Splitting their time between Croydon and Brighton, Jetstream Pony formed through a love of post-punk and indie-pop, and lift their name from, “a retired racing greyhound”. The band initially came about when two of the members, Beth and Shaun, met as members of The Fireworks. The band’s initial demos, recorded straight to iPad, were picked up by vinyl-only label Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten of Augsburg, and released in their original, charmingly rough-hewn form. Having gained bassist, Kerry, and drummer, Hannes, along the way, the band subsequently released the well-received EP, Self-Destruct Reality, followed by a number of stand-alone singles. Last month saw them take the step-up to the longer-format, with the release of the band’s self-titled debut album.
What’s impressive about Jetstream Pony’s debut album, is the ease with which they combine nostalgia and forward thinking, this is a record that tips its cap to indie-pop’s past, yet brings it screaming into the here-and-now. Through wiry guitar-lines, reverberating vocals and the steady rhythmic crash of bass and drums, Jetstream Pony create a musical world that’s both familiar and exciting. With more new material already recorded, Jetstream Pony are wasting no time in making a very exciting first impression.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Jetstream Pony?
Jetstream Pony are Beth Arzy on vocals, Shaun Charman (me) on guitar, Kerry Boettcher on bass and Hannes Mueller who recently joined on drums, though I play on the album. Hannes comes over to play with us from Augsburg in Germany after two wonderful guest performances with us last summer. We’re based between Brighton and Croydon UK, and are named after my partner’s retired racing greyhound. Beth is also in The Luxembourg Signal and Lightning in the Twilight Hour, and used to be in Trembling Blue Stars, I was the drummer in the original 80s lineup of The Wedding Present (George Best etc.) and The Popguns. Beth and I met when The Luxembourg Signal played a couple of gigs with my old band The Fireworks as label mates on Shelflife. Shortly afterwards, Emma the original singer of The Fireworks left and Beth took over. I wasn’t the songwriter in The Fireworks, so when Beth and I made a couple of demos together, the band agreed it should be a different project. My partner Carol (who does our artwork) also dropped a massive hint by making me a Jetstream Pony t-shirt for Christmas! Beth played the demos to her friend Kenji in Augsburg, who played them to his friend Ronny of Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten. Ronny was really enthusiastic about releasing them, but insisted on using the original demo versions which became our first 7″ single “Like You Less” / “Had Enough”. I would never have believed we’d be listening to something recorded on my iPad in my bedroom on BBC 6 Music – pressing record and running back round the drum kit! Kerry was an old friend of mine and a fantastic bassist, so was the obvious choice to play in the full band when we started using proper studios. We’re really happy with the album, Beth’s friend Kerry Kelekovich (Kouderay.com) mixed it and has done a great job.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
It was in the Rialto in Brighton, supporting the excellent Chorusgirl. It was promoted by a friend of mine Chris, who gave a lovely speech about how he’d been waiting for this gig. Matthew from The Fireworks played second guitar. It went really well! Chorusgirl were very supportive and there were quite a few friends there as well!
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I’ve always been a big fan of music, started playing the bass at 16/17 years old when I really got into post-punk. The first song a friend and I played was a version of Candy Skin by Fire Engines. At University I started going to gigs most nights, and joined The Wedding Present because they had the right influences on the advert. I couldn’t really play the drums, but they were pleased that we liked the same stuff (based around John Peel’s radio show), so were happy to bear with me while I learned – always playing as fast as I could (no-one ever told me to slow down)! I’ve always dabbled with writing stuff on a four track on guitar, but was never confident singing, so was really delighted when Beth heard and liked some of it. I’ve played on a few albums, but this is the first where I’ve written the music, so it is a special release for me. Beth has an amazing voice, it really encouraged me to write more and she also writes lyrics. When I have a new song, I flick through them to see which might fit the best, she’s happy for me to edit or add things. She then edits them again at the end, it works really well. Kerry also has lyrics, and it’s nice to vary things, as Beth can also play the bass. We always do a song with Kerry and Beth swapping in our live set.
FTR: What can people expect from the Jetstream Pony live show?
We had such a big year planned, with gigs in Madrid, Porto, Paris and Germany, but it’s all been postponed or cancelled. There are people living through much worse times at the moment, so can’t complain too much, but it is a shame. A couple have been put back almost exactly a year, I guess we’ll have to see how it goes. We are much tighter than we used to be, and have become a lot more confident over the last year. We actually toured with the Wedding Present last December, playing much bigger venues. The last gig was at the Forum in Kentish Town, just amazing to play where I’ve seen so many of the bigger bands. It was really good fun, seemed to go down well.
FTR: What’s next for Jetstream Pony?
After the album, we are doing a 7″ single from the Medway/Cornwall label Spinout Nuggets, already recorded. It’s in a different style to what we usually do – more garage punk – but very happy with it! It has our version of 20/20’s Yellow Pills on the other side. We’ve also been asked to do a Christmas single, so thinking about how we might do that without being cheesy! I’ve not been as productive as I’d hoped during lockdown. I’m wondering if I do better under more pressure, but I am working on new stuff for when things return more to normal. Looking forward to getting out there again (at the right time)!
They Listen To…
Fire Engines – Meat Whiplash
Chorusgirl – No Moon
Buff Medways – Troubled Mind
The Buff Medways · Troubled Mind
Pia Fraus – Hidden Parks
The BV’s – Be Enough
Jetstream Pony is out now via Shelflife Records / Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten. Click HERE for more information on Jetstream Pony.