The Jaded Hearts Club on egos, the label of “supergroup” and plans for more new music

Graham Coxon, Miles Kane, Nic Cester and co tell NME about working with Matt Bellamy and how they've come together as the starriest Northern Soul covers band around.

The Jaded Hearts Club started out as a Beatles covers band at a birthday party for their mate Jamie Davis, a guitarist who ran Graham Coxon‘s record label Transcopic.

Having too much fun to stop, Graham, Jamie, Miles Kane, Jet singer Nic Cester, The Zutons drummer Sean Payne and Muse‘s Matt Bellamy (acting as producer and bassist) have progressed to covering lost Northern Soul classics for an album, ‘You’ve Always Been Here’.

NME met a few of the Hearts to hear how they’re swerving supergroup cliches, avoiding ego clashes and sweating through leather.

Let’s get this out of the way: How do you feel about being a supergroup?

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Sean: “It’s not something you can call yourself. We are a group and we’re all super people, I guess.”

Jamie: “Supergroups have got a bad reputation for massive egos and not sticking it out. We try to treat The Jaded Hearts Club like a new band who will continue. We are officially what a supergroup is, but we’re trying to stay away from those associations as much as possible, by playing gigs and making music as often as we can.”

Graham: “I’d love to know when it supposedly became a bad thing. Did Cream and Blind Faith get called supergroups?”

What do you get from The Jaded Hearts Club that you haven’t had before in other bands?

Sean: “There’s no bullshit or head games. It’s simple: Turn up, play, have a laugh.”

Nic: “That’s what you get into a band for, but it gets away from that pretty quickly. In Jaded Hearts, you’re quickly aware how talented everyone is. You have to bring your A-game.”

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Graham: “I like it because it’s a laugh. I still have a responsibility when it comes to live shows, but I can be happy on my side of the stage, watching over and seeing everyone else absolutely having it.”

Miles: “Being back in a band is great. I’ve enjoyed the humour of interacting with a band again.”

Graham: “We’ve all been involved in good stuff before, but it’s been nice to get to know the human beings behind it. It’s a lovely way of thrashing about with instruments, basically. I’d been missing that. Doing the soundtrack for The End Of The F***ing World was great, but I’d been grumpily thinking ‘Whatever happened to bands? Why aren’t we all on the road anymore?’ This scratches that itch really well.”

Sean: “It certainly does. I didn’t know it was possible to sweat through leather until I shared a stage with Graham.”

How did the band first get together?

Jamie: “I wanted to hire a Beatles band for my birthday. But then I saw how much they cost, plus they were all a bit naff. Then I thought, ‘Hold on, I know a few musicians…’ It was a eureka moment. I’d thought, ‘They’ll do me this one favour and it’ll be this one gig’. But, after the party, everyone was going, ‘That was really good, we should do this again’.

Sean: “When Jamie got us together, Matt’s name was thrown around the way you’d say ‘Well, I’ve asked my mum and she’s doing it’. I think Jamie did that to everyone: ‘Well, Matt Bellamy has said yes’. That first show for Jamie’s birthday was at a burlesque club, and it was such a fun night. Straight off, it felt a good group of people to be part of.”

How well did you know each other when the band started?

Miles: “I’ve known Sean for years. The Little Flames, a band I was in way back, had the same record label as The Zutons and we’d support them on tour.

Sean: “Me and Nic would cross paths, as my brother Howie was good mates with Jet. (Points at Graham) I don’t know him to this day. Who are you?”

Graham: “That’s because I’m an unsociable git. There’d be the odd festival or NME Awards night, where I’d shout over ‘Alright, mate?’ at the others.”

How have you avoided superstar ego clashes when making the album?

Jamie: “Everyone has a great sense of humour and no one takes themselves too seriously. Everyone comes with their own individual madness, which is multiplied when we get together. There’s a seriousness in getting the songs right – you can’t bluff your way through songs like these. It’s a bunch of mates doing it for the right reasons.”

Graham: “You’ve got to do the songs justice. We were totally serious about doing a good job on them, it wasn’t just a giggle.”

Nic: “I got to Matt’s studio in LA a bit later than everyone else. By the time I got there, the level was really high. There was no room for error.

Graham: “That was great for me, though. We’d already made the backing tracks, then Nic came in and smashed his way through these great soul numbers. You really have to commit, singing those songs, otherwise they fall flat. It was amazing to see Nic go at them. I was watching him, thinking ‘Fuuuck!'”

Miles: “I did my vocals remotely at home, singing them in the mirror. That was its own kind of fun.”

How did you go from being a Beatles covers band to taking on Northern Soul songs?

Graham: “I hadn’t known Matt’s taste in music, but he seems really into Northern Soul. Jamie has a tonne of favourites in that field too, so it was quick on what to focus on.”

Miles: “Jamie and Matt were great people to have in charge, going ‘Why don’t we try that?’ while being so enthusiastic and knowledgeable.”

Jamie: “Being a Beatles covers band was an easy excuse to get together. But, as it carried on, me and Matt discussed the concept of great songs that should have been hits. A lot of these songs either have very few plays on Spotify and Apple Music or they aren’t on there at all. We wanted something a little more serious, to give people a reason to come and see us.”

 

How did Matt Bellamy take on the producer’s role to marshal your talents together?

Sean: “Matt was exactly what I expected – you can’t do what he does without being bang on it for details.”

Graham: “He was great, because he has so much energy. Plus, Matt is incredibly forensic on editing and how things should sound. He helped make it a great experience.”

Nic: “Matt had built a home studio, so he was the natural choice. One benefit is that, unlike the rest of us, Matt doesn’t come from a retro background – Muse’s sound is very current.”

Jamie: “It was a privilege seeing Matt direct Graham on some guitar stuff. Graham is too great a guitarist to have a comfort zone, but seeing them work together was amazing. I wasn’t surprised Matt could do that, as he’s a very, very deep musician.”

Will The Jaded Hearts Club eventually write new songs?

Nic: “Everyone’s tastes are more or less aligned, so I’m sure it’s possible.”

Miles: “At this point, the next album will probably be more covers.”

Jamie: “Matt and I text each other every day with suggestions for other great lost songs, and we’ve easily got enough for volume two.”

Sean: “The way we’re doing it keeps any songwriting egos out of it. But I’m sure new songs will naturally fall into place. We need to watch The Traveling Wilburys documentary to see how they did it. Everyone wrote in that band, and they managed to kick the doors down straight away.”

What else have you been doing during lockdown?

Graham: I’ve done guitar on Bastille’s new single, but I’ve mainly been moving back to London. I’d done what I set out to do in LA, and I was getting anxious from too much driving. I liked LA’s social side, but that would happen about once every four months. I’m flipping English, aren’t I? I needed to get back to the UK and walk around some woods. I’ve been reacquainting myself with the lovely mossy and damp North London life. I kissed a lot of pavements when I got back.”

Sean: “I’ve been in lockdown with Dave (McCabe, Zutons singer), making a new Zutons album. We’ve got a good few tunes and that’ll be on the way soon. I think it’ll be our best record since the first one (2004’s ‘Who Killed…The Zutons?’) We’re all feeling inspired by the same things again. First time round, we’d gone down different paths by the end, but the fun is back.”

Nic: “I live in Milan, and it was difficult being in the first city in Europe to be locked down, watching it all happen in real time. It was hard to take in the gravity of it. I’ve made some beautiful videos of the balcony singing that’s popular in Italy, which has been a great moment of solidarity.”

Miles: “I’ve watched every episode of Masterchef ever and completed FIFA. I’ve written a few tunes, but I haven’t been that productive. It’s been more about watching Eddie Hearn videos on YouTube than reading War And Peace.”

The Jaded Hearts Club release debut album ‘You’ve Always Been Here’ is out on October 2.

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