The bristol based indie-soul band Dragonflies have just released their single ‘Moon’ on the Independent Charts. We have a chat with the minds behind the music Jake and Tom
Hi guys! How did you guys meet, and when did you decide, yeah let’s make some music together?
Jake: Me and Will (guitarist) have known each other since we were young, and decided to start playing music together just as an acoustic duo, doing a few open mics here and there. We started with covers, then wrote some of our own music.
Tom: I met Jake and Will at The Thunderbolt (local music venue) when they were playing. They mentioned they were looking for a rhythm section so they could form a band. I knew Willz (drummer) from various recording sessions and gigs where I had played with him, and Jake knew him from college. We arranged a rehearsal and things worked out.
Jake: Our first few songs came really quick. We seemed to work well as a band right from the start, bouncing ideas of each other.
What kinds of artists and sounds have influenced you in making music?
Jake: I think one of the best things about our band is that we all have different influences. It gives us a different sound. My favorite singer has always been Paul Rodgers from Free, but I listen to all sorts. I like a lot of 60’s soul and Motown, Stevie Wonder, Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye, that sort of stuff.
Tom; we are definitely eclectic. Will is into his blues-rock, Willz is into rock and I’m into everything! I think it makes it more interesting; combining influences is what makes artists and bands great.
Jake: We’re all willing to take in each other’s influences, which is why it works. The more we write together, the more we make space for each other’s sounds.
Your track Moon has been out for a while now, how was the reception for that? Can you take us through the creative process behind writing the tunes please?
Tom: The creative process was definitely fun on this track. I remember it well, it was a fast one. We had a rehearsal before a gig and Jake came in with some chords for the verse and chorus. We just built the track from there combining ideas. We actually played the song at the gig on the evening! I definitely enjoy being thrown in at the deep end sometimes like that. It makes us think and keeps us on our toes.
Jake: We recently released the song on The International Independent Charts online. It’s getting a good reception. Our fans seem to like it. I usually write the chords and lyrics, sometimes just a verse and chorus, and then we build the song as a band. Sometimes it’s quick and comes naturally, sometimes it take more time, but I’m pleased with what we’ve written so far, and they’ll be much more too come.
You’re playing the 02 Academy in Bristol soon, have you played there before, is this the biggest venue you’ve played? Have you got a favorite live venue?
Tom: I’ve played there twice and Willz has played there once before. It’s one of the best and biggest venues in Bristol so it is a privilege to play there. I do have a few favorites. The Thunderbolt is an amazing venue. I love it. It all depends on the crowd for me though. You can have the best PA, backstage area, rider etc., but if the crowd isn’t into it, it can make it the worst venue. There are no guarantees.
Jake: I’ve never played Bristol Academy before so it’s going to be a new experience for me. I actually work there as well, so it’ll be good to be on the stage rather than behind the bar. The Thunderbolt is always fun. It’s like our band home. We’ve also played a couple of festivals, which we’ve really enjoyed. Our music seems to be well suited to that atmosphere.
How are you guys managing to balance music and life? Where do you find the time to play and write?
Jake: It’s difficult. We’re all trying to balance our jobs, whilst trying to find time for practicing, writing and gigging. But we’re making it work. We always make sure we take time aside to write and keep improving.
Tom: We’ve come a long way; a year ago we were terrible. I think we will all admit that! But we put the work in, the songs are strong and the fan base is constantly building.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced getting to where you are now, and how have you overcome them?
Tom: There are constant challenges for a band; getting people to hear your music, come to your shows and spend a bit of money on merch so you can spend that money on improving the band. We promote our own shows, putting a lot of posters up in shops and cafes across Bristol so people know when we’re playing. It seems to pay off. Our last few shows have been amazing.
Jake: Yeah we try to promote our gigs as much as possible. We want people to hear our music so we know we have to put the effort in.
Could you give some advice to unsigned artists who are trying to make it in the music world?
Tom: Make music that you enjoy playing and don’t following fashion. There are far too many bands that do that these days and that is why you won’t see them around in a few years. If you look at most great bands who have stood the test of time, they have always made the music they have wanted to make, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, BB King. Sure they may have been influenced by the peers and what is around them. It’s hard not to be, but they’ve never done it to fit in.
Jake: Be original, but make sure people can understand what you’re trying to say. It’s hard work. First you have to write songs people want to hear; then you have to get those people to listen to it, come to your gigs, and follow your band. There’s so much competition at the moment but we’re pleased with how it’s going.
What’s the future got planned for Dragonflies?
Jake: We’re enjoying it at the moment. Let’s see where it can get us. We’re all grounded individuals, so we know we need to work hard to get to where we want to be. We will continue to gig around the UK. Dragonflies will be going back into the studio later this year to record our new songs, so listen out for them early next year.