"We want to create music that we like to listen to ourselves" - Jess And The Ancient Ones on Vertigo
Jess And The Ancient Ones began their story in 2010 and have been busy creating a psychedelic whirlwind of occult rock tunes ever since with vocal powerhouse Jess belting soulfully throughout the whole journey. In the wake of their new album Vertigo we had the pleasure of asking guitarist and songwriter Thomas Corpse a few questions on touring, songwriting, influences and more.
Who would you say are your main vocal influences?
"If I remember correctly Jess has said that she loves the ones like Danzig, Chris Cornell, and Joni Mitchell for example. I’d say that they are not her influences though, but rather voices she enjoys listening to. Singing itself has been an influence for her since her childhood."
Who are some of your favourite newer bands on the scene right now?
"Well I don’t keep that much eye on the scene, just listen to whatever pops my way. The latest newer artist I have enjoyed is perhaps Boy Harsher. I think their song “Westerners” was a banger! Blood Sport sounded pretty cool also. It was a new band from Finland. Heavy speed metal with an old school attitude."
"There are so many great obscure and unknown artists to the masses that totally deliver the goods and more. But maybe it’s better this way… we don’t get overfed by them through radio and media"
Are there any older bands you think don’t get enough recognition?
"Oh man, the list would be endless! There are so many great obscure and unknown artists to the masses that totally deliver the goods and more. But maybe it’s better this way… we don’t get overfed by them through radio and media. Manilla Road is a good example, or Babylon Whores. Both great bands, but unknown to the greater masses."
How has Covid affected your recording process and touring schedule?
"No shows since 2019, so there’s a huge gap there. It has its sides also as we have lots of new material in the pre-production phase at the moment. Kept ourselves busy writing and breathing, hah! We haven’t hit the training grounds either, so countless hours spent on home studios working with songs. I have to say I’m feeling pretty pumped with the new material."
Is there an underlying theme or concept behind the new album?
"There’s a yearning for the innocence lost among other things. The way one used to experience reality, the nostalgia of past memories. Feelings of anxiety are also on the tape. Thoughts about death, time and space. All the things that I discuss back and forth within my mind on a daily basis."
What have you missed the most about touring?
"Meeting all those superb people on the road is and of course the live concerts. It’s great to stand on the stage and feel the decibels behind your back. Miss the action and the loudness. Also it is great if we have a free day on a tour and we get to spend it in some beautiful location. Maybe visit a local brewery and enjoy some fine local beers. Or the delights of local gardeners."
…and missed the least?
"Waiting at the airports. Damn, is there anything more boring on the planet than to sit around airports? I mean it’s maddening I tell ya! Beam me up Scotty!"
"There’s a yearning for the innocence lost among other things. The way one used to experience reality, the nostalgia of past memories"
What’s your writing process usually like – i.e. do you all collaborate on ideas together or does one person do most of the songwriting?
"Usually I sketch the base of the song back home, and we take it from there. We use a lot of time to create fluent structures, and pay attention to details and dynamics from the start. At the moment everyone is working at their home studios, so we’ll be sending files back and forth."
Would you say your influences have changed over time?
"We just follow natural progression by feel so that’s why our musical journey is a bit here and there haha! I’d say our main influence is our huge passion to create music that we would like to listen to ourselves. We all have a wide taste in the field of music and live by the principle that any good music is good music. No matter what genre they might represent."
"Horror and science fiction movies are also close to my heart, and so is gaming and game music"
Are there any bands you would particularly like to tour with or collaborate with in the future?
"It would be a blast to do a split single with a band like The Chocolate Watchband or The Electric Prunes. A tour with Monster Magnet would be a killer thing too. Dave, if you’re reading this hit me up!"
Do you have any influences you think people may not expect you to have?
"I like Finnish music a lot, and I don’t know if people outside Finland know them at all. I mean the likes of Tapio Rautavaara, Mana Mana, Leevi & the Leavings, and Agents for example. Killer stuff all of them. Check them out, Mana Mana is a crusher! Horror and science fiction movies are also close to my heart, and so is gaming and game music. The classic themes of Rygar, Metroid, etc are so damn good. Oh, and a lot of stuff from Chris Hülsbeck when it comes to game music."
Vertigo is out now via Svart Records
You can pick up a copy here