Since performing at Reading and Leeds Festival in both 2016 and 2017, bagging those coveted 1 million Spotify plays for single Ceasefire and smashing an inexorable UK headline tour this year, JUDAS have cemented themselves as one of the most fearless and talented alternative outfits in the game, something their cult of loyalist followers know all too well.
Latest release, Abbey Road-recorded Bigmouth, builds on the riotous rock stylings previously showcased by the band but reveals some different, more complex shades. While remaining true to their blisteringly anthemic roots, JUDAS turn the dials up a notch or two, fusing darker R&B electronics with their classically feverish and gritty guitar licks.
Having just finished a mammoth UK tour with alt-rock royalty The Hunna and an equally impressive stint with Mallory Knox earlier in the year, JUDAS are a band with an exhilarating amount of potential bubbling up around them - a potential we imagine will be fully realised by upcoming single release Wonderland.
So, with all this considered, it is with some confusion that our recent conversation with the band ended on a grim premonition for JUDAS, hinting at some rather unsettling possibilities for the future of one of the most promising guitar bands in the UK right now.
‘JUDAS IS DEAD.’ Goes the cryptic and prophetic mantra issued by the band to M. Ever the showmen, we’d expect nothing less a tantalising peak at future developments, but we find ourselves wondering what the hell this is this supposed to mean?
About 3 years ago now. We first met up in Camden at the Roundhouse, after finding each-other on a website to join bands. That’s where we used to rehearse when we started off, and is where we wrote our first song, Sister. After the first rehearsal we went for a pint in the pub opposite the roundhouse - it’s called The Enterprise and the band was nearly named after it, but we changed our mind last minute. It’s now our local boozer.
You all live together in Camden, what’s it like spending so much time together?
It’s class. We all get on so well, we’re all best mates. Our front room is a home studio now and we spend all day in there writing and recording. It’s such a laugh living together, it would be boring any other way.
Can you talk us through your songwriting process, where do you start and what’s the journey to end up with a finished project?
Usually John comes up with most of the chords and lyrics on the acoustic guitar, then he’ll bring the idea to us and we flesh it out with our individual parts and grow the song that way. However, recently we’ve been experimenting with writing directly into Logic, building and putting the songs together in the computer, giving it a unique soundscape.
You just finished touring with The Hunna, how did it go?
Incredible. We can’t thank The Hunna enough for having us support them. The crowds were absolutely mental.
How were your festival slots?
Isle of Wight was probably our best ever show to date. It was just unreal to see the Big Top full to the brim of people having it and singing along to every song. 110 above and Kendal Calling were both absolutely bouncing. It went off in true JUDAS fashion.
JUDAS fans really go for it. What’s the best experience you’ve had with the fans at a gig?
Its so hard to pick one moment. All our fans are absolutely amazing. Our last sold out London Headline show was pretty special. The whole room was singing Love is the Enemy.
Tell me a little bit about the single that’s on the way!
We can tell you that it’s called Wonderland and that it is an absolute banger. It was recorded in Abbey Road which was an experience of a lifetime and we are so proud of it. It was mixed by Chris Lord Alge who is a legend in his field so we just can’t wait to show the world.
What was it like recording it?
Magical. We’ve all grown up hearing stories about the legend that is Abbey Road. To have an opportunity to spend a week there, recording Big Mouth and Wonderland was a dream come true. We’re so proud of the end result and so thankful to Mark and all the crew at Abbey Road for being so welcoming. We will be back!
Who are you favourite bands in London right now?
JUDAS and Lona.
John, I’ve heard you met Nile Rodgers a while back, what was it like meeting him?
It was an honour meeting such a legend. I was in awe of him and he was such a genuine, nice guy. We were actually all invited on stage with him at Isle of Wight, for his set finale. We all had a boogie in front of about 50,000 people. Madness.
Got any advice you’d like to offer for emerging artists?
We’d probably say get a van! All chip in and buy the cheapest scruffiest van you can. It just means you can play a gig anywhere, to help break the local circuits. It helped us so much. We all live together as well, which is a huge help , we are always able to write and record, day or night. Also buy a book of raffle tickets. When you get them as drinks tokens at some gigs, you get unlimited drinks.
What do you think the best way for a band to stand out online is?
Stand out, be unique and have something to say.
You guys don’t seem to ever really stop – what keeps you motivated?
We don’t really stop, ever. We all keep each-other motivated really as we wake up in the same house and same frame of mind every day. We all care about this so much and we won’t be stopping anytime soon. We are going to the top. No doubt.
What’s next for JUDAS?
JUDAS IS DEAD. We shall return, but not quite how you think. LOVE OR NOTHING AT ALL.