• Laneway Music Festival Spotlight: Jagwar Ma

    Paul John Caña

    Paul John Caña

    Laneway season is upon us once again. The region’s biggest indie music festival happens next year, January 25, at the Gardens By The Bay, Singapore. Organizers promised a stellar lineup and they certainly delivered.

    Leading the charge are breakout artists like Chvrches, Daughter, Savages, James Blake and Haim. Also making their way to the Lion City are Frightened Rabbit, Jamie XX (of the XX), The Jezebels, Kurt Vile, Mount Kimbie, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vance Joy, Youth Lagoon and XXYYXX.

    The Manila Times had the exclusive chance to chat with one of the featured bands this year, Jagwar Ma. The Australian band composed of Gabriel Winterfield, Jono Ma and Jack Freeman released a critically acclaimed debut album called Howlin’ and have earned the praises of no less than Brit rock royalty, Noel Gallagher. I caught up with Winterfield, who talked about how the band got together, what his drink of choice is, and his message to all their Filipino fans.

    TMT: Where are you now and what’s outside your window?

    Gab: I am in my bed in London. I can see electric rains, tube, underground. That’s the view from my apartment.

    TMT: Tell us how you guys got together.

    Gab: We basically played in two other bands in Australia. Jono and I, we’ve been friends for a long time now. Actually, one of the things that drew us together was, we were at a party, and I was playing guitar. I was playing a Hendrix song or something and Jono came over. And we were both playing each other covers of Hendrix. And then we put on the film Enter The Dragon, the Bruce Lee film. And we were just talking about how much we love martial arts. That was the beginning of the friendship. It’s been several years since we started making music together.

    TMT: Your music is so lively, dancey and fun. Is that a reflection of your personality? So you guys like going out?

    Gab: I like going out. I really like going out to clubs. But I like actually just standing there and watching other people. I just love the nightclub atmosphere. I’ve always really enjoyed just sitting at the bar with a drink and just watching people really enjoy themselves. Jono and I we did that a lot, we just go to a friend’s pub and just drink a gin and tonic for like three or four hours.

    TMT: So that’s your drink?

    Gab: (laughs) Yeah, a gin and tonic. Most of the time, when I go out, I’ll have a gin and tonic.

    TMT: Noel Gallagher is a fan of the band. That’s gotta be an awesome feeling.

    Gab: Yeah, it’s an incredible honor that he said that. It’s really funny because anytime anybody ever said anything, he just goes out and defends our band. Not that anybody ever criticizes us, but even just saying, [he’ll] just defend Jagwar Ma. And it’s amazing. It’s pretty cool.

    TMT: Are you a fan yourself of other artists? Which band would you follow around on tour if you had that luxury?

    Gab: Yeah there’re a couple of bands. I’d probably follow around Warpaint. They’re quite fun. They’re good friends of ours. That’d be cool. And . . . what else? There’s another band called King Krule, but I don’t know if I’d follow them around . . .

    TMT: If you weren’t doing music right now, what do you think you’d be doing?

    Gab: I don’t. Music has been in my life since before I can remember. I can’t really imagine the world without it. I went to university for a few years, but I never really went to my classes. Because I could never take myself away from music.

    TMT: Tell me about your participation in Laneway. Is this your first time being part of a traveling music festival?

    Gab: No. we’ve played in festivals in UK and Europe. Even though they’re different festivals, the line-up is always quite similar. But yeah, for Laneway definitely the one I’m looking forward to visiting the most is Singapore.

    TMT: Why Singapore?

    Gab: We’ve never played in Southeast Asia. It’s going to be amazing. It’d be so cool.

    TMT: You want to say something to your fans in the Philippines?

    Gab: This goes out to all the fans in the Philippines: I can’t wait to meet you. I can’t believe that you exist. I can’t believe that Jagwar Ma has fans in the Philippines. And Singapore as well. You’re blowing my mind. Would love to hang out.

    Tickets to Laneway Singapore are already on sale at ticketworld.com.ph. For more information, visit singapore.lanewayfestival.com.

    Email pjcana@gamil.com or follow me on Twitter @pauljohncana


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.

    Comments are closed.