M meets… Jess Hall Band

Jess Hall Band look set for big things this year. The teenagers have already won over their local BBC Radio Wiltshire, and the song Play Shy found its way on Radio 1’s BBC Introducing playlist at the end of last year.

Childhood friends Jess, Alex Stone, Andy Vincent and Stef Pysanczyn have only been playing and writing together for little over 18 months, after Jess ‘nicked’ her pals from another band, but their music is self assured folk-tinged indie and universal in its appeal.

M caught up with them to find out more…

How long have you been making music?
I (Jess) have been making music since I was about 11. I’m always writing songs, I wrote one about a vegetable once when I was about 11ish aha! It was the best song ever…or not… We as a band have been working together for 18 months and have been writing all that time. The boys were in a band before Jess Hall Band, so they had been writing songs together for years before as well.

What inspires your songwriting?
Every kind of emotion to be honest; if I’m stressed, upset, happy, anxious, I’ll write a song. I write much better when I’m upset though haha! I can’t sing a song unless I get what the lyrics are saying, or connect to the words. If I can’t, I find it hard to believe the song.

What process do you go through to create your music?
If we’re not in a writing session with another writer, there doesn’t seem to be much of a process other than pouring emotions onto a piece of paper and strumming a guitar and seeing what happens. It’s much more effortless as we’d be writing the song because something has inspired us to write it there and then. But in a writing session there’s more structure to it as we’ve gone with the intention to write a song so have to think more about how we go about it!

How would you describe your sound?
It’s a difficult one aha! A bit acoustic, but we also have our electronic side to us. We have lots of different influences but we don’t actually sound like any of them, we just take little snippets from each and make it our own.

What would your dream collaboration be?
Our dream collaboration would probably be with Bonobo or someone like Bon Iver. Having all of Bon Iver or Bonobo’s instruments and musicians behind us four would be insane!

Where can we catch you performing next?
We’re mainly writing at the moment but I’m sure we’ll have some gigs coming up in London very soon, will post upcoming gigs onto Facebook. www.facebook.com/jesshallband

The video below was recorded at the o2 Academy in Islington, London, with Live Connection. To find out more about the Live Connection professional demo service, read M‘s story here.