British rock band J.O.S. are bringing rock back to the music industry, fusing their formal musical education with an eclectic blend of influences from such diverse bands as Guns N’ Roses, Fleetwood Mac, and Michael Jackson. Music Existence recently sat down with the London crew to talk about their history and inspirations.
- Tell us about how J.O.S. was formed: where did the idea initially form, how did you all meet, when did you decide to come together?
It was 2011, I was living in West London and received an email from TMS about some guy needing a drummer… so I applied with an email, expecting either a ‘not a chance’ or must have experience on seasoning with tons of other people. Wasn’t the case, had an audition with John and fell in love with the album and John, well we hit it right off- he’s one of my best friends. It went from a session project for John, to a full band with other great friends of mine within a year! We’ve had a few line-up changes, due to people (including me) moving outside of the M25, other commitments and whatnot and our former drummer Joe joining the Royal Marines. We’re incredibly lucky to have the line-up we do, David is an amazing guy and terrific drummer – a real gem… and Rosie, our wonderful, talented, musical guitarist. Meeting wise? I’ve got to thank Tech Music School for that.
In 2011 me and Anna recorded an album in East London, it was a lot of fun so we decided to turn into something more. Thankfully, Anna is friends with Rosie, who is an incredible guitarist, and her old flat mate Joe, who is also an amazing drummer. As Anna is a multi instrumentalist she switched to bass and Joe became our new drummer, and that’s kinda how J.O.S. began. Well that’s the short version at least. In 2014 Joe became a Royal Marine, so yet another amazing drummer friend of Anna’s, David Clarke, took over the reins.
I found John through Anna when she was originally our drummer. Anna and I went to the same music collage together, the idea had always been there, John had the image in his head for years it just took a long time to find all the right people!
- You list among your influences Guns N’ Roses, The Rolling Stones, and Nirvana. What do you take away from these fairly diverse sounds, and how do you apply them to create your unique tone and style?
The influences we list are the bands that inspire each individual member, even though we all love these bands they are particularly special to each person. So we are like a mesh of each of these bands, our unique sound came from finding the right balance between them and making it work.
Those bands got this raw, unpolished, human quality about them. I love that. It’s definitely an influence on us all. I’m not a major fan on over-producing music, making the music perfect. And I love that about J.O.S – it’s real.
We all have our individual tastes, but having these common influences gives J.O.S. a focal point, which allows us to center our different ideas on. Basically it allows us to mix things up without losing the band’s identity.
- You’re all formally trained musicians, how does that education shaped your sound?
This gives you the vocabulary in your music to be able to express yourself musically. Education not only teaches correct techniques, but opens your mind to explore other avenues and genres to influence your sound.
Education has helped us not to get RSI before the age of 35, that’s for sure. I’m in agreement with David… it’s certainly helped us become more versatile musicians, more knowledgeable in other styles and genres.
I think a music education effects your technique and professionalism more so than your sound. But studying music definitely opened my mind to loads of different styles that I think have left their mark on me. I think it’s made me a smoother, rounder player.
- What does the songwriting process look like for J.O.S.? What’s the starting point? When do you declare a track complete?
It’s strange one. The best songs come to you, they’re living and breathing and real. It’s very much a case of not getting in their way, as they are never complete, they are always growing.
You can take one rhythm, or note and go from there. I don’t think a track will ever finish as it were… it’s always in the pot for changes. Taking parts out, put them back in a different section, etc. It’s a never ending journey, it’s pretty exciting.
Songwriting is pretty much left down to John! He wrote a lifetimes worth of material before we even met haha
- You just released you self-titled EP, tell us the story behind the songs.
The J.O.S. EP is basically a compilation album. We’ve got about 8 albums written already, the songs we play live are the songs of those albums we felt went best together. The songs on the EP are the songs from our live set we felt would work best on a record.
A lot of different stories in those songs! Each song has its own meaning and although they have a specific meaning to us, I think every song has a unique meaning to the listener, I like people deciding what a song means to them. Such as “Get Up”, to John it was struggling with exam choices, but it can appeal to anyone struggling with any big decision.
- What can fans expect from J.O.S. over the next year?
Hopefully some exciting gigs and new music!
More music, and hopefully a new video. And I really hope we can do a tour!
Hopefully secure a proper management deal and do some touring if all goes well.
- Top 5 most impactful albums?
- Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
- Nirvana – Nevermind
- Radiohead – OK Computer
- Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
- The Beatles – White Album
Ooh hard one…
1) Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction
2) Aerosmith – Get A Grip
3) Micheal Jackson – Thriller
4) Pink Floyd – Dark side of the Moon
5) Deep Purple – Made in Japan
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Ice T – Home Invasion
- Queen – Greatest Hits Vol 1
- Gloria Estefan – Cuts Both Ways
- Skunk Anansie – Post Orgasmic Chill
- The Offspring – Smash
- Bad Religion – Stranger Than Fiction
- NOFX – Pump up the Valuum
- Pennywise – Land of the Free?
- Green Day – Insomniac
Check out and download FREE J.O.S. Self Titled EP:
From the heartland of The Rolling Stones, The Who, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Marshall Amps, and The Ealing Club comes J.O.S.
Formed in the birthplace of British rock in 2011, J.O.S. are a four piece band from Ealing, comprising of school friends John O’Shea, Rosie Botterill, Anna Thomas, and David Clark. Having faced insurmountable odds, this is a band that has seen it all and survived it all.
At the heart of this band is their unified belief, both in each other and the music they play. Lifelong Guns N’ Roses fans, this is a band that grew up in the heyday of Nirvana and Oasis, and remember a time when Rock music mattered not just to rock music fans, but to the world.