The last time Jupiter released an album we were so enamoured by it, we clubbed together with a load of other blogs to host a Jupiter appreciation day. Fast-forward three years almost to-the-day and Amélie and Quarles are back with their second full-length, ‘Bandana Republic’.
We managed to grab 10 minutes with Jupiter to talk about their new album, how long road-trips across America listening to soft rock radio inspired the album’s direction, and what they’ve got planned for their new live show.
Hello Jupiter, how are you today?
Very well thanks! And yourself?
Great, thanks. And whereabouts are you today?
We’re north of Paris (where our studio is located) in the charming French countryside.
And what’s the weather like?
Absolutely terrible: grey sky, rain and fog!
Sounds a lot like Manchester, then. Tell us about your new album, Bandana Republic, how long did you spend recording it?
We actually started writing the album a year and a half ago but we were not really sure in which direction we wanted to go. It took us a while to figure it out but once we got started we couldn’t stop.
Did you do anything different during the recording process this time around compared to your debut album?
We definitely tried different stuff: writing a bit with Tim, who played live with us on the previous tour, recording live drums and most importantly the two of us traveled to California for a couple of months.
Tell us about this epic American road trip that gave you inspiration for the new album?
We got a little uninspired by our Parisian surroundings at some point; it felt like we’d kind of seen it all and that people’s influence was getting too much in the way of our creativity. This is when we decided to leave for California, on a whim. There was a whole process involved as we stopped listening to modern music in order to isolate ourselves and only went for 80s funk, 70s classic rock and 50s rhythm n blues that was playing on the radio.
Before the trip, did you have idea of how you wanted your second album to sound?
No we didn’t, we really wanted to get inspired by our environment and it totally worked out. We got so much vibe from the different landscapes, the cities, the mountains, the deserts and the sea that we wrote over half of the album over there in only two months. It’s insane how much your surroundings can affect your creativity, in a good or/and a bad way!
It seems like you moved away from your predominantly funk/synth-pop style towards a wider range of styles and influences for this album, what was the reason for this?
I guess the fact that we listened to lots of different genres during the writing process really pushed us towards different directions. We didn’t want to make the same music over and over anyway, so the fact that you can sense that departure is a good thing.
It sounds like Quarles is singing on Celsius – is this the case?
A: Yes, he never thought he could make it but I convinced him and we were super happy of the result.
Q: It took a long time, but I learned a lot from it. I can almost consider myself a singer now!
What are some of the influences you wanted to explore on the album?
We definitely wanted the album to sound more live, hence the live drums and the guitar. The album was almost crafted like the soundtrack to our experience in the American west: we translated what we saw into music, a bit like a film composer naturally laying down notes to emotionally illustrate pictures. So naturally the music on the radio played an important role: halfway between Fleetwood Mac and The Gap Band.
Tell us about the album’s name – are you bandana wearers yourselves?
Q: One of the first things I did in California was buying a red bandana at a gas station. It just seemed kinda natural, not necessarily something I would do in Paris but I felt attracted to it. It became symbolic of our way of life out there, so it somehow embodies the vibe of the album.
What have you got planned for the new live show – anything exciting we should know about?
We’re now super excited to be playing as a full live band (bass, guitar, drums and synths), which was almost necessary, given the more organic tone of the album. It took a while to set up this new live show but the album really does come alive on stage :)
Which track(s) would you say is your favourite from the album, and why?
Q: EastWest is definitely one of my favourites, no matter how many times I listen to it. There’s not a single thing I would change about it.
A: Bandana, because I really like the story, the mood and the memories around the writing of this song.
If you studio was on fire, and you go back and save one thing each, what would it be and why?
Q: All my friends & family teamed up to buy me a Fender Precision Bass from 1973 for my last birthday, and it sounds absolutely perfect. I would never let the flames feast on that beast.
A: Probably our Jupiter 6, not only it’s a great synth but it has a huge sentimental value!
Check back tomorrow for our review of ‘Bandana Republic’.