It was late last year that Simon Berkfinger, Dan W Sweat and MC Bad Genius kissed and made up. Philadelphia Grand Jury are back, and ready to hit the road around Australia, before heading over to Golden Retriever Studios in Berlin early next year to record their latest album.
We caught up with The Philly Jays to chat about getting back together, recording in Berlin, and what to expect from the forthcoming album.
What are you most excited about when you tour Australia?
Thai Food. I live in Berlin and it’s just not right here. It’s all been Germanified, which means bread and cheese and things. There is one place that does a Schnitzel Pad Thai…it’s not bad actually.
Will there be any special celebrations to commend Dan W Sweat graduating?
I am buying him 2 T-Shirts, to replace the ensemble of 4 free band shirts he has been wearing to death for the past 7 years. He’s like Peter Pan that kid.
How did the band form back together after time apart?
I think over time you forget about how annoying the other people are and all that’s left is the memory of how much fun it was to record and tour music. So eventually you ask the question why not? Then your manager swoops in and books you ten thousand things to do ‘cause he just wants sweet dollars. But seriously I think we have all done a lot of growing and we all have things we do other than playing in Philly Jays, so the idea of making music isn’t about making anything work except for the actual music, for us and the people that dug it in the first place.
Has time apart spurred you on more to create music?
I recently considered deleting over 200 songs that have made in the last 3 years and starting from scratch. So yeah I made a bit and it’s going to be hard to let go, but we aren’t looking back too much. The focus is on getting in a room together and having fun and seeing what sticks. I have a list of 10 song titles that I like and I was gonna stick that on the wall in the studio and then ask the guys to write songs to those titles.
What can fans expect from the new album?
The bits we have had a chance to work on have been darker than our previous output, but to be honest, we have no idea. We have 3 weeks in Berlin together and whatever happens in those 3 weeks will be the record. We are committed to doing something scary for us and everything differently, just to see what happens. I already have plans to do our 3rd one in San Francisco.
Has your song writing process altered approaching your new album?
I’ve tried everything and have come back to some basic truths about songs. When we made the first PGJ album I was very stubborn and I used to set myself and the other guys limitations and rules. I was an arsehole. Years of making other people’s records as a producer has made me all open minded and friendly, but it’s time for the return of the arsehole. The most important thing is that we like it. Or I like it, really.
What was the thought process behind recording your forthcoming record in Berlin?
Money. I own the studio and it’s got all the stuff we like. We are also bringing our friend Tim Whitten over to co produce, mostly because I want to learn more about vert skating from him. He was the shit on the early skate scene, flying about like Tony Hawk. I also think it’s going to be really funny to see those guys freeze their tits off. Hopefully it snows, as opposed to the icey melting snow, ‘is that a brown leaf or a dog shit?’ scenario we had last year.
Are your new tracks completed and all ready to record?
What is the plan for the band after the recording process is complete?
We promised all of these people we would play in their towns, so I guess we are doing that. Then San Francisco!
What is on the horizon in 2015?
I have a lot of records to make as a producer and a bunch will be coming out that I am really proud of, like the new Ducktails record. Philadelphia Grand Jury are gonna work super hard and hopefully I can pay off my credit card.
PHILADELPHIA GRAND JURY – The “Returns In November” Tour
SATURDAY 08 NOVEMBER – DING DONG LOUNGE, MELBOURNE VIC
w/ I, a Man & Sunbeam Sound Machine
Tickets from www.oztix.com.au
WEDNESDAY 12 NOVEMBER – BEACH ROAD HOTEL, BONDI NSW
THURSDAY 13 NOVEMBER – CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE NSW
Tickets from www.bigtix.com.au
FRIDAY 14 NOVEMBER – ALHAMBRA LOUNGE, BRISBANE QLD
Tickets from www.moshtix.com.au