After watching London-based band JUDAS take to the Main Stage at Leeds Festival on the Bank Holiday weekend, for a second consecutive year running, Bitter Sweet Symphonies’ Zoe Peck caught up with the four-piece to talk about dreams, fear and festivals.
Well done for [the set]; How did it feel?
John: Cheers! It was amazing man. You practise so long just for that little moment and it goes so fast, it’s just glorious man.
How did Leeds compare to Reading yesterday?
John: Both have been amazing. Sun’s been out both days, tunes have been banging.
Have you managed to see anyone else play or are you one of those artists that’s like “I only play festivals now”?
All: [Laugh] No!
Sam: We watched Rat Boy and Circa Waves yesterday.
Todd: The crowd for Rat Boy was just unbelievable.
James: And we’re gonna try to catch Declan Mckenna.
John, I’ve read you quoted in a previous interview say [misquote] “We don’t listen to any music which isn’t ours”…
All: [Laugh] Noo!
Todd: Sam listens to our music exclusively.
John: Yeah, Sam’s a Judas fan.
Sorry, sorry I meant “We don’t listen to any music which is like ours”…
John: On the way to Reading yesterday we had Smooth FM on – we listened to Lionel Richie.
Todd: We listen to a lot of Pop.
John: But not like cool Pop, like-
Todd: Cheesy Pop. Not gonna name any names..
John: Natasha Bedingfield! She’s our queen.
My favourite song of yours is ‘Youth of the Young Age’ but my least favourite is ‘Sister’ because my sister is objectively better looking than me-
Sam: Is your sister Kate Moss?!
All: [Laugh] Awhh!
-So that song stirs a sort of primal fear in me. On this point, can you tell me something you’re scared of?
John: I’m not scared of anything really…
Sam: Heights. They offered me a two metre drum riser…I had to turn it down.
Has performing ever been a scary thought?
Sam: It’s never scary, it’s always exciting.
Todd: [As a performer] you’re in the wrong business if you’re scared of that.
I don’t know, surely some performers get nervous.
Todd: It’s not nervous about what people are gonna think about you, it’s nervous about making mistakes, things like that.
John: We just wanna be the best every time, wherever we go. We’re nervous about..putting on the best show. It’s fear of not being the best, that’s what we’re scared of.
As performers do you ever feel any pressure to write or dress a certain way?
Sam: I didn’t until two days ago when Levi‘s sorted us out! Look at this crisp white jumper!
John: It’s not crisp anymore, mate.
Todd: And we’ve suddenly become huge fans of baseball..we’re all Red Sox fans in this band.
I don’t blame you.
I heard getting to play on the main stage last year was a stroke of luck [Parkway Drive pulled out]…
John: The luckiest day of our lives…and inspiring – that people would believe in us.
…Though maintaining that spot for a second year is not luck, that’s a huge achievement. Was there any difference between the two times?
Todd: About six months of preparation!
John: You’re building it up in your head for weeks and weeks, last time we just walked on like “S***, we’re on here.”
Todd: And also it’s like you can’t go back to a gig like playing the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds and not do better than you previously did so this time there was a lot of pressure on that as well.
Did you have any stress dreams?
John: We had a stress reality! We went on at Reading yesterday and Todd left his guitar in his case…which got taken off stage. So we started the gig-
Todd: -And I had to run off stage and grab my guitar. It wasn’t pretty.
Sam: We styled it out though.
What’s the next dream then, career-wise?
Sam: Sold out shows!
John: And to just carry on living the dream man, we can’t ask for anything more than what’s happening.
So, if your song ‘Some People’ is sung earnestly, then you’re not in a band for money. Why are you in a band?
John: To have a laugh with these three boys. We just wanna have a roar everyday and cause as much chaos as we can…and get a few more Judas T-shirts out there.
Is there anything else you’d like Bitter Sweet Symphonies’ readers to know?
Sam: New track ‘Ceasefire’ out 15th September.
Judas play Islington’s O2 Academy on 18th September 2017. Tickets are available here.