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Jagwar Ma: Interview

Words by Jacqui Wonder.

Sydney psych-pop revivalists Jagwar Ma have been very busy boys over the last few months becoming effortlessly famous across the globe in what seemed overnight. Getting them there we saw Jagwar Ma release a few very well received singles; they took on a hectic domestic and international touring schedule and then delivered their outstanding debut record, Howlin’.

A few days ago, acid stag’s Jacqui Wonder sat down for a chat with the band’s Gab Winterfield.

Where are you and what are you wearing?
Trousers, and some socks (laughs). And I’ve got my armbands from the Calvi on the Rocks Festival, that is in Corsica. Oh, and my little Casio watch.

You’re still in the UK where you’ve just played at Glastonbury. What was the highlight of playing to such a massive audience so early on in your career?
Just the scale of it – the size of that festival is incredible. Plus, before the big show we played a secret show at this small stage and the Horrors, Tame ImpalaFoals, Melody’s Echo Chamber and all these other bands were watching us from the crowd. That was kind of incredible. Plus Swing Deep and a bunch of other UK bands.

Can you explain the origin of the Jagwar Ma name?
Sort of. It’s funny, although hard to explain. It’s partially due to a painting that a friend of ours gave us, and the fact that I play a guitar called Fender Jaguar, and “Ma” is Jono’s last name, which is an old Chinese name for stallion. So it’s quite a symbolic name.

What’s your favourite lyric from Howlin’?
I don’t have one favourite lyric. I don’t even really have a favourite song on the album either, but at the moment I’m really enjoying ‘Backwards Berlin;’ it balances the whole record. The first part of the album is really confident, upfront and masculine – it’s kind of lavish. But as the record progresses it becomes more and more sensitive. It’s kind of funny when people reference the Madchester thing – yeah it’s quite obvious in ‘The Throw’ and we were quite happy to admit that we were referencing that but a song like ‘Backwards Berlin’ is almost ambient. It’s like the olive oil to the balsamic vinegar, if that makes sense.

If you could have anyone at all on the line up to play with you, who would you choose?
I’d definitely choose somebody younger. It’d either be that or I’d love to play with someone like Little Richard, such an electric vibe. It would have to be someone eccentric; I love eccentric people. Actually, maybe Marvin Gaye, that would be really cool.

What’s in the pipeline for Jagwar Ma?
Well, I guess it’s like any band at any point in their career: they’re either touring or making a record. You sort of just do those two things, and right now we’re touring but we’re also kind of in the very early stages of thinking about the next record. Jono and I were in the car the other day and he was sitting in the front making beats and I was pulling up songs and ideas and mind-mapping a tour. So, we’re kind of just peering over each other’s shoulders going “what are you doing?,” which has been pretty funny.

Also, I want put on this sick Sydney show after-party. We’ve been thinking about this place in Alexandria, but it is Alexandria, and Alexandria is kind of in the middle of nowhere. Hey now, I used to live in Alexandria. It’s not all bad! No it isn’t, it’s really cool, it’s really beautiful and I don’t think it’s in the middle of nowhere but I know people who do, which annoys me. What’s going to make it the best after-party ever? Heaps of stuff! Just really good DJs, really good sound system, no noise restrictions, our own cocktails, glow-sticks, cool people, decorations, lighting, palm fronds, dress codes. You know, things like that. People need to start clubs the way they do in Europe. Do it all properly for once. Put some budget into it. Sorry, I’m just ranting now. If we don’t do it at the cool Alexandria place, we’ll just have a big after-party at my parent’s house or something. My mum would love that (laughs).

Catch Jagwar Ma live on-stage across parts of the Australian east coast next week, including of course Splendour in the Grass. All Jagwar Ma tour details can be found here.

Now, cop a full stream of debut record Howlin’ right here or, head over to iTunes to purchase your very own digital copy. | |

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