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Jetsam Isles

Jetsam Isles

Friday 28th October, 2011 9:16AM

Wellington trio Jetsam Isles are a band we've had our eye on for a little while now.  With a jetsetter in their midst it's been hard to pin them down but with two new EPs out and a show this weekend we pounced on them for an interview. Have a listen to new track 'Time Waster' and get to know this talented young outfit..

When and how did the band get together?

Matthew and Jessie were keen on doing stuff together but Jessie moved over to Europe before anything got started. While Matthew was waiting in Wellington for Jessie to return he met Ollie through a friend and they started making a melee in a sea side garage in Evans Bay. On Jessie’s return, Matthew handed her his guitar, and the three of us started making noise into an 8 track with a stream running under the power cords.

How’d you come up with the name/what does it mean?

Jetsam: In maritime law, flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict describe specific kinds of wreckage. Isles: Like what we geographical live on. We try to sound like isles made from jetsam. 

What initially inspired you to get into music? 

Distorted ideas and slap-back ideology. Seems like a great brief to create a soundtrack too whilst spinning our own twist on it.

Are there any bands/musicians particularly influential on you as a group? 

The early Dead C recordings are used as our quality benchmark. Can and Captain Beefheart for their improv nature. It's unpatriotic for us not to say the Flying Nun catalogue was influential along with all the usual’s and anything that was a first of its kind. Matthew has an obsession with Sublime Frequencies a record label that specialises in South East Asian psychedelia and other obscure recordings.

How has your sound progressed in the years since you started?

We haven’t been together for more than two years yet, with large breaking patches along the way. We have just managed to document our current sound through the release of the three EPs, now with a better knowledge of how to play together we can look at making new noises to pass off as songs. 

What music have you been enjoying lately?

St Vincent is a favourite, as is the new HTRK and PJ Harvey albums. The Kills are an A rotate for all of us and Mellow Grave on occasions. Plus a random 12" EP by a band called the Young Destroyers from California in the late 90's. Seriously awesome, pretty sure it's all they ever put out.

What do you guys get up to when you’re not making music?

We all work, keep a domestic life and enjoy living.

You released an EP late last year called Dirt Beats Noise Vol.1 – tell us a bit about this…

We record our practices and when we need skeleton song structures we go back to the 8 track and try and relearn what we came up with however many nights before. That is also the way we went about collecting songs for all 3 volumes of the Dirt Beats Noise digital EP series. The process often hinges on the magic of a captured moment which is never able to be replicated, while we also rely heavily on stumbling over and repeating words.

You look to have a follow up brewing...

We have two, Dirt Beats Noise Vol. 2 and Vol 3. are available now at  These have been in the making for almost half a year now, mainly because Jessie went overseas for a few months so we had to find ways of working around her absence. We were initially planning to do just one release, but then after trawling through the old recordings we realised that there were a lot of awesome tracks and sounds that we wanted to include. So with the amount of material we had we were able to release another volume. Volume 2 is a bit more melodic while still being quite lo-fi noise drone, while Volume 3 consists of our more trashy noise tracks. We also have a physical compilation in the works which we will be pressing in the next few weeks.

What’s your dream recording scenario?

A studio in the middle-of-nowhere, so that there is nobody to complain about the noise and no lights to block the stars, with friends somewhere in the background doing their own things but with us all meeting up at set meal times and BV sessions.

You’ve been on the live scene for a few years now, what have been some of your highlights?

Matthew falling off the stage and landing with his bass and microphone and stand in tow but managing not to stop playing or break anything - inappropriate footwear.

What shows have you got coming up?

Our next show is this Saturday 29 October 2011 at Happy with Driving and Dial Square. Further dates will be put up on our facebook page over the next few days. 

If you could support any musician/band around at the moment who would it be?

At the moment we are still struggling to support ourselves.

What else have you got coming up in the next few months?

Summer, trips to Texas, trips to Germany and the Hawkes Bay too. 

The state of music in NZ is....

Fractured, under paid and too far away from the rest of the world, so basically like the country as a whole.