Interview – Max Bianco of The Jar Family

The Jar Family (12)
The Jar Family are apparently influenced by a lot of things, but they are not ‘Industrial Folk’, as they were (previously) described as on their Facebook page. Instead, it is largely their image which is industrial, with the band choosing to perform onstage in full neo-Dickensian cloth. Their music takes from traditional folk, but their heavier sound and penchant for guitar solos also puts them in the ring with Blue Öyster Cult.

We interviewed Max, their jack of all trades frontman, to find out more about his eclectic band.

This is ahead of their upcoming gig at the John Peel Centre on Friday 3rd June, tickets still available via the Box Office: 01449 774 678 / We Got Tickets:

Lottie: So Max, what’s your role in the band?

Max: Me? I’ve got quite a few! I’m a songwriter, guitar player, harmonica player, frontman.

Lottie: And the other members of your band are also songwriters.

Max: Four of us are, yeah.

Lottie: How does this work out, are there any conflicts?

Max: No, not really. When we jam songs and stuff, someone’ll bring in an idea and they’ll play it for us. And then we just jump on board and see what we can do with it.

Lottie: You describe yourselves as ‘Industrial Folk’—

Max: No!

Lottie: Oh, you don’t – OK!

Max: Somebody else did that.

Lottie: Do you know why they might have said that, any reason why they might have given you that label?

Max: I think it’s because a few of our songs could be classed as ‘folk’, nowadays. Just acoustic, harmonicas and stuff. But actually a few of them are quite heavy. I think the whole folk label thing was just a way to make it easier to get us into folk festivals.

Lottie: Folk is quite a broad term that covers a lot of music. What kinds of folk do you typically listen to?

Max: Quite a lot actually… traditional. I’ve personally written a couple of songs that use traditional folk music, like the old folk singers used to do. Yeah, we listen to quite a wide range of music really.

Lottie: And some background on your most recent release?

Max: The album? We sort of rewrote some of our old tracks, because we started to use more instruments. We’ve got a few new ones on there as well. It was recorded in Wales, with Rupert Christie. He’s worked with Bellowhead… he’s done a lot of stuff actually. He’s got a studio that those big artists have recorded – Queen.

Lottie: Wow!

Max: Yeah we quite enjoyed ourselves. It was sunny, so it was horrible being indoors!

Lottie: So you’re on tour obviously at the moment and you’re coming to the John Peel Centre next month. What would you say has been the best gig on the tour?

Max: Er, probably Saturday night. We played Shire Hall. We’d played there once before, but every night we play more and more people turn up. A standing ovation, we always get. Everyone just seems to go mad for us. So that’s been a big highlight this year.

Last year we put our first festival on, called ‘We Are Family’. We’re going to be putting that on again this year, 10th September. Nothing final’s been confirmed yet, it’s just something for people to keep an eye out for.