Imagine splicing together a dash of Zeppelin, a dab of Radiohead and a dollop of Muse. Sounds good, right?
You bet it does, and Worcestershire’s Hey Jester are the proof in the pudding. Give a warm welcome and a heartfelt “hey” to the freshest new band on the West Midlands block, as we talk inspiration, aspiration and prog-rock revitalisation.
Who are Hey Jester?
We are a power trio from the West Midlands with music consisting of surrealist sounds, jack-sharp jazz and furious fuzz-rock.
When did you decide to form Hey Jester?
We have all been students of Kidderminster College, where we learned an approach to music that involved a lot of experimenting but also a self-awareness of what we know and don’t know to give us motivation to research and learn new things. Because it was an environment of like-minded musicians, we recently managed to form Hey Jester and it is a band we all love being a part of, learning new things and experimenting along the way.
You just released your debut track, tell us a bit about it. Are you pleased with the reaction that you’ve received from it?
We’ve been thrilled by the response to our music video ’Sickly- Sweet’ especially by our first fans that have been excitedly waiting for our first release. Along with that, we simultaneously released our single ’Pepper Spray’ (which you can find both tracks on Bandcamp free download) and that was recently played on BBC Introducing West Midlands so considering this is the band’s first release we’re pretty chuffed!
Is there a distinct theme with how ‘Sickly Sweet’ came about?
The concept was inspired by the song ‘Nice Dream’ by Radiohead. Mirron (guitarist and singer) thought of taking that theme and making it our own. Our song mutated into a hallucinatory talk with an imaginary girlfriend/boyfriend that is supposed to be perfect in the singer’s mind but the partner’s sweetness is artificial, and admitting to yourself that the partner is “not real” might hurt her feelings even though she is only an illusion.
It could also just be a translation for a toxic relationship where there is no real communication, just sweetness that becomes sickly and instead of talking openly the partner puts “candy in their mouth”, avoiding certain topics, leaving the relationship in a stalemate of artificial care. Alternatively, the song could perhaps be about an addiction to a drug and the drug is described a bit like an abusive relationship.
We wanted the abrasive sarcasm of the lyrics to be shown in the music as well. The tone and sonics of the music was somewhat influenced by the mutated sounds that Bjork has but we wanted a ‘jilty’ drum groove that you might get in some neo-soul music and then the heavy timbre of sludgy fuzz rock and grunge.
Which artist inspires you most regarding your sound?
We’ve been compared to early Muse the most, so despite our collective array of influences it could probably be boiled down to bands like Radiohead (who influenced Muse) and Jeff Buckley.
Do you have any non-musical influences that inform your songs?
I think the mindset that we largely took from our time at the college; A wise man once said “The greatest obstacle to success is fear of failure.” This, combined with our own principals and thoughts that we express in the lyrics.
What would you like to achieve as Hey Jester? Where would you place yourself in modern music scenes?
Our first goal has always been to sell 1000 copies of our music. If we achieve that then great we’ll go from there! We’ve got nothing to lose by trying. Anyone our music connects with or gets a reaction from is dandy. We’re Progressive Rock but we aim to push the genre to the modern age and Generation Z, so it’s not completely left in the 70s as great as 70s prog was. Alternatively, we’re a magnet of our own material and anyone in any scene that’s attracted to our music is welcome to gravitate this way.
Do you have any more releases lined up before the end of the year?
We aim to release a music video for ‘Pepper Spray’ as well as an extra single. The next single will be fast, intense and more of a rollercoaster than the last two.
For the future, are there any plans to tour? If so, where?
We have some gigs lined up for next year including Fusion ‘Music Without Boundaries’ a 3 day festival where we’ll be supporting the legendary band Focus (22nd March). In terms of a tour we’d love to sort some dates out while or after we finish the album! We’re open to suggestions and anywhere where anyone might like us to play.