David Hennessy spoke to the band Jennifer, whose guitarist Sean Sweeney comes from Knocknacarra, as they are prepare to play the Reverence Festival in Valada
The London band Jennifer have been invited to play at the Portuguese festival of Reverence. Reverence is a celebration of the best in heavy psych, stoner and space-rock and will feature some forty bands, in a two day festival. This is a special moment for such a newly formed band as the four lads only started playing together earlier this year.
Lead singer and guitarist Pier tells The Irish World: “It’s the biggest gig we’ve had so far, but it’s a gig like any other, we just go there prepared at our best and have fun on stage. It was unexpected when they invited us, we were like ‘finally someone gets us’.
“We have big plans so we hope Valada will not be our ‘15 minute of fame’.”
Guitarist Sean Sweeney is from Knocknacarra in Galway while the other three members are Italian. Asked how it feels to be the only Irish man in the band and if there have been any funny misunderstandings due to accent or culture, Sean says: “Not so far anyway. We are all really laid back and all have different backgrounds, we rehearse in the North West of London and I think having played together this year, we really are on the same page musically and have really gelled and gained momentum. We just want to keep that spirit going.”
Pier explains how the band came together: “Me and (drummer) Claudio grew up together, we moved to London and gigged around London with another band for a while. Shortly after that band split, we met (bass player) Patrizio and Seán through mutual friends who were both involved in their own projects at the time. We had our first rehearsal together in February 2015, everything felt right, so we named ourselves “Jennifer” and started to get songs together and haven’t looked back…”
So why the band name, Jennifer? Pier answers: “It’s a name I always loved for some reason– it sounds cool, it’ s easy to remember and It’s the title to a BJM song that we all love.”
The band’s sound has a catchy, melodic feel and as it is unique, it is hard to compare to any one other band. Asked to describe it, Pier says: “Well our sound definitely has 60’s and 90’s influence. You know when you hear one of these crappy up to date hipster bands nowadays and you think, ‘I bet in two years, this will be out of fashion?’ Well we want the opposite, we want to hear ourselves in three years and think, ‘this still sounds cool, man’. We like to think that we can rock and pop.”
Pier tells us the band plan to record some of their material soon: “We are going back in the studio every weekend in September, Saturday we record a track and Sunday we mix it…boom! Then we send it to Germany to master it and voila! Hopefully by autumn we should have a nice little EP.”
Sean brings a different musical tradition to the band with his many Irish influences: “Growing up in Ireland, I was exposed to a lot of good music, from traditional music to prominent rock and pop acts. I’ve been influenced by groups like Thin Lizzy, U2, and My Bloody Valentine, and as a guitar player Rory Gallagher is one of my favourites but what we do in Jennifer I think is quite exciting, it’s a new sound. We take from these old influences and try and write something that sounds fresh.”
One of the band’s most recent gigs was in Kilburn’s The Good Ship where they were very positively received. Sean enjoyed playing on the Kilburn stage as he is well aware of what the area means to the Irish community: “It was great, really good crowd, it’s a great venue, and I have always liked the music scene in Kilburn. Power’s was a great venue for live music in it’s day and it’s a pity it’s gone which is why I think The Good Ship is now a key venue in North West London for live music. We are actually headlining a gig there on the 19th September, can’t wait. It’ll be a great night, I’d say.”
Being a Tribesman, we can’t let Sean go without asking him about the All-Ireland: “Should be a good game. I’ll definitely be soaking in our victory in Waxy’s Sunday week.”
The Reverence Festival runs August 27-29 in Valada, near Lisbon.
For more information on the band, go to https://www.facebook.com/jenniferinabsentia