Artwork by Marta Milanese/Finn Kidd
WHO are they?
Jean K are singer Jean Kern and producer Michael Tomlinson, a disco infused indie pop group based in London.
Jean: “It’s been a year and a half that Michael and I are doing music together. At first, Michael was helping me to finish and polish some songs I was recording at home. Then it became more of a regular thing, and we started thinking of trying to play live.. Laura (on keyboard) and Gordon (on bass) joined us.. we only had 2 shows so far but it was really fun.”
WHAT is the inspiration behind their songs?
Jean: “When I started composing songs, I never wanted them to be too serious, so I was more trying to put words together that had not necessarily any meaning. (Also my English was so bad.. it was easier for me to just put random phrases/words together). But now, I love when a song tells a story, or has a strong idea behind. It might be the only way to make a pop song interesting enough.. I mean, nowadays all the bands are using the same kind of set up and (old) instruments.. so lyrics are definitely a way of adding excitement.”
Michael: “I love writing songs with Jean because when he comes in with an idea he’ll always surprise you with what he thinks it might be about – in this case (for debut single Billy) he said it could be about looking for a lost time traveller. I thought immediately of Billy Pilgrim as Kurt Vonnegut is one of my faves. Jean went off and devoured the book and when he was done we wrote the lyrics.”
“A really great thing about the ‘random phrases’ and French language background Jean mentioned is that some really weird/lateral stuff gets thrown when we’re writing – by the time we’re done the story that’s developed is something unique.”
WHERE are they from?
Jean: “I’m from Strasbourg. It felt like a small city when I grew up with not too much to do…and it might be the reason why the music scene is more organised in a regional network (North-East France) with strong connection with cities like Metz, Nancy or Mulhouse.. they are all not really glamorous cities (with quite a lot of poverty) but somehow, some really interesting stuff is coming out from it.”
“’La grande triple alliance international de L’est’ is a good example of it. Media Pop Records, Rival Colonia, Herzfeld are labels from the area that have a lot of interesting bands and artists. I’m actually always keeping an eye on them and they have been and are still a source of inspiration.”
WHY are they called Jean K?
“It’s my name.. we were trying to find more of a “normal” band name then just gave up.”
WHEN can I see them live?
“The release party of Billy is on the 2nd of August in London at the Alibi. Hopefully we will be able to line up few shows in September.”
Jean K’s debut single Billy will be out on Ltd cassette and download via Crocodile Records and Cargo distribution on July 28th.
Have a listen to Billy here below.