Interview: The Jaguar Club

 Originally formed back in 2006, The Jaguar Club are back. With a new line up, including founding members William Popadic and Yoichiro Fujita, the band have returned on top form with the release of a new EP, and a number of tour dates.

Whilst retaining some of their original electronic, ’80s-inspired sound, The Jaguar Club’s new material has a much more ‘live band’ feel to it. While synths still flow throughout, the addition of pounding beats and catchy hooks adds a refreshing new energy to their sound.

We  caught up with the band to find out more.

Who are you and where are you from?
We’re called The Jaguar Club.  We’re primarily from New York City, except for me. I live in a small coastal Massachusetts town.  Specifically we are:
Will – vocals, guitars, synths
Yoi – bass, vocals
Nadia – keyboards, guitars, vocals
Gavin – guitars
Patrick – drums

What is the story behind the name, The Jaguar Club?
The band initially went through a few line-up changes and scrapped recordings before we finally settled on our first steady line-up, and during that time we could never decide on a name.  So, when the band finally solidified, we needed a name really fast so we could book shows and put something on the cover of our first EP.  It was pretty last minute.  Our original drummer came up with it after getting interested in car club designs, and I also played a Fender Jaguar guitar in those days which may have been a factor.  I remember him calling me while I was at a county fair and not completely hating the name, so that’s what we became.  We have had some pretty questionable band names in our collective history – The Finer Things, The Huxtable Residence, etc…  Naming bands is not our strong suit.

 What is it like to write and play music where you’re from?
The Brooklyn music scene is very overcrowded and very competitive, but for those same reasons it’s an exciting place for the band to be based. For us, the big challenge is that I live 300 miles away from the rest of the band now, near Boston, so it forces us to work in short intense chunks of time when we’re actually all in the same place. When we can’t be physically together we send song ideas back and forth via the Internet and engage in ridiculous group text message conversations and email chains in order to make the simplest decisions. We’ve gotten used to it over time. I’m always the one travelling back and forth, which I complain endlessly about.  It is nice when we do manage to get together in a room and a play though, and when the shows are good I tend to forget my grievances.

Tell us about your latest EP, Close.
Close is our first release as The Jaguar Club in five years, so we knew it had to be good. It’s really a sort of fresh start for us, with a drastically altered line-up and some new elements to our sound.  Yoi, Nadia, and I had been making electronic pop for a few years, so when we decided to make a rock record as The Jaguar Club we really wanted to focus on capturing the collective band sound. I made frequent trips down to NY and the five of us sweated it out and arranged the songs together and did a lot of work before we ever got to the studio. When we did get in the studio we recorded the vast majority of it live with minimal overdubs, so worked quickly. It was produced by our pal Nick Stumpf, who was in French Kicks, and has produced some great records for Caveman and others.

What is the video for ‘Stringer’ about, and will there be more to come from this EP?
The ‘Stringer’ video was directed by Manny Nomikos, who’s a musician and filmmaker in New York that we’ve known for a long time. He’s always been a big supporter of the band so we were happy to give him free reign to make the video that he saw in his head. We spent a weekend together on Long Island in New York filming it. We especially enjoyed the whiskey soaked bonfire shoot as it was still pretty cold out. I like that it feels like sort of an abstract short movie that we happen to be in and happens to be set to our song, semi-narrative and just sort of odd.

We’ve got another video coming for a track called ‘Hard Cider’ off of the EP.  That will be released this summer and is an animated affair, being made very slowly by yours truly. The ‘Stringer’ video is actually the first one of ours that we didn’t make ourselves. There are two film school grads in the band, so we like to get our hands dirty.

Will we be seeing you in the UK soon?
Yes! We’re very excited to be headed your way in October. We’ll be playing a new festival in Bognor Regis called Rockaway Beach as well as other dates around the country. We’re still putting the tour together, so keep an eye out!

Huge thanks to The Jaguar Club for answering our questions! 

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.