Photo by Larry Heath
the AU review's Larry Heath caught up with 'lead drummer' Graham Serl and 'singer' Charlie Kerr from Vancouver Garage Pop wonders JPNSGRLS (pronounced: "Japanese Girls") during The Great Escape earlier this year to chat dreams coming true, sweat dripping from the ceiling, new material and hidden venues. Catching crowd surfers and other big... big things are on the horizon and they're waiting, arms open... read on!
Larry: Welcome to the Great Escape, the sun has actually come out at the end of an otherwise typically rainy Brighton day.
Charlie: It was funny, after our show and it was gorgeous out. But before we played it was so shitty.
Graham: It was like a hurricane of rain and wind directed at our faces as we were loading into this mystery hidden venue that no one could find.
C: It took us like an hour and a half.
Yeah me too - I almost missed your set entirely. The venue was packed though.
C: It was one of my favourite shows I've ever played.
G: Someone literally crowd surfed into Charlie's arms onstage, which is a first.
C: And then I crowd surfed pretty aggressively. There was a nice wave forming [Laughs].
It was pretty hot in there too.
C: Yeah, I started the show in a sweater and a jacket and pretty much by song two I was in a sleeveless shirt.
So I heard most of the set from outside because there was a line around the block and I couldn't get in till the end. The songs I heard though were mostly from the record, songs I was familiar with. Were there other newer songs in the set?
C: We played three originals that are gonna be on the next record.
What's status on new music?
C: Just writing and looking for producers. Hopefully we'll be getting to recording later this summer.
Is there a specific place or studio in mind, something on the bucket list?
C: There's a cool guy who wants to work with us from Seattle, so it would be pretty cool to record track in Seattle.
G: I've always wanted to record drums tracks at The Armory in Vancouver, it's got a famous drum room.
What makes it so famous?
G:It's just fucking huge and all the drums that come out of there sound really cool. It's about the best up there.
C: There was talk of maybe recording in Montreal and I think that would be so cool.
G: Just posting up in a flat in Montreal and going to the studio everyday, eating poutine...
Sounds amazing. Go out on the St Lawrence river in the morning...
C: Just kind of be, cultural [laughs].
What's the direction the new songs seem to be going?
C: I think there're going to be songs that are harder than we've ever done and also one or two that will be softer than we've ever done.
So heading off in two different directions?
C: I think it's going to be soulful and angry.
G: There's a couple of dancy ones too, "Girl From Another Dimension" has a pretty power, reggae tom line [imitates]. The songs are ending up pretty eclectic, like they're all over the map in terms of genre.
In theory that will change once more songs come along though?
C: Once again the record is going to be eclectic.
We last sat down in Singapore a little over a year ago, almost to the day. What have been some of the highlights in the last 12 months?
C: Yeah it's crazy cause I'm about to turn 24 in the UK and last time I saw you it was my birthday! CMJ in New York city, NXNE in Toronto...
G: Spain and Singapore... obviously the major highlight is this Europe/UK tour, it's a dream come true for all of us. We haven't had a bad show yet. We're calling it the no lemon tour. We all seem to know someone in each city too so it's kind of reunion each stop.
Tell us a bit about who you're touring with?
C: We got to play this really awesome surprise show with Dry The River in Amsterdam. We played for about 500 people and they were the nicest guys. We parties with them and they're just so rad. We also played 2 gigs with Turbo Wolf from the UK. They're really blowing up at the moment.
G: Cologne in Frankfurt, Germany.
C: And now we've got about 5 dates with Allusondrugs.
G: They are absolutely mental onstage. I swear to god the singer spat on the ceiling and 2 songs later it dripped down and he caught it in his mouth and spat it out into the crowd.
What are you guys looking forward to in the months ahead?
G: I'm really excited to get back into the studio I mean live shows are great but we get to do them so much It's really special going back into the studio. We have so much fun in there.
I mean it'll be different this time, You've learnt so much over the last couple of years. It's gonna be a more familiar experience I suppose.
C: Yeah and we've got some really cool Canadian shows when we get back as well.
Hopefully see you in Australia soon?
C: We almost came down for Bigsound last year. Fingers crossed for this year cause we've always wanted to.