Thursday, 9 June 2011

K&A with Jacob Yates & the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers

It was only last October that Jacob Yates & the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers first grabbed my attention with Can't Stop, their split single with labelmates She's Hit.  I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been itching since then for a swatch of their debut album.  As luck would have it, a few weeks ago, without warning, Luck dropped through my letterbox.  

It's a difficult one to describe since it's quite different to anything else out there just now.  Think of it as a dark, dirty, and sometimes demented, House of the Rising Sun with a whole load of Glasgow charm thrown in for good measure.   Particularly on tracks like Mark, Mary Hell and the brilliantly-raucous new single Lemonade.   The album's not without it's quieter moments though, and for me it's on one of these, the retrospective closing track When You Left Me, that Jacob's gravelly, almost pained vocals and dry, dark humour steal the show.   It's well-and-truly up there with the year's best albums so far. 

With it's release pencilled in for the 20th of June, I thought I'd ask Jacob a few questions.  Here goes...

Kowalskiy: Who are Jacob Yates & The Pearly Gate Lock Pickers?
Jacob: Richard Holmes - guitars
Jamie Bolland - keys and guitars
Michael Bleazard - traps
Jacob Lovatt - vocals and guitars

Kowalskiy: How did the band get together and what's the story behind the name?
Jacob: I suppose it was my fault. I spoke to the guys and said I wanted a vehicle for my outpourings. They said yes and that made me happy as they're a rare bunch. The name came from nowhere as usual, I just took my mothers maiden name and the rest flowed out ma mouth.

Kowalskiy: For folk out there who may not be familiar with you, how would you describe your music?
Jacob: Doom Wop - that pretty much says it all.

Kowalskiy: Many may know you from now defunct Uncle John & Whitelock. Given the cult status and critical acclaim you achieved with them, do you feel under pressure to repeat the feat with The Pearly Gate Lock Pickers?
Jacob: No no pressure, I just want to make the music I like. Uncle John and Whitelock happened then, this is happening now. I deal with now.

Kowalskiy: After a few split singles with She's Hit, you're releasing your debut (and mightily impressive if you don't mind me saying) album Luck on RE:PEATER RECORDS. Is there a story behind it?
Jacob: I think with Stu and Emily from Green Door being an integral part of the recording and production process we distilled the album down to a succinct expression of what we do as a band. The lyrics move through observation, reportage, personal and metaphysical planes. The music backs that up.

Kowalskiy: You've painted quite a grim picture of Maryhill in your track Mary Hell. In fact, the album is a wee bit dark in places. Is that just what the place does to you?
Jacob: In that song I just despair at the human condition, I'm not poking fun at the people who live from tenner bag to tenner bag, I could have just have easily become addicted to heroin and downers. The sites you see in a city where a fifth of the population are treated for drug misuse break your heart. The song 'Dundee' sets a similar scene. That's one side of my songs the other is very black humour, it's the only way I cope. Glad you like the record.

Kowalskiy: The album's already picked up some really good reviews, something your live shows have always seemed to get. Can you describe for us what a typical Jacob Yates & The PGLPs gig is like?
Jacob: A typical show is the band under rehearsed, playing their hearts out trying to keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down. I might even give you a drink.

Kowalskiy: What would be your ideal gig?
Jacob: Junior Kimbrough's Juke Joint anytime before he died and it burnt down. I would have loved to have seen the man. I wouldn't have played jus got drunk and danced my skin off with all my friends. Then I would go home to my wonderful house, my beautiful wife and children, sit in my garden with me dog and think about how great all this wonder is.

Kowalskiy: Are there plans afoot to tour the album? Also, what can we expect from you in the future?
Jacob: No plans to tour, I'm 38, have a life that's outside my music. Album 2 is gonna be proper dark, no more humour jus the reality of man's inhumanity to man.

Kowalskiy: What other Scottish bands out there are you listening to?
Jacob: Adopted As Holograph, Tut Vu Vu, Matt Black and the Emulsions, Sleepy Jeff and the Bears, Slim Pickins and Shitty Sticks.

Kowalskiy: Anything you fancy adding??
Jacob: Please remember these are isolated incidents, things like murder, rape, torture and kidnap just don't happen every day, so don't let it keep you awake. Night night.

Sound advice that!

If you want my advice, you should get yourself a copy of Luck when it's out on the 20th.  In the meantime, have a listen to Lemonade below to quench your musical thirst!

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