Oxford has long been a prolific source of new music. All of a staggering quality given its size. At the heart of the community is Jonquil who's current members comprise musicians from Chad Valley and Solid Gold Dragons. Previous musicians also included what is now Trophy Wife. Confusing? Slightly. But it's the Blessing Force way. Oxford's community of artists, musicians and writers supporting each others' creative outputs, releasing music and curating events.
The current incarnation of Jonquil create blissfully up-beat pop culminating in an album that radiates sunshine, Point of Go, the title-track of which you can see performed live above. Released earlier this year, the band have since toured the US and delivered a couple of the strongest alt-pop singles of the year. The latest single, Run, you can also watch live in session for us below. Amazing Radio's Charlie Ashcroft caught up with the band at The Great Escape festival to chat about the album and the Oxford scene.
So you guys just came back from the USA, how was it?
Yeah, we had a big tour there, we were there for five weeks, doing SXSW and then onwards around the country. We're still kinda getting over that, though we've been back for a couple of weeks now! It's taken a while to readjust.
There's been lots of positive press over here about the new album 'Point of Go but how have the Americans taken to it?
We were amazed actually, the press was quite kind to us over there as well, where it went. People were driving for hours to come see us and they knew the songs. We were just the support band on the tour! There were quite a few people who had been waiting a few years to come and see us. It felt really good to play to new people.
You guys have been going for quite a while, was it good to finally get Point of Go out and about and tour it?
Yeah yeah, it's been a while coming, we started writing it over a year ago. It's been a while to get to this stage.
Yeah, I mean, the band's been through so many different phases and incarnations. This five-piece live set feels like the best live set we've ever done. And the songs lend themselves to a fun energetic live set better. We don't have to drop it back and play acoustic guitars like we used to.
A lot is made of the quality of talent coming out of Oxford, are you still surprised by how many decent bands/producers are coming out of that neck of the woods?
Yeah! I am genuinely surprised because it's such a small place. I don't think you can even compare Oxford to other places of a similar size in terms of the amount of music coming out of it. Especially in the last year and a half.
[The musicians are] all good mates of ours too, it's so small, everyone knows each other. Anyone who plays in a band that's not completely awful knows each other! It's tightly nit and a lot of people are in the same band, we share band members. It's a really nice environment to be making music. It makes us all work harder.
We've all known each other since school, or people have moved to Oxford for university and things. We're all getting a bit older and people are starting to use these things we've been doing as hobbies to set up businesses. People have set up their own studios or T-Shirt businesses. It's all a bit more tangible now we're all a little older and more capable. We're not just a bunch of kids messing around!
Lastly, any names we should be looking out for?
The new Blessing Force things are Motherhood and Big Cosmos. They're the new names. Neither are actually based in Oxford but they're Oxford homeboys! Part of the gang. There's also a very very new band called Limbo Kids that's on the horizon.
And there's Trophy Wife's new album, which is sounding great!