Words: Kieran Webber | Image: Betsy Herbert
Too Cool Kid has flourished from a solo act with Jay Plent into a fully fledged band and with the additional members of Ross Shelley-Pilsworth and George Addison-Atkinson. The bands natural and evident gel creates a sense of comradery that emulates onto the listener. Their music is very inviting, you become a part of the band for a small moment.
It is indie rock that is oozing in swagger and is incredibly infectious, it is layered in teen angst but carries itself with the maturity of older bands. If they carry on the way they are Too Cool Kid has a fruitful future ahead of them.
CLUNK: Hey! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, how have things been and what have you been up to?
Jay: Well I just got back from NOS Alive Festival in Portugal, saw some awesome acts, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Pixies, and it’s great cos now I’m pumped to be playing the new material we’ve been working on in TCK.
CLUNK: So how did Too Cool Kid come to be?
Jay: TCK started out as a solo project, I put out THE ALGERNON EP and EPIDEMIC EP on my own, the idea being to then branch out into a full band setup by bringing in people to play the songs live, which is exactly what’s happened. Both Ross and George joined the band as a necessity for certain gigs, and since then the sound has started to cater itself more to the band’s strengths. Really, it’s just starting to get exciting…
CLUNK: Is Too Cool Kid your first musical project or have you been involved in others?
Jay: I’ve been involved in a couple of other bands in the past, but in fact I’m also involved with Mortal Tides, I did session work for their debut album, and I’ve also done remixes for Alicia Catling, Motor Tapes, The Seven Twenty. It’s the first one I’ve started that’s got serious ground covered. I mean Swept Up got loads of attention from local radio, BBC introducing, and we actually supported Everything Everything at a small gig in Manchester earlier this year.
CLUNK: How long have you all been playing together?
Jay: Must be about a year now? Ross joined the band about 3 days before a gig! Our mate who was previously playing bass dropped out last minute, and Ross learnt our entire set in less than a week, so he kinda joined the band there and then. Then George joined us for Junkyard Festival at The Junction (we were headlining), and it turned out he really liked the stuff we were doing, so he ended up joining too. So far it’s been very fluid, members coming and going easily, and that’s great, it keeps things fresh!
CLUNK: At what point did you decide that you want to be in a band and why?
Jay: Me personally, I’ve always thought that the gang mentality and comradeship of band life is every musician’s dream setup. I mean using loops can only allow you to do so much, nothing beats bouncing off other really good musicians. But the music was the driving force for wanting to do any of it at all; I’ve written so much over the years, it would be a total waste if I didn’t wanna share it with everyone who’ll listen.
CLUNK: Has it always been a dream to be a musician?
Jay: Dream? More like an obsession…
CLUNK: Are there any artists or people that have infuenced your music, if so who and why?
Jay: Everyone has influences, what’s important is that you don’t just copycat them. You see bands everywhere that just blindly imitate their heroes and I see no point in that, like, what the hell are you bringing to the table? With TCK, we have our influences, but we very consciously try not to recreate any of them; influences are there to stimulate unique creativity, not be a shortcut to bland idea recycling.
CLUNK: What is your most listened to album of 2016 so far?
Jay: The new Radiohead album has had a lot of plays, but actually I think the most played has probably been Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’. I’d heard nothing but good things so I picked it up, and it’s definitely in my top ten albums of all time. It’s incredibly creative, fantastically clever, funny and poetic lyrically, it really is one of those albums that makes everything around it look tame by comparison.
CLUNK: As a band how do you go about recording your music? Can you explain to us your process?
Jay: I write the songs. I mean there’s no set process in that, it changes all the time, like where the inspiration arises from etc, what riffs get used and so on. The band gets a very distinct blueprint from me, and then we work on the subtleties together, where rhythms shift or dynamics rise and fall. It’s a very easy process for us really, the difficult bit is finding studio space to record drums…
CLUNK: Lastly, what can we expect from you in the future?
Jay: Well we’re currently practicing new songs for a new EP, and we’ve got some gigs in Cambridge lined up too. The new EP is exciting though, it’ll be the first we’ve done as a band, and the new songs are way more tense, more moody and angular than our previous releases, very much in a similar vein of our latest song DRAINED. Keep tabs on us if you wanna know more about that!