After a great 2017, during which their debut EP was released, Jitterz are going from strength to strength. We sat down with Beth and Jamie to talk about their influences, their most memorable gigs and the future of the band.
Jitterz formed around two years ago when Beth and Jamie met at a gig downstairs at The Shed where she was playing an acoustic set. He introduced himself after, and they soon started practising together – initially as a three-piece, although they had to get rid of the other guitarist because he was too good. “he had all these pedals and he was really good” Beth explains. “I think I knew him because he’d recorded me somewhere so I knew he had a good ear but he didn’t suit so it’s always been just the two of us.”
“If people gave us food and a sofa to sleep on, I’d go literally anywhere.”
As a two-piece garage rock band, the most obvious touchpoint would be The White Stripes but they actually talk about their love of Kate Tempest; Jamie adding “we’ve got the rock ‘n’ roll stuff like Elvis and The Beatles and Chuck Berry and Little Richard”, referring to the covers that they play in their live set. The first album that he consciously bought was a James Brown one simply because “that’s my name! On an album!” That’s where he fell in love with the drumming of Brown’s drummer Clyde Stubblefield. “He’s just an amazing drummer and I got really into the breakbeats and everything and it all spiralled from that.” Beth admits that the first single she ever bought was Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue, “It’s so hooky! I love it, although I don’t think you’re meant to admit that you’re in to pop music when you’re in a band. I get really nerdy about really good hooks like ABBA” she continues. “I like a lot of different genres and that killer melody with the right lyric where you’re like, ‘why did I not write that?!’ I’m always saying to Jamie, ‘I wish I’d written this song’, it makes me so excited. I get really nerdy about voices as well. Otis Redding makes me die, he’s my favourite. I like Kate Bush.”
The Beatles are a recurring touchpoint with the band. “I’m a real Beatles nut, that will never go away, which is probably an unpopular opinion now” Beth enthuses. “Sgt. Pepper was the first album that made me write. I was 12 and I’m sure that what I was writing was absolutely terrible – one of the first songs that I wrote was about traffic lights, which sounds really trippy but I was 12.” They do still love Jack White though, Jamie mentions a time he saw him live, “I was just stood there watching the stage, analysing everything. I just have that part of my brain, which is always like, “what’s going on, what’s going on?””
Talking about their live shows, they recall a daytime gig in Sheffield where they played between a band from Cambridge and another band from South Wales. “How did they manage to get people from all over the country to come and play this really little gig in a pub?” muses Jamie. “It just seemed really odd and the guy who seemed to be running it all was wearing 3D glasses the whole time.” Beth adds “he had a really bright shirt on and the glasses were left over from a Kraftwerk gig, which made it even better. I asked if he’d been to see them and he was like, “no, I really wanted to and I have these glasses. Someone left them behind.””
It still went better than their first gig, at which included a guy coming up to them to tell them how bad they were before they’d even played. “I was like, ‘you haven’t seen us yet!’ and he was convinced that he’d seen us before even though that was impossible” explains Beth. “So that was a weird beginning, maybe it was a sign! He was really angry though.” She adds, “at least that was an opinion based on something that you’ve actually seen.”
Jitterz released their debut EP, Get A Real Job, in 2017 – it took a day to record the tracks but they had to wait three months between recording and getting the finished product. “It was really exciting when we got them in the post, it was like Christmas. It has noise on that we did!” Enthuses Beth. The EP was funded through Kickstarter and they managed to get backers from as far afield as American and Israel.
The experience of recording in a studio was a fun one for everyone involved. “It’s a very different experience to playing live because of doing our bits separately” explains Jamie. “I like the freedom that it gives you because we could do loads of different vocal harmonies.” Beth adds “it’s quite nice to have an idea in your head and be able to actually put it onto the record. It’s nice that it’s a little bit different to live but not over produced – it sounds like a live recording with a few bits added in.”
With the EP out and a support slot for Dream Wife at The Cookie under their belts, what’s next for Jitterz? Even though Jamie has gone to university in Manchester, they are going to keep going, he says, “we’ve done quite a few gigs outside of Leicester now and with releasing the EP, we can hopefully use that to be able to keep the whole thing going.” Beth sounds keen. “If people gave us food and a sofa to sleep on, I’d go literally anywhere.”
The band are refreshing in that they actually seem to be having fun on stage when they play and don’t take themselves too seriously. That feeling carries on off-stage too. It’s great to hear Beth admit that “there’s enough cool bands – we can’t attempt to add to that. It wouldn’t be right, it’s not natural.” Jamie adds, “We’re not naturally cool people.”
Catch Jitterz at The Y Theatre on April 14th.