Thinking of Jet the first thing that probably springs to mind is their hit single 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl?', but much has changed since their debut in 2003. Today they're three albums down the line, the latest of which (2009's 'Shaka Rock') boldly took them down the independent release route. In their native Australia lead single 'She's A Genius' was certified gold, and featured a hell-raising bicycle riding wookie in its video. So far, apart from Australian and foreign festival dates, their only planned UK appearance is a one-off gig at London's Shepherds Bush O2 on 18th July. Ahead of this sold out show we were able to speak with their lead guitarist, Cameron Muncey.
A lot of the band are hitting thirty years old now, how do you feel about that?
Well I don't care about the others, I just deal with my own thing! I'm happy about it, still kicking and screaming. You see I had a good time in my twenties. I'm still waiting to gain wisdom, but so far that hasn't happened yet.
Where would you hope to be in, say, ten years time?
Oh, I don't know. I guess having my own place by the sea, just living by the sea. I grew up by the water so sometimes I miss it. I live in London now and living in London can get boring after a while. Anyway I've got ten years to decide haven't I?
You've changed record labels a few times, are you settled yet?
Yeah, we're settled, we're happy. I mean we're not really on a record company now – EMI does the distribution, but we're in control. The way it's [the record industry] changing so much you wonder if you'd be staying on a sinking ship, with the corporate stuff. Like shareholders – if you're a big shareholder then you'd have a say. It's a lottery, you have to trust the people you're working with. Like when you're doing well everyone's your friend, then you have a cool period and they all disappear, and you're there saying, “Hey, where have you all gone?” I guess they have to get their quarterly reports for sales, so it's not always their fault, it's very cynical. It's exciting being on an independent though.
Do you think your next album will be as long in the making as the last two? If you're thinking of doing another yet, that is.
I'm not sure about that yet, we haven't really thought about it. We've still got side projects, we're still writing like always. Since we co-produced the last album 'Shaka Rock' we've got more confidence about our music and stuff.
What kind of side projects?
Well we've had The Wrights and stuff like that. Nic's doing something with an old friend of his in Melbourne. Don't ask me about that because I have no idea what they're doing! Chris, our drummer, is doing some things with his cousin. I'm doing my own thing – I'm just enjoying the time off, you know? I might go back to school actually, it's been a long time
Some see 'Shine On' as your weakest album, would you agree?
Really I don't listen to any of our records. I mean, looking back I would change some things, there was a real rush to put it out. We were on the road so long [before recording 'Shine On'], our management would tell us they had a gig booked six months ahead for £100, 000, and we'd never seen money like that before. Of course we were like, “Yeah, yeah!” In the end we'd been touring two years, then we started panicking, saying “Shit it's been two years, we have to put a record out!” It took eight months to get the thing out after it was finished – there were some mixing issues… but it was a tough record. It was very emotional, with the death of Nic and Chris' dad, a lot of stuff was going on. The whole thing felt really surreal, and when you have an approach like that it's going to affect the sound of the record. It was arduous, I would say it was our most difficult record.
Do you take criticism on board, or turn a blind eye to it?
Well we've had some over the years! I don't read everything, but someone else will always tell you about it. Like they'll start off saying, 'they're good BUT', and it's that BUT part every time. Yeah, we've had a few ribbings (is that the right word, the word you use?), but I guess you get used to it eventually. They have the powers to be really insulting though, you know what I mean? It's difficult in the beginning [of your career], especially when they start off praising you all the time.
What do you think about bands that only tour in their home territory?
That's however they like to live their lives, I can't tell them what to do. There's people who could've toured all over but they chose family over their careers. There's always two sides pulling you. I know that with Australians, English and Americans they can have a set area to tour. Like all the English speakers tour the English speaking countries so they have that option. There are so many weird countries out there that don't get visited. Yeah, like not everyone goes to Japan. I don't know if they'd want to hear records in English, because they just speak Japanese, they'd mainly just buy Japanese records. It's a big world out there. I hope I answered your question.
Do you think that Nic's vocal nodules have altered the sound of his voice or his capabilities?
I don't think so, I think his voice is as strong as it has ever been. He's got a very powerful voice, it can be really aggressive. In the beginning we'd do a forty-five minute set, but now we do one and a half hour sets, and that's hard going. In our shows we can go from a ballad to a rocker and that isn't easy on the voice, but he can do it. Of course I'm always worrying about it. To be honest I think it's more to do with living unhealthily. Nic still pushes himself, he really screams it out – 'til he sees the stars and falls over backwards! He's like a masochist, almost.
What's the worst interview you've ever had?
So many, so many. A lot of those strange internet things, fanzines by kids who own their own website. See the record label thinks that's how reach out to the kids, so they get you to do it. They can be so awkward because the kids [the interviewers] don't know what they're doing, you feel silly.
What kind of questions do they ask that are particularly bad?
Erm, I don't know, I can't really remember. We get a lot of groupie questions, they're pretty bad. I'm married so I don't do the groupie thing! Normally it's bringing up all these clichés, which are just ridiculous. Particularly in the US, there's these US DJs who want to vicariously go through all your past exploits. It's like, [puts on stereotypical American accent] “Hey, what you been doing with the girls lately?”
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