Interview with Jamie Lailey

City Of Thieves

 After reviewing ‘’Beast Reality’’ from City Of Thieves, our promoter from PIAS asked if we were interested in doing an interview with vocalist Jamie Lailey. Of course I had to say yes, since I loved the album (yes, the CD has moved into my favourites)! We’ve talked about the new album, touring and musicians being diva’s, keep on reading to find out his answers!


‘’It has been a while since the album was released, how are you feeling?’’

Jamie: ‘’Really good! It actually came out a bit later than we initially thought, because we’ve had it ready for a long time. We just took our time getting it in the stores in the UK and trying to hit the charts as well.’’


‘’Why did it took longer to put out?’’

Jamie: ‘’I think, basically we made the record and then we signed with Frontiers Music Srl. They signed a lot of other bands at the same time as City of Thieves, and I think they didn’t want to rush everything out at the same time. So that it is why it got released a bit later which kinda made sense in the end. It better to have your attention for it and get reviews done and stuff like that, and of course there was loads of other stuff going on in our personal lives as well. So it was good we got a chance to deal with all of that and when it was time to release we were all ready.’’

‘’What was the writing and recording process like?’’

Jamie: ‘’It was the most concentrated process that we’ve ever had as a band. We met up with Toby Jepson through our manager and he oversaw the whole project. Every time we wrote a song, we first send it to our drummer Will, and if he liked it we’d send it to Toby. And then we would get feedback and change things here and there. Once we had enough sounds we started to record, but we did it in two different sessions. These sessions were about six months apart and we did half the album each time. This gave us a chance to give our full focus to the songs that we were doing and get the best out of each and every one of them. That is where Toby really came in and took all the necessary bits out, made sure that all the songs were catchy. If you look at the album, there is only one song that is longer than four minutes, we made everything as streamlined as possible. It was a great and positive process.’’


‘’Who is the main writer of the music and lyrics?’’

Jamie: ‘’Ben and I share all of that. Everything you hear was written by the two of us, and our secret weapon was Will, our ‘’filter’’. Because when you write something and focus on being creative it is easy to get lost in your own world. I think the biggest plus side is that we send our material to Will, and if he has feedback we’d listen to it and change it. It is easy to get wrapped up in your own ideas. If it was good enough for him, it was good enough for us.’’


‘’So the writing went down really smoothly?’’

Jamie: ‘’Yeah! If we’d play it and Will wasn’t sold in it we would just write another one. It doesn’t help you to be precious about it and take things personally. We have been friends for long enough to be able to say it to each other. It is easy to take thing personally, because when you write you invest a lot of yourself in something. But if you do that and someone doesn’t really like it hurts, and sometimes that is just not worth it.

‘’You got a tour coming up with label mates Inglorious, are you getting excited?’’

Jamie: ‘’Of course yeah! It’s gonna be brilliant! We are playing in so many cool venues here in the UK, we used to dream about playing there and now we have the chance. It feels like we are really getting somewhere now and it has taken a long time, so I can’t wait.’’


Starting here we just rambled along about touring rituals and how Jamie does not have any. He explains that since every venue is different you can’t really have any rituals. ‘’Sometimes you have a dressing room, sometimes you change in the parking lot in front of people’’ he said. This sparked a whole other conversation topic, because I told him that a lot of people still think that touring life is a hundred percent glamour. He said that they have not always toured as a support band but that does not change anything. ‘’As a support band you of course have less time to set up and everything. You are there, you play and make the best of it. You try to convince people to like your music. Just do your job, don’t be a diva about it.’’


Jamie continued: ‘’There are a lot of musicians out there filming their experiences, ‘cause that is the thing now with social media. And to an extent, people edit it. We have never done that. I mean when we were younger, I’m talking like 2009, we used to kind of vlog about our touring and stuff but that was before vlogs were a thing. We didn't get tons of hits on them but we used to have fun making them. And now that it is a thing, we’re not doing it anymore. It was about people seeing the real side of it, because what is the point in making stuff up?’’

‘’There is no point!’’

Jamie: ‘’Exactly. Everyone has their own journey and our happens to be a long one. We’ve tried to share ours with people as much as we can. We just want our fans to be there with us and understand what we're going through as a band.’’


‘’If you don’t mind me asking, you’ve said that you have been playing together for ten years, then why did it took so long to make this one record?’’

Jamie: ‘’Oh sorry! When we started it was under another name, called Four Wheel Drive. And as Four Wheel Drive we released an album, two EP’s and we toured Europe in small venues like three or four times and doing that we got our experience in playing together. We’ve play from 2008 until 2015 under Four Wheel Drive and then we started having chats with our manager because we wanted to make a new album (this is where Toby came in as well). A lot of people said like ‘’get a fresh start’’ and so we did. We made the album a bit different, changed some things that as FWD we couldn’t have gotten away with. With FWD we did have success but we became stuck in one style and we wanted a ‘’new formula’’.’’


‘’Would you consider playing any Four Wheel Drive songs in a future City Of Thieves setlist?’’

Jamie: ‘’Absolutely! Probably not on this tour, because we got like half an hour each night so maybe in the future when we have more time. We do throw those songs in because it’s part of who we are, and for people to hear where we came from, even though our line up changed.’’

‘’Would you rather play festivals or club shows?’’

Jamie: ‘’To be honest I love both. I think with a festival, you get a very big audience to impress. Because if you can stand out on a festival and make people love you there, that is really good. You reach so many people at the same time in one show. But I also love club shows. I love the environment, the sound, not being able to hear the next day and above all the intimacy. They both have plus points but I see them as different things.’’


Thank you so much Jamie Lailey for taking the time to do this lovely interview with me!

Read the review of ‘’Beast Reality’’ here!


If you are interested in Four Wheel Drive:




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By Tamar