At Live at Leeds at the end of last month we had the genuine honour of interviewing one of the highlight artists of the day Jordan Allen. After the release of 110 Ways to Make Things Better we’ve been huge fans of Jordan and his band and could not miss the opportunity to have a chat before they’re selling out the big venues. Here’s what the great man had to say..
So how was that set, Live at Leeds 2017?
Yeah was good mate, was really strange coming back somewhere I worked for two years to play a gig. It was strange because I went to uni in Leeds obviously and, I worked here for two years. I played here as a student loads as an acoustic artist. like my first few gigs were here and Brudenell as an acoustic artist then so strange to be back
When did you get the Live at Leeds gig confirmed then?
We got Dot to Dot and Live at Leeds at the same time. It was only a couple weeks ago that we found out that I was here actually so that was nice to find that out. It added a bit of extra spice actually; I played LAL by myself at the cockpit a few years ago and to be honest I was thinking it was the graveyard shift being late on but it was packed out, its just a great festival
How’s 2017 been for you so far?
Been a bit all over the shop really – playing with The Sherlocks, played to over 2000 people in Manchester. But you do those and play like the Academy in Liverpool then go back to playing other shows in a room of 30 people who’ve never heard you before like last night in Newcastle so it’s almost back to square one at times. I think its good for you though to have them, it’s hard doing them gigs.
How’s the reception been to the EP, 110 Ways to Make Things Better?
Great really, really good. We’re in the process of shooting the video for Rosie, getting that out and were just trying to get that out on daytime radio really. We’ve had a fair bit of play on 6 Music and Radio X on John Kennedy and Gordon Smart, so just trying to break the day time now to be honest. The reception Rosie’s got is amazing really, we put the EP out and there’s a lot of meaning behind the EP and Rosie is one that just had to go on. I lost my Dad in October, it was written really all about that. 110 Ways to Make Things Better with the lyrics, he was my biggest fan he was at every gig so it was sort of a tribute for him. Obviously it’s all in aid of the brain tumour charity. It’s gone really well though, it’s a good start for us, we have to crack on this year.
Any recording plans for 2017?
Gonna put Rosie out and then get back into the studio. We’ve got a lot of stuff ready, we played a few tonight actually. Got a lot of stuff over the summer, we’re still waiting for some big festivals to come in, At the moment we’ve got Dot to Dot then gonna push back for a headline tour in October. I’m actually moving back to Leeds to finish Uni so we’re gonna have to balance the band with that somehow.
Any highlights and lowlights so far?
Definitely, Sherlocks Tour doing the Albert Hall or Reading/Leeds. I’d say the low part is the time you’re not doing gigs. You go from playing to all them people then you’re just sat at home playing football manager. That’s the real low point. Even when we don’t have the greatest crowd it’s great and fun to do that. Like last night we clashed with Slaves which was hard, you learn from it and we’ll make it up for that not being the best gig.
How would you describe the sound of Jordan Allen in one sentence?
In one sentence? Fuck, how do you do that. I’d say, dirty, lyrical indie. I’ve been going through a really heavy garage stage at the moment actually. I grew up on Bowie and hip hop and then I love new bands I try to keep on top of everything. Our mates Pale White were playing yesterday but its so hard to keep on top of it to be honest. When we first started we got bracketed with like the Arctic Monkeys, and now we sound nothing like those now; I even got compared to Jake Bugg the first time I played Manchester which I don’t think I do at all. The new stuff is a lot darker too lyrically – that’s always been what I’ve wanted to do, like I love The Streets.
When did you decide to go with the band instead of solo?
About two years ago now, I had another band initially, Danny the guitarist was in it, we changed the bassist and drummer and that was only last year really. It’s been a year trying to adjust, you’ve gotta change peoples perception of you being a solo artist. People who saw me a few year ago probably be shocked now because it’ completely different. We got to the point it’d probably be worth changing the name but we can’t now really it’s too late.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
I’d just make it fucking easier. Especially trying to break on to radio. This Feeling are just starting a TV show which will be great. Indie is in a real popular phase and it’s getting harder to break through. Like Blossoms had to go really mainstream to breakthrough and its getting harder and harder to do that. I’ve got full faith in the bands though and ourselves so hopefully it’l kick on. Leeds and Manchester is just taking over as well which is ace.
Lastly, and thanks so much for your time, what’s top of your music bucket list?
Do you know what I really fancy? Coachella. That’d be sick, getting up with like Stevie Wonder. Tell you what I’d settle for, a nice collaboration with Skepta at Coachella, That’d be the one.