How did ‘Shoot the Director’ begin?
Jamie: James (lead vocals) started off in a band called ‘The Recruits’ doing pop covers in 2006. He got me (guitar) and later Matt (Drums) involved when we decided in the back of a school choir rehearsal (rock n’ roll right?) that we actually wanted to write our own songs that involved the use of an overdrive button. It kind of went from there – we’ll see what happens.
How long have you been together?
James: Our first gig was in November 2008 at Bowes Lyon to about 20 people. The crowds have grown a bit since then and we’ve been doing more serious gigging for the past couple of years. We’ve probably played together in some sense for a bit longer than that but never in a formal kind of way – more just to kill some free time!
If you could, how would you want to change the world?
Jamie: I think more people should drink Irn Bru, it’s better than coke and usually cheaper. I guess the ultimate goal would be to stop conflicts, disease and terrorism but we know our limits! I’d just like it if people can listen to one or two of our tunes and relate to it in some way, maybe it could help them through a tough time or something. It’d be nice to know that a song we’ve created could do that.
What other bands are you influenced by?
James: Lots of ABBA. And Queen. And more ABBA. The other guys are into jazz and metal (Charlie Parker and Tool!), bands like Muse and Radiohead are mutual likes of ours We hope this eclectic mix shines through in the songs. Or that’s what we’d like to think anyway.
Could you sum yourselves up in 3 words?
Jamie: Not really, no.
James: Playstation, pessimisim, pints.
Where is your favourite place to play?
Jamie: We did a really cool gig in the Monto Water Rats in Camden. It was a really mixed crowd and pretty cool knowing that Bob Dylan had played on the same stage, albeit 40-odd years ago. In a nerdier way, the drums sound awesome there aswell!
James: The Arts Centre above the Three Magnets in Letchworth was my favourite place to play. I remember doing my first solo gig with a guitar there when I was 14, coming back 3 years later with the band was a nostalgia trip and a half.
Do you get a lot of female attention?
James: You could say that.
Jamie: I couldn’t.
What’s the craziest gig you’ve ever done?
James: We played a ‘dry’ gig at a youth centre which was pretty crazy. Firstly, we thought nobody would turn up, I remember going into McDonald’s with the guys writing a last minute setlist full of B-side type tracks and half-rehearsed covers and then returning to the venue and hearing a massive crowd of people waiting to get in. As we walked past the surprisingly large queue we noticed people getting frisked for alcohol by staff. It turned out that half the crowd were sniffing illegal substances in the toilets of the venue regardless. Let’s just say Jamie had an enthusiastic little mosh pit in front of him…
If you could play with anyone who would it be?
James: Hayley Williams. Nuff said.
Jamie: I don’t know to be honest, the list is endless. In terms of guitarists, it’d be amazing to play with Jimmy Page from Led Zep or Muse’s Matt Bellamy but I couldn’t pass up the chance to play with some Jazz greats like Charlie Parker or Miles Davis. It seems odd, but I reckon we could make it work – they were pretty open minded guys! I suppose people like Mozart or Beethoven did a lot for music but I don’t like their haircuts.
If you could only get one song heard by the whole world, what would it be?
Jamie: There’s this new song called ‘Beautiful Broken’ that is really fun to play. It’s essentially this really big rock tune with a huge riff, but at the same time quite touching lyrics. It’s about how, even when people are in the lowest or most vulnerable state, they are still themselves – and should hold on to that. We haven’t recorded it yet but it kind of sums us up I suppose – rocky and fun, but hopefully with a sentiment that people can grab on to. We live in hope eh?
Apart from other bands what influences you?
Jamie: It sounds pretentious, but I like to take the things that people see as normal and attempt to turn them into the poetic or creative, even if it’s just a tune about two drunk people doing things they may regret the following morning.
If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them?
Jamie: I’d like to meet JFK and tell him to duck.
James: I feel as if I should talk about someone really famous or historically significant, but truth is I don’t really believe in idolising individuals…however I would relish the oppurtunity to meet some current high-flying bankers. Words wouldn’t necessarily be exchanged.
What’s the best thing about your band?
James: It’s subjective, come to a gig and you can judge for yourselves! Honestly though, I think our best thing is the vocal harmony which I feel is lacking from a lot of groups of our age and style. It’s a fantastic stimulus to gel as a group of performers – as pretentious as that sounds.
Are any of your songs based on personal experiences?
Jamie: Quite a lot of them in some way or other. I tend to do the lyrics and find it hard to make words sound genuine if I’m not drawing them from a personal experience or somebody that I know. Often the final track is quite far removed from what inspired it in the first place but, when we play it,the link is still there in the back of my head. I’ve written a few songs that are very specifically about certain individuals and it’s quite a good way of venting stuff you may normally keep locked up inside, but in a way that other people can enjoy.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Jamie: Some drunk guy said something to me about balls once but I can’t quite recall what it was. Maybe it wasn’t too valuable after all…
Anything you want to mention to the people who may not have heard of you?
James: We do realise that our name abbreviates badly.
Jamie: Come along to a gig and check out what we do – then make up your mind. I have a pedal that sounds like an octupus, if that isn’t worth a gig ticket then I don’t know what is!