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April 2020

Mr Jukes: "I feel a great sense of freedom"

Jack Steadman has cast off his band shackles and is going it alone.
Published: 9:08 am, June 07, 2017
Mr Jukes: "I feel a great sense of freedom"
Jack Steadman has launched his first solo project since Bombay Bicycle Club disbanded last year - and it's a wee bit different. Under the name Mr Jukes, he's teamed up with a number of collaborators (watch this space) for an album that's set to land this summer.

Hey Jack, how're things? Is life treating you well?
Life is good. I'm in Little Poland in New York mixing the final few songs of the album and eating lots of pierogis.

You’ve just launched your first solo project - what prompted you to go it alone?
The desire to write songs that didn't need to have certain instruments on them due to the structure of the band performing them.

Did Mr Jukes arrive fully formed, or was there a process of figuring out what you wanted it to be?
To be honest, I never envisaged having so many features on the album. But I kept writing songs that, in my opinion, my voice would not do justice. Once I realised that my daydreams about different singers on different songs could sometimes become reality, I became quite intoxicated with that idea.

When did you start putting together ‘God First’? Was there any overlap with Bombay Bicycle Club?
The actual writing process didn't start until the break with the band, but you can certainly hear hints of the project if you look back at things like our last Live Lounge cover (full of horns and Fela stylings) and the more sample-heavy songs on our last album.

Your lead single ‘Angels/Your Love’ features BJ The Chicago Kid - are there many collaborations across the record? How did you decide who to approach?
There are many collaborations, yes! I just kept imagining different voices on different songs. But also it's important to maintain that dynamic of bouncing ideas around with people. If you go from being in a band to being completely isolated, it's not only less fun, but it can also carry the risk of becoming rather self-indulgent.

Is this album a one-off for you, or the start of something bigger? What are your ambitions for Mr Jukes?
I don't think this is going to be a one-off. I imagine myself touring this record and then writing a similar one but replacing the samples with the musicians I've been touring with.

Have you figured out how you’re going to perform your new material live yet?
I've just put a ten-piece band together, and we're going into rehearsals in a few weeks. I'm really excited for the songs to become more malleable and more direct in their message. My favourite part of touring with Bombay was when we had to play small sessions with no electronics, and the songs had to be reinterpreted and stripped back. I hope to do a similar thing with this show. Get to the essence of the songs with live instrumentation.

Are there any other styles of music, outside of Bombay and Mr Jukes, that you’d really like to explore?
I feel a great sense of freedom with this new project. When you're crate-digging and sampling, you are really exploring an eclectic mix of music. I'd love to re-interpret something like Stravinsky's The Firebird with the live band, maybe as an introduction to the set.

Do you have big plans for over the summer?
Releasing the album! It comes out 14th July!

Taken from the June issue of Dork, out now.

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