan – who plays guitar and keys with us live.
Kendra: Do you think it takes an extra level of creativity and sort of humbleness to go in and redo something you’ve already written and recorded?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: It takes an open mind and a willingness to do things differently and have a bit of fun. We tried to take our traditional instruments sparingly and experiment with other sounds…perhaps showing us a possible path forward for the band.
Kendra: What band or artist would you love to do what you all did, and redo a previous release?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: The Blue Nile. I’m not sure what I’d like to hear them do but I want to hear more, more, and more!
Kendra: Now with the holidays right around the corner, I’d love to know if you could be gifted with tickets to see any artist, living or not, live in concert – who would it be and why?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: David Bowie. To be honest I only really started listening to him more regularly once he passed away! What an idiot. He’s just got so many tunes in so many different styles with so many unbelievable musicians. And the whole not telling anyone that he was ill and the last album he released…I just thought it was a heck of a way to go. I became obsessed.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘A Complete One-Eighty’ out on December 9th and a fall tour already behind you at that point, what are your plans heading into the new year?
We Were Promised Jetpacks: We did a lot of touring this year so in the immediate future all I’m looking forward to doing is hanging out with my wife and dog as much as I can!