Article by Scott Hammond-
Though based in London, progressive pop 4 piece Jingo are very much a band whose inception lay within the bright lights of The Big Apple. Born out of two friends’ intrepid decision to embark upon a spontaneous Summer of music in New York City, a subsequent falling in love and the galvanisation of a community of like-minded souls, the quartet has experienced an eventful seven months since officially forming in February 2013. With five singles already released, a debut gig as support for Blur’s Graham Coxon and a feature on the band soon to be appearing in FHM, it is definitely an exciting time to be in a band by the name of Jingo.
The story begins when Jack Buckett (Guitar/Vocals) first met Joseph Reeves (Drums) at the time just when the former was entertaining romantic notions of going on an adventure and playing music in New York: “Joe was just out of a job, looking for a new band and loved New York so it was a no brainer,” Jack tells me. “We went out and just had the most wonderful summer in Brooklyn meeting new artists on a daily basis, artists better than we’d ever seen, and with an attitude towards community and making music that we had never really experienced before.”
Originally playing as a duo under the name of Third Cortez, it was during this period that destiny brought forth a transatlantic affair of the heart and Jack met and fell in love with American girl Katie Ng. Inspiring him “beyond measure,” Jack and Katie spent the next year travelling back and forth between the UK and New York before getting married and settling in London. Jack and Joe’s two man project was then dismantled but with Mrs Buckett now on board and armed with considerable vocal and keyboard talents, the path to what was to become Jingo clearly lay ahead: “After Jack and I got married and the disbanding of Third Cortez, it was almost a natural progression to form this band,” says Katie. “We know each other so well musically and otherwise.”
Inspired by the sense of community and proclivity to unearth local talent gems during Katie’s time running an open mic night in a warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Mr and Mrs Buckett decided to run a sister open mic session called Cable Street Electric in Limestone, London. It’s during one of these Monday night sessions that songwriter Sahil Batra walked through the door and subsequently impressed with his musical abilities. Recruiting him as the 4th member of the band, Batra became the final piece in the Jingo Jigsaw although Katie offers the concession that “Sahil is a singer/songwriter and pianist who we sort of forced to pick up the bass when he joined.”
The full formation of the band now in place, things then started moving at breakneck speed. For a London group just starting out, a debut gig appearing on the same bill as Graham Coxon is certainly not something that could be described as orthodox. So how does one achieve the coup of appearing alongside the Britpop guitar legend for a very first public performance? “Every once in a while, as well as the open mic night, we do charity gigs at another space,” Jack explains. “The first one we did was at Mother London advertising agency in Shoreditch. To cut a long story short they loved the night and subsequently asked Katie, myself and a few other awesome acts from our night to come back for their next charity night whereby it would be just us guys and Graham Coxon. Timing was on our side; we told them we had a new band and asked if we could play as Jingo.”
Certainly an unconventionally illustrious start for a new band, Jingo’s decision to launch their career together with two debut singles is similarly atypical; “As Katie previously mentioned, it was a very natural process putting this band together and as a result songs started flowing very quickly,” Jack informs me. “It quickly became very important that we were able to introduce ourselves to everybody in more than just a live format so I taught myself how to engineer, mix and produce and we got the first three ‘complete’ tracks down right away. I guess I feel that too few young bands put enough focus on how they sound within the comfort of people’s homes as well as how they do on stage.”
With the duel release of “1Q84″ along with “Same Without You”, one is presented with early evidence of the eclecticism of their songs. The muted guitar chops of the former track’s bridge herald in an energetic and mischievous power pop chorus while the gentle piano intro and brooding, heartbroken lyrics of the latter provides a clearly disparate sound. This diversity is never more transparent though when listening to later release “The Matador”. Beginning with a heavily latin/flamenco flavoured guitar intro and instrumental breaks throughout, it also contains rushes of fuzzy Jack White-esque electric guitar at the choruses. The music is almost innovative in its variety.
So, what of this eclectic approach? “We are all avid listeners to a range of different music so I think is just a product of that really,” answers Katie, “Matador’s Spanishy melody actually came to Jack while he was in China, 1Q84 was essentially an initial jam, and a lot of others were songs of mine before we all met.” Joe chimes in with his assenting view that “A song will sometimes evolve over many months until it sounds right. Nothing is ever set in stone though, even if we’ve already recorded something, it never hurts to try out a new direction if it seems right.”
Despite this varied approach and musical open-mindedness, one thing that remains consistent is the allure of Katie’s vocal. Compared with singers ranging from Bjork to Alison Mosshart, hers is a voice that at times sounds femininely delicate and subtly emotive while at others it is imbued with a near masculine power that soars when delivering some of the band’s anthemic choruses.
Having their songs mastered at Soup Studios, musical home to other talented cult indie acts such as Tigercats, Allo Darlin’ and The Wave Pictures, Jingo are clearly in good company and enjoying their surroundings: “Soup is great and all the guys who work in there are awesome,” Jack explains, “I highly recommend it and it’s particularly handy for us as we are studio neighbours. It’s where we get our mics from to record these tracks and also where all the mastering gets done. Every time I walk past their door, there is always great music being recorded in there.”
With the band’s approach to batch releasing singles in quick succession, “Black Flowers” and “Wake Up” were respectively Jingo’s 4th and 5th songs to be made public and latest release “Jaclyn” is their 6th single in just seven months (now available on Soundcloud, along with all of the group’s preceding tracks). So now they’ve reached the magic half dozen, how close is the band to the releasing of a debut album? “Once ‘Jaclyn’ is released we’ll go straight back into the studio to work on the next few songs,” says Jack. “With any luck we’ll release the final batch along with a full album next Spring. Katie is also a brilliant painter, so she will be doing all the artwork for the album.”
And brilliant she is. One should really check out Katie’s website (www.katiebuckett.com); I can say with honesty that, despite this amateur music journalist’s generally philistine indifference to art, her paintings really are utterly impressive.
So, with the wanderings of two friends with a shared peripatetic musical dream, an Anglo-American marriage, open mic nights in New York and East London, a rubbing of shoulders with a modern British guitar hero and six singles released in nearly as many months as the band’s existence, the story of Jingo so far has proven a heady but beautiful maelstrom for Jack, Katie, Joe and Sahil. If the group’s evolution continues at a similarly vertiginous pace who knows what adventures await them in 2014; I predict more great music and the success of which the band is deserved. And at the end of all that, hopefully a jolly good rest!
Find more about Jingo and links to listen to their music on their official Facebook page.