If they told us Heaven had rock n roll maybe we would have paid more attention to our morals. “Rock ‘n’ Roll has always been the thing”, says Jack Jones, lead singer and guitarist of the rising band, Trampolene. All three members – Jack, bassist Wayne Thomas and drummer Rob Steele – are sitting opposite us on a rickety table outside Heaven in a tunnel of brick dust and distant music. They’ve just played an impressively energetic opening set for their fellow Welsh band, Pretty Vicious.
Trampolene’s adrenalized guitar riffs and sharp-tongued lyrics certainly affirm that rock N roll is still a provocative portal into ecstasy. The sound is raucous and raw. An honest expression and a clear obsession of theirs. It’s “our whole life”, Jack explains, leaning forward, “the loyalty of the fans was also something that appealed to me about rock n roll because unlike indie or electro, where everyone’s flavour of the month, we’re more about real people and real people sticking by us for the long run”.
United by an appreciation of eccentricity, Jack and Wayne started playing music together when Wayne heard about Jack “jumping on a car screaming that [he] wanted to be a woman”. Rob explains that he came into the picture when he was “in London. I went to see them play. Me and Jack were childhood friends”.
“Actually, we’re ex-lovers but now we’re back on good terms”, cuts in Jack. We all laugh while the security guards look at us dubiously.
Image Credit: Lee Thomas Photography
You might notice that ‘Trampolene’ is misspelt. This is conscious. The band were named after Julian Cope’s song of the same name. “I love Julian Cope. A lot of people don’t really know who he is, I didn’t at all and for some bizarre reason I came across and read his book. It was the only book I’d ever read head on. I’d listened to his music and I thought it was okay and then, after I read his book, I listened to his music again and it really changed how I heard it. And that was so fascinating. It made me want to carry on. I wanted to transfer that feeling of inspiration into the band. I got a list of loads of his songs, there were loads of weird similarities in our lives, and he spelt trampoline wrong and I’ve always spelt things wrong all my life – dyslexia.com”.
Atrocious spelling is an agreed talent shared by us all. The interview then takes a unique turn. Wayne delves into profound statements such as, ‘Buddhism was established in my tash’, while Rob interjects with ‘this is the weirdest interview I’ve ever done’.
We grapple the conversation back into serious chat about the history of the band – and it’s impressive.
After lot of hard work and a chance meeting with Carl Barat that involved a flat tyre, Trampolene were thrown on board the mystic ship of Albion. Jack supported the Libertines on their arena tour and on Peter Doherty’s solo tour with Wayne back in May. He stares off into the night and seems overcome by the surreal journey that the band have embarked on.
“When I met Peter he was reciting my poems to me – it was all very strange. I learnt ‘Fuck Forever’ on my guitar when I was fourteen in my room. Ten years later, I was on stage busting the track out with the guy who wrote it”.
Booed and adored at the O2 for reigniting punk poetry, we ask Jack about how he finds the confidence to recite poetry on stage.
“I think it’s just about showing courage and having courage for what you want. I believe I’ve got this love in my life somewhere and I’m really on this journey towards it. I just want to be seen and heard by them in a true way that’s me. That’s why I do this”. Motivated by a romantic ideal, Jack’s poetry transforms the mundane and brutal into beauty worth reading about. Just check out ‘Poundland’ and ‘Ketamine’ (crowd favourites).
‘To Be a Libertine’ is a new poem featuring on their fourth pocket album, The Gangway, which also includes a cover of The Cure’s classic, ‘Friday I’m in Love’. A cover chosen due to regular gigs on a Friday, including an NME residency at KOKO in July. “It was just the perfect song to end the night”, Rob explains.
Suddenly, we’re all kicked off our table – the cafe is closing. We proceed to stand under artificial lights. Whispers of a new pocket album begin to emerge.
“This is an exclusive”, Rob says.
This newly recorded pocket album (which will probably be released in the new year) “is so good”, Jack grins, “I had real moments of unparalleled joy in the mastering suite today. I think that’s why in tonight’s gig, I was so amped. All the things I visualised from years ago, sitting in my bedroom, we became. All those times when people told me I couldn’t play guitar that way, and now it’s, yes I can”.
At this point, Jack’s eyes imbue soft pride as we all shiver in the premature autumnal chill. There’s a sense that the interview is coming to an end. Pretty Vicious are about to go on stage. We ask the boys to describe the band in three words.
Wayne doesn’t even have to think about it, the words fall out of his mouth:
“Bold. Blunt. Beautiful”.
Trampolene’s next London show will be at the Water Rats on 5th November. Go and see them. You won’t regret it.