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editors review
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j xaverre interview and session

(The video from this session is now out of copyright.)

Pop folktronica from Sunderland.

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“I’ve been in a band that was hyped. It’s good fun but it stifles you creatively.” Pete Gofton is J Xaverre, a man who produces quirky pop with a folktronic spin. However, in a previous life, he was the guy on drums and guitar in 90s punk/pop act Kenickie. “It was a very positive experience. It taught me what I will and won’t do,” he says looking back. But that’s all in the past. Since Kenickie he’s been going it alone.

“I see myself as a songwriter because I haven’t got the patience to be a producer like Kieran Hebden or somebody that ‘sculpts sound’,” he says. “There are elements of electronic bands like Four Tet and Boards Of Canada, but it’s not as overt as that because it’s more song-based. There are verses, choruses, guitars, live drums. It’s a bit like Mercury Rev or The Flaming Lips. It comes under the umbrella of leftfield pop. Pop with knobs on.” Pop you say? “Oh yes, I can definitely see it in the Top 40.”

Pete, a man who’s been in the business since the tender age of 18, is someone who wouldn’t shy away from The Sugababes covering his songs. “You’ve got to be realistic. You shouldn’t be snobby about what you do,” he reckons. “Tom Waits has never had a massive hit but Rod Stewart had hits with Tom Waits songs.”

j xaverre interview and session

In the meantime, our modern day Burt Bacharach is quite happy playing his own songs. With a little help from his friends: “My friend Grassy plays drums on a couple of tracks and my girlfriend Lea sings vocals on quite a lot of it because she’s a very good singer, and, well, it’s good to have her around!” he laughs. “She contributes quite a lot. She’s my sounding board for ideas and I trust her judgement.”

Live, his band often includes members of other Sunderland music makers like The Futureheads. It just depends on who’s available. “It could be anything from me hunched over a laptop to a six-piece rock band. I enjoy the different aspects of it,” says Pete. “For the next album I want to get nearer to a band. It’s still my songs and my vision, if you like, but I’ve learnt that you can’t be that controlling. Sometimes you need to throw it to the wind and see where it goes.” The only way is up. Matt Walton 06 June 03

The single, Great All Great, is out now on Memphis Industries. The album, These Acid Stars, is due in September 03.

J Xaverre also appears on the Memphis Industries compilation, Estuary English.

pete gofton recommends:
“People like Four Tet and Manitoba I think are much more interesting than a band playing great rock ’n’ roll music. They’re people who have ideas. The ideas don’t necessarily have to work but people stretching themselves is far more interesting for me.”

useful link: www.memphis-industries.com

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