In Conversation with: Molotov Jukebox

Hattie Long was lucky enough to catch up with Natalia Tena, the frontwoman of Molotov Jukebox. Also known for her acting roles in Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, she talked about juggling both careers, playing gigs in Mexico City and what the band mean by “gypstep”.

I read that you guys call your sound gypstep, where did that come from and how would you describe it?

It comes from how boring and long and tedious it was to describe our music, people would ask us and we’d be like ‘oh it’s a bit dubsteppy, bit of everything you know’ and they’d lose interest. I think it was a fan that coined it gypstep and we liked it and kept it.

You guys have strong aesthetics in your videos, how important is the aesthetic and what inspires that?

It depends, we usually work with a great director called Marco Sanderman and we’re all mates and he just gets me and he really understands it. With Tick Tock because it’s about how we’re all inevitably going towards our demise the whole Day of the Dead theme works well. We filmed it in the south of Spain in Malaga because Tom the bassist has a house there and I’m Spanish so I went out and I found this amazing town and chatted to their mayor. I think it’s called Yunquera and it’s absolutely beautiful because all of the buildings are white. The other half of it was filmed at our director’s friend’s orchard, this orange and lemon orchard out in the middle of nowhere. I think he was one of the members of Genesis actually.

You’re playing some pretty legendary venues on your upcoming UK tour: King Tut’s in Glasgow and 100 Club in London for example. What’s your favourite place that you’ve played home or abroad?

I loved playing Mexico. I loved playing the festival Vive Latino, but also the gig that we had the day after just for anyone. I can’t remember what the venue was called but it was amazing and there was this queue outside all the way around the corner and they all knew the words. At the same time they were filming Spectre there and we were staying in the same hotel as some of the makeup artists that I knew from Harry Potter so they all came to the gig. It was so touching, it just made me so happy.

How was festival season? You seem to have had a busy few summers!

This year was actually quite calm because we were much more select and only did a few, we needed time and energy and space in our heads to try the album. So this year was actually quite good, a moderate festival season. My favourite one is Womad I think. Womad is absolutely banging. It’s just great because genuinely all the music’s good. It’s not commercial, it’s not about that and it’s just good to see, you know?

You have a pretty successful acting career, how does that balance with also being a musician?

There really is a lot of juggling that happens and unfortunately it’s not very easy to do that because obviously schedules conflict. We already have our UK album tour booked for next year, whereas acting you never know. I’ve got some auditions over the weekend and next week and if I get them then I’ll just have to go. The difference in scheduling and time frame can mean there’s some conflict basically.

Finally, as part of the Harry Potter generation, I can’t not bring it up in some way. If you could do any spell on stage what would it be?

I don’t know, make everyone fall in love with us and not stop dancing. No, definitely stop dancing at some point or everyone will die. Basically just send out a lot of pheromones.

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