Interview With New Jacobin Club by Matt Grayson

The New Jacobin Club are a six-piece band who originally started off as a trio of musicians in Western Canada just over 20 years ago.  Ahead of their whistle-stop UK tour, the members of NJC have taken the time to talk to SJ about their music, the band , their history and how a fire isn’t always part of the act.

Seeing a band together after such a long time shows how these mainstream groups who need sabbaticals and hiatus’ after a few years together either can’t take the pressure or simply don’t take it seriously enough. While New Jacobin Club are serious about their music, fans and gigs – always giving some free music away with their albums –  they have also proven to be insightful, wise, extremely interesting and funny. Recently I had the chance to fire some questions over to them before they descend on Britain for a short tour including the “A Splendid Day Out” steampunk event in Morecambe on June 4th 2016. The full listing of their tour can be found at the bottom of the interview as well as links to their new fifth album Soldiers of the Mark.

Tell us a bit about your history
HORDE I started the band with a drummer I was introduced to as “someone you’d get along with musically” by a mutual friend. The band formed in the fall of 1995 and played its first show a year later, it was a trio until about 2001. We were a very typically deathrock sort of band, but we’ve always had a flair for dressy clothing, capes, robes…. a sinister masquerade of sorts. It was not very popular in the 90’s haha! By the mid 2000’s newer members of the band steered it towards a metal sort of vibe, and a couple of our albums from that period could easily be identified as metal. When we partnered up with the Angry Teeth Freakshow in 2008 our concept and live show took on a more turn-of-the-century carnival theme.

RatKing, Luminous, Candi and myself have been the core of the group for 7 or 8 years, and we all at one time worked at the same musical instrument store. 8 years is a long time – longer than any other core songwriting group this band has had over the years.

CANDI I’m not an original member, I worked with Horde at a music store many years ago and perhaps it was destiny because dragged me into the world of music and we have been working together artistically ever since!

NAGINI
I met the NJC at a show we both performed in; I danced with my Cornsnake Lady, and Xerxes invited me to bring my snake act to an NJC show. Strangely enough, I chose a stage outfit that fit right in with the NJC style that night. It looked like it was planned!

RUIN
RatKing, The Luminous, and I knew each other years before any of us were a part of NJC; the others, I met after joining.  We do have a lot of commonalities though; we often bond over everything from science fiction to comic books to a pretty general love of all things horror.

You’re not a typically steampunk band, what brings you over to the world of corsets and goggles?
RATKING Mostly the corsets and goggles. 😉

HORDE Actually, I think the world of corsets and goggles found us, haha! Our Victorian horror show/carnival aesthetic and themes work well in the steampunk realm, as well as our antique-futuristic instrumentation – electric cello, theremin, and all. I rather like the more recent term “Dreadpunk” to describe the darker side of steampunk that crosses over into tales of horror and the occult – I think we fit into that category quite nicely.

RUIN A lot of past and present members of NJC have incorporated elements of steampunk into their outfits, as well as the live show.  We incorporate a lot of different ideas and aesthetics into what we do and that’s definitely a part of it.

CANDI We have always had a penchant for a good corset! I like to think of us as more Dreadpunk, a close relative to steampunk. We are a band of rogues in our own right and steampunk offers a splendid and unorthodox escape from the drudgery of modern life! We like those. 🙂

LUMINOUS I’ve always loved corsets, and Victorian style in general, so this is just an outlet for that aspect of my personality.

NAGINI I admire the steampunk aesthetic! I can see elements in common with the NJC and the corseted, goggled elegance of Steampunk. We also seek beauty within the mechanical beast!

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