Welsh mining village Ammanford, nestled at the foot of the Black Mountains, is hardly the centre of the rock 'n' roll universe but its from here that Jarcrew, a band influenced by Can, hip hop, motorcycling stunt genius Eddie Kidd, and spaghetti westerns, have emerged with their challenging, eponymous, debut album, and one that features the brilliant 'Paris And The New Math', possibly the world's only Krautrock/pop crossover hit.

R*E*P*E*A*T caught up with Jarcrew frontman Kelson and drummer Rod in a freezing cold basement in the Northampton Soundhaus prior to an electric gig which saw Kelson moon walking into the audience, nicking their beer and fags, and chatting up the other people's girlfriends. For now though here's what they had to say:

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

REPEAT: How did Jarcrew get together?
Rod: "We had a band at school with 15 of us who couldn't play any instruments but as time progressed it whittled down to four or five members and settled on the name Jarcrew…"
Kelson: "…and just learned to play."

What constitutes a good night out in Ammanford?
Kelson: "Leaving it!"
Rod: "There's some nice pubs which have lock ins. Or you can go camping."
Kelson: "It's better than living in the city though with all the smoke and shit. It's just hills. Hills everywhere."

In an interview with Drowned In Sound, you said the only thing you agree on is Black Sabbath. What do you disagree about?
Together: "Everything!"
Rod: "Before we'd get bugger all done because we'd argue about crap stuff like films and what we did or didn't like. That tension can be good but recently it was getting really tense and we couldn't get anything done… "
Kelson: "..which resulted in getting rid of the bass player!"

What was the last thing you argued about?
Rod: "Religion. We went to Prague on holiday and got really drunk and we went back to our place and stayed up 'til seven in the morning screaming at each other about God and politics."
Kelson: "We get on our high horses about things we know nothing about then debate them for hours on end."

The recent single 'Paris And The New Math' is fantastic but what the hell is it all about?
Rod: "At the moment the song is about having your own way of dancing and not being afraid to express yourself."

Similarly, 'Sad French Death Metal'. Please explain.
Rod: "It's more about The Doors singer Jim Morrison who is buried in Paris… and that's all I'm saying."

Er, yeah, thanks. So for those of us who haven't heard your eponymous debut album what can we expect from it?
Rod: "Pop songs, long songs, spaced out passages. It's really, really self indulgent but we don't care."
Kelson: "Instrumental stuff. It's difficult to read too much into it. So don't… just listen."

Isn't one of the songs, 'Bill Carson', 10 minutes long? Who's Bill Carson anyway?
Kelson: " When we first started playing we took a lot of Western-y guitar samples from a film in which he plays a cowboy but he's also a musician."
Rod: "He was a cowboy in a spaghetti western and basically everyone was searching for this guy Bill Carson because he'd hidden a stash of gold." (Repeat has since learnt that Bill Carson was the name of a character played by Western movie actor Tim McCoy in films including 'Fighting Bill Carson' and 'Lightnin' Bill Carson' - so now you know…)

Why did you choose to remix the album 'Jarcrew' (recently re-released and remixed by Clive Goddard who has previously worked with Killing Joke and Badly Drawn Boy among others)?
Rod: "The first time we did it the budget was really, really low…"
Kelson: "…and time was against us. We did it in two weeks straight. We were so over the moon at doing our first album and couldn't believe someone had given us the opportunity to do it. We were smitten, and we were naïve in that respect because we thought it was going to be ridicoulsly huge."
Rod: "We though we'd made the next 'Nevermind'!"

Your website (jarcrew.com) includes a link to a Krautrock website. How much are Jarcrew influenced by Krautrock? (For the uninitiated this was often 'awkward' and self indulgent music made, mainly, by Germans)
Rod: "Quite big. We went to this Krautrock shop in Leicester and it was amazing."
Kelson: "Progtastic… it's full of Italian prog!"

If Repeat readers wanted to find out more about Krautrock, which records should they buy?
Rod: "Probably the first Neu! (pronounced 'noi') album (also called 'Neu!') and also 'Monster Movie' and 'Tago Mago' by Can."

What other music are you into?
Rod: "Hip hop, 60s psychedelic stuff, folk, hardcore, drum 'n' bass… and the Outkast album ('The Love Below/Speakerboxx')
Kelson: "Johnny Cash, The Beatles…'

Apart from music, what else influences Jarcrew?
Rod: "We're trying to get more into real life to be honest. When I was younger I didn't listen to records I just watched loads of telly…"
Kelson: "Too many films, too many art lessons…"
Rod: "We're trying to make more story based songs, more character driven…"
Kelson: "We had no set plan with the first album, lyrically it's more about stuff we don't know but want to get. It's not realistic lyrics because we don't have normal lives. I can't see us singing songs about waking up and missing your girlfriend."

What other Welsh bands should we be looking out for?
Kelson: "Mclusky…"
Rod: "People In Planes… Samo Hung… Sons Of Thunder…"
Kelson: "The Martini Henry Rifles."

It must be difficult being in a band living in a small village in the middle of Wales and getting noticed?
Rod "Well, yes but our first London gig we played we just did it off our own backs, we phoned up the venue and they asked us to bring 30 people. We didn't even know 30 people! We hired a van and blagged a load of crap equipment and travelled up with a recovering heroin addict in the back who had to keep stopping to do his methadone."
Kelson: "We played to two Spanish people in the Camden Monarch and we lost about £50 each but we loved it."
Rod: "You can't wait for someone to offer it to you, you have to go out and get it."

Anthony Gibbons

Jarcrew's eponymous debut album is out now on Gut Records.

That Krautrock shop in Leicester is called Ultimate Thule and is at 1 Conduit Street, Leicester LE2 0JN. So there you go…

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looking forward to it. (Laughs). It's difficult to say because the last few months have felt strange, it's felt like going down a plughole. I've got a real sense of vertigo at the moment. So I can't tell you that I'm looking forward to it. I will get through it and find where I land after that. That's what will happen.

Lucy: 'Taxidermy' and 'Drink Me' are quite drastically different in their musical styles, so what kind of sound can we expect from the 3rd album?
KJG: We don't know yet. We're playing a lot of new material tonight so you'll be able to judge that for yourself. When I'm this close up to it, it's really difficult to tell. I'm on a bit of a negative slant today, but usually with our music I can only hear the bits that have gone wrong rather
than anything that went right. When you reflect back on something it's very difficult to give an objective opinion, and I don't believe in objectivity anyway, I think everything's subjective. I just throw a deck of cards and
wherever they land, that's where she finds herself. I'm not really the one to explain my part in it, you must do that as the observer really, and of course that will reflect your part in the grand scheme of things.

Lucy: Do you enjoy playing live more than the creative process in the studio?
KJG: (Laughs) I don't enjoy any of it. It comes and it goes, ok? There's nothing like when you're writing and you manage to catch something by its
tail; when you're looking for those things underground that are skittering out of sight just when you're about to catch them. And when you catch them it is worth it, but it's a momentary pleasure. I've got so much noise upstairs, and I can hear things in my head that to me are absolutely devastatingly beautiful. I'm always trying to download them and get them
here, but they never get here in the right state, they're always very disabled and they don't even begin to imitate what I can hear in my head.
It's a frustrating process in the main.

Lucy: Your lyrics are simultaneously emotionally expressive and cryptic. Are you looking to be understood by your audience?
KJG: I'm always trying to understand myself, but it's like there's a point in the centre of the room, and there's a hundred windows to look at the same point from. All I can do is give you different angles on the same thing. God, you know, if I could find one conclusive thing in anything I would probably have something to put an anchor down on. But I cant, and I haven't met anyone that can. You can pick out anything you like in my lyrics, I don't seek to be cryptic. I love words for the sake of words, for me they're kind of free standing, and they don't really need to be explained. I think every word has its own character and colour and picture and the result you get with lyrics just depends how you put them together. You could just do it in a William Burroughs esque way, or throw the deck of cards, and you'd probably still find something that our tiny little minds would latch on to in order to gain some kind of emotional understanding. I don't think there's a constant, the only constant that there is for me is that there is no constant. I use myself as my canvas, I gut myself and fillet myself the whole fucking time, I'm always hooking myself out of the water, I'm always cutting my own head off and disembowelling myself, and as you can probably tell I'm quite angry about it at the moment. I'm very tired of it all, of my
process and how I find life, because it always seems to be about living and dying all in one breath. I'm getting pretty fucking tired of that.

Lucy: Do you think drugs stimulate or hinder creativity?
KJG: Well that depends on the drug, because I think most things arrive in the form of a drug really. I know in myself that if anything I am, much to my greater expense, an adrenalin junkie. My synapses don't work well enough to put pills in my mouth, I can't do that, despite popular opinion. I don't need any help breaking down, put it that way. There's not much holding it
together. If there was a drug that could put aline between two polar opposites and make them in to one thing I'm sure I would have it
intravenous, but I haven't found it. I think drugscan be a bit of a lazy way for creativity anyway, you're better off in the cold light of day in the mirror.

Lucy: As a band, you are distinguished by the extreme physicality of your live performances. Do you consciously make an effort to put on a show or do your performances just naturally come to you, and whatever happens, happens?
KJG: It's a bit of both, because you see, I think taking the stage is one of the most unnatural things anyone can do. In a way, just walking on stage actually creates an altered state - its not right, no one's meant to do that, unless you're a priest or a magician, or something like that. To put somebody who's very incapable in many ways in to that position creates a combustion reaction inside me. I know that, and I take the stage knowing that. Obviously there's all the usual things that affect my performance; if I'm on my 45th day of a tour I'm probably gonna be pretty fucking tired, so I'll be dictated by that. If I'm doing new material like tonight I don't
know what's going to happen, because we haven't built the train tracks yet. The beauty of playing live is when my drummer goes in to 5th gear or in to 10th gear, and for some reason there's something that hits me in the base of the spine and I'm gone, and that's Halleluiah for me. During the last few months a lot of strange things have been happening onstage, I think the process is changing. I don't know what's going to happen tonight, I've been having quite a tough time on stage, I feel like something's pulling me under, as if something's got me.

Lucy: So does the crowd influence your performances on stage?
KJG: Yes they do. I'm unkind enough to be pretty impersonal about how I do it, so I use them for me to kick against in effect, or to surf on, (I don't
mean physically surf). If you're in an empty roomand there's a couple of people at the back, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a bad show -
they might get the show of their lives. And then again when something's really heaving and going off, I get quite a distorted view of it, because I
can feel quite overwhelmed lose my sense of place in the situation. I lose control of myself. I don't know, I probably wasn't meant to do this, I
wasn't built for this. It wasn't a career option, I didn't start there and go there, I didn't pick up the things on the way. I've sort of gone round
and round.

Lucy: As the lead singer of the band, most media interest is focused on you. Do you feel pressurised by your position or do you enjoy being the centre of attention?
KJG: I've been here on this wheel long enough,(and I say this with a little bit of trepidation because I think you have to be really careful with this kind of thing, because the motivation to do it in itself I think is usually pretty corrupt) I'm not doing it for anyone else, I need a cheque through the door like anybody else does, you have to keep eating, you have to keep living. I'm looking for some sense of going home on my own terms, and people's critique of me is not relevant, whether it's positive of negative.
I do need a cheque through the door though, otherwise I'll have to go and be a butcher or something.

Lucy: What is the religious meaning behind the song "For I am the way"?
KJG: If you use the word religion in its truest sense, all it means is communion, it hasn't got any of the attachments to any written word. My
understanding of the word communion is loss of the sense. Another way of looking at it is you've got to get in to get out, and the only thing that I
know to be true is me, is this tiny little dot in the centre of the universe. It's the only thing that I know feels pain; I can see other people's pain and I can feel it in an emotional way, but not in a physical way. I find myself in the unfortunate position of feeling like I am the
centre of the universe and that everything is a projection, made by me - i.e. you two don't exist, you're something that I created. I don't wish that
sense upon anybody because it's not a good one. Through 'For I am the way' I'm saying that you've got to get in, because the only thing one knows to be true is oneself. And on a good day, if you stand on top of a mountain or go to the desert or stand in the ocean, and become completely inconsequential, linear time stops and you become everything and nothing. That for me is
communion, that's how I define religion. I thinkthere's a line in there which goes "Today the only bridge I have I burn" which sums it up really, because it is about cutting all lines of communication in order to really truly commune.

Lucy: Do you think that in the future your creativity will move from the sphere of music in to literature for example?
KJG: It's real hard to say. In a way, that sounds like a much easier life. But for all I know I'm deluding myself. I'm looking for someone to help me frame something at the moment, and someone is actually, someone's being really good to me. I would love to write, but I don't know if I'm good
enough to do it.