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A Complete One-Eighty – an Interview with We Were Promised Jetpacks

Having released their latest album, Enjoy The View, in September 2021, Scottish indie rock band We Were Promised Jetpacks went back into the studio this year to reinterpret some of those tracks. Available digitally and on limited edition vinyl on December 9 via the Big Scary Monsters label, the new EP features three songs from the LP and three remixes by Manchester Orchestra, Andy Monaghan (Frightened Rabbit) and Zoe Graham.

Appropriately named, A Complete One-Eighty takes the original tracks in a completely new direction. Opener “Fat Chance” and “All That Glittered” are transformed from up-tempo indie-rockers into contemplative acoustic tracks while “If It Happens” now features a backdrop of beats. The remixes also take the songs to different places. Manchester Orchestra’s interpretation of “If It Happens” would not be out of place on The Million Masks of God (if Andy Hull suddenly had a Scottish accent) and Zoe Graham gives “Fat Chance” a overhaul for the dancefloor.

We Were Promised Jetpacks formed in Edinburgh in 2003 and the current lineup features Adam Thompson (vocals, guitar), Sean Smith (bass) and Darren Lackie (drums). They have released five full-length studio albums, a live album and several EPs since debut These Four Walls in June 2009. We had a chat with Adam about the new EP, how protective the band are of their work and what can be done to help musicians in these testing times.

Hi Adam! How’s everything going right now?
All good thank you. We’ve had a fairly busy year travelling and playing shows so we are very much enjoying some quality home time.

What classic album cover is your current mood?
White Album by the Beatles

Your new EP, A Complete One-Eighty, is out on December 9th. Why did you decide to rework the three songs from last year’s album?
We had a bit of time after a tour and thought it might be a fun exercise to mess around with the songs. We’d never played these songs live before recording them so once we had toured the songs a bit we fancied trying some stuff out.

It also features remixes from Manchester Orchestra, Andy Monagahan and Zoe Graham. How did they get involved in the project?
We are all big fans of MO and they’ve always been nice to us so we thought we’d take a shot and see if they were up for it. We were delighted they were.

Andy Monaghan is our main man and has been playing live with us for a few years now. We recorded our re-workings with Andy at his studio and it was a no-brainer asking him to do his own remix of one of our songs.

We toured in the UK with Zoe and really enjoyed her music and found her to be completely infectious. We are very lucky to have these lovely people contribute.

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?

Abba – Greatest Hits. If I’m going to lose the plot only listening to one album the rest of my days then I’m just going to really go for it.

Adam Thompson

Do you ever get protective of your songs when you hear remixes of them? Like “what the hell have they done??”
Never remixes. Remixes are meant to sound like what the person wants them to sound like. Although sometimes when we record new songs and get a mix back from a producer internally I can be like “wtf?” But there is usually a reason for why they have done what they have done and we can talk it out and sort it.

You’ve previously cited Frightened Rabbit as an influence and you’ve been involved in the Tiny Changes community which is such an important organization right now. Scott is obviously hugely missed by everyone – what do you think needs to be done, both by the music industry and by governments, to provide more support to musicians that need help?
Haha where do we start? Everyone needs help. I don’t have an answer to be honest. I’ve seen a few organisations starting up recently with the aim to support the mental health of musicians which is a great thing. Resources and support mean a lot.

It is also just so expensive to hit the road at the moment and it just feels like a huge gamble every time we head out. Brexit in the UK has just been catastrophic for touring bands. Oh and it definitely would be good to get paid properly for streams. And to take the ticket touts on and stop all that nonsense.

Good luck out there everybody!

You’ve recently finished a tour of the US. What was your favorite venue and any interesting stories from the tour?
I think my favourite venue that I hadn’t already been to yet was Tipitina’s in New Orleans. A great room and the staff there were all total pros and really nice. Thank you, Tipitina’s! And they gifted us all a t-shirt which was nice.

No interesting stories I can think of I’m afraid. Had hotel breakfasts almost every day, drove to a venue, sound-checked, ate dinner, played a gig, got drunk. On repeat!

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
I am a simple man and I don’t like to overcrowd a pizza. Probably a couple different types of mushroom because I love them.

Magic Mushroom Pizza.

What do you have planned for 2023?
To try and make it through it the best I can.

You can find out more about WWPJ and check out their back catalogue at their website and follow them on Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news.

Photo Credit: Evan Robertson

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