Jim Reid talks brotherly love and hate, the problem with modern guitar music and their new album 'Damage & Joy'
The Jesus & Mary Chain‘s Jim Reid has revealed how their new album was inspired by his relationship with brother William, and how he feels there’s ‘no place in the world’ for them.
This week saw the release of the band’s seventh album and their first in 18 years with ‘Damage & Joy‘. As well as taking aim at the ‘limping’ state of modern guitar music, Reid reveals that his relationship with William is as volatile as other – but there’s as much love as there is hate. Read our full interview with Jim Reid below
How did you come to decide to make a new album?
“The idea of doing a new record has been knocking about for a bit now. We got back together in 2007 and it was talked about then – we kinda bickered, William and I, about how to record it and where to record it, and that kinda dragged on a bit. It all got shoved onto the back burner, then in the last couple of years we realised we were kinda in agreement, strangely enough, about the mechanics of how to approach it, so hey presto.”
Was it tricky trying to second guess what people might want from it, or know what The Jesus & Mary Chain should sound like in 2017?
“It’s never tricky with stuff like that. We’ve never made records for other people. We’ve only ever made records for ourselves. We want people to buy it, I don’t deny that, but if you start making records for your fans, you’re fucked, basically. The Mary Chain were never about that and the Mary Chain never will be about that. It’s natural, you don’t over-think it, you start doing that and you’re fucked as well. It’s a pretty natural process, you’ve got a bunch of songs – it’d be a bit much if we came out with a kind of jazz reggae fusion, we know what the framework of the Mary Chain should be about, we just wanted to make a damn good Mary Chain and that’s what I think we’ve done. We like to make records where all of the tracks could be a stand-alone single, there’s no fillers on this record.”
Where did you record?
“We recorded with Youth. It was the first time we’ve really used a producer, so that was a new experience. The bulk of it we recorded at Youth’s studio in Spain. It took a couple of months but it was scattered around the place over the period of a year. We grabbed a couple of weeks here and there. We had it all done before we hit the studio, we never really write in the studio. It’s stuff we’ve had knocking around. Some of it has been released under different names or whatever that we’ve re-recorded, some of it is new stuff, it’s just a bunch of stuff we had lying around that we wanted people to hear.”
The album includes ‘All Things Must Pass’, originally released in 2008, which seems to be about a crippling fear of death – is that a running theme?
“I think it’s just my brother’s state of mind and how he sees the world, I don’t think it’s particularly about death. The theme with any Mary Chain record is always me and my brother and how we see our place in the world, or the fact that there is no place in the world for us, generally.”
Hence the line on ‘Facing Up To The Facts’, “I hate my brother and he hates me”?
“It’s pretty well documented that we’ve had a few run-ins through the years. There’s a lot of love and there’s a lot of hate. It’s part of the dynamic of what makes the band tick. It’s the engine of The Jesus & Mary Chain. There’s a lot of anger and aggression and these fights boil over. It’s what makes the band go, so it’s all fair game, you can sing about that.”
How did Sky Ferreira end up guesting on ‘The Two Of Us’?
“We had a couple of songs that we thought were going to work as duets and we were looking for someone to do those songs. Bobby suggested Sky and we liked the idea, so we gave it a try. We’ve got Isabel Campbell doing a couple of tunes as well and William’s girlfriend Bernadette doing a song.”
What do you think of the current state of guitar music?
“There’s not much of guitar music left at the moment, I don’t hear many guitar bands out there. It’s kinda pushed underground, guitar music seems to be limping at the moment. You can’t tell the difference now between a pop act and a rock band, the production makes them almost identical.”
The Jesus & Mary Chain’s upcoming UK are Ireland tour dates are below.
Wed March 29 2017 – O2 Academy, Bristol
Fri March 31 2017 – O2 Institute, Birmingham
Sat April 01 2017 – O2 Academy, Bournemouth
Sun April 02 2017 – O2 Academy, Oxford
Mon April 03 2017 – Junction 1, Cambridge
Wed April 05 2017 – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Thu April 06 2017 – De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea
Fri April 07 2017 – Academy, Dublin