We Were Promised Jetpacks Are Back in a Big Way

We Were Promised Jetpacks are back stronger than ever.
Photo by Eleanor Petry
We Were Promised Jetpacks are back stronger than ever.

Typically when bands are having success, time off isn't really an option. However for Scotland's We Were Promised Jetpacks, it was the only choice they had to continue as a band. "We started to write the new album and it just didn't feel right," admits guitarist and lead singer Adam Thompson.

After recording and touring since 2009, when the tour for 2014's Unravelling was done, it was time to re-evaluate how the band went about being a unit. "We had toured for two years in support of the last album, and we took the time for some of the guys to get married, and wanted to get songs to where we were pleased before booking another tour. We re-evaluated and wrote the whole time, we'd rehearse and write every Wednesday and Friday."

The band, had been going hard since 2003, making where they came from seeming so much more poignant. "We started in our drummer's attic, and yeah it's been 15 years, but we've really only been touring for nine of those years. Before the label signing, we did lots of small stuff as well."

While their last release was well received, it showed a definite deeper side to the band's sound, distancing themselves from what a lot of indie rock bands sound like. "Scotland's a small place, so perhaps there's a sound to bands from there. You hear everything from there, it's the same as everywhere. A lot of Scots are coming from the same place. We are between the happy and the dark. Scotland is Scotland."

The band's new album, The More I Sleep The Less I Dream is full of crazed energy, sounding like the work of men younger than those who made it.  "We had a three-record deal. We split with management and the label and we realized that we were never gonna' be a big stadium band. It became about being proud and happy with the music while committing to the band. Once we hit that space, the energy all came back with us playing in our rehearsal room, playing the new songs live from start to finish.

"The energy came back once we were committed. When we started, I didn't know we'd tour for seven or eight months at a time. This business side of music van be exhausting, and I think it's important to separate the two. There's never a reason to stop."

Produced by Jonathan Low (Mumford & Sons, The National), The More I Sleep The Less I Dream is a return to the energized sound that the band exhibited on their debut, with more earnest emotions sprinkled in. "We really just met Jonathan through Skype, and is was excited to see where we'd record at in Philadelphia and at The National's spot in upstate New York. He's younger than us and we wanted a younger guy. When you just have a 30-minute conversation with someone, and you're paying what it costs to make a record, it can be a big risk. But we're happy we took it. I'm not a gear guy, I just have a Mexican Telecaster from 2007 and a 2011 American one my parents bought me, but Jonathan is a gear guy so that worked well."

The band's live shows have always had a pace that feels like they're playing for their lives. "Well, I think we never wanna' play songs to get people bored," Thompson says. "The set will be 14 or 15 tunes, some of the new songs we've been playing for about three and a half years. So eight of those and the hitters. It's just the four of us up there, no bells and whistles. Two guitars, a bass and a drummer."

The entire catalog from We Were Promised Jetpacks is available to stream wherever you stream music, and can be purchased on all digital store fronts. The More I Sleep The Less I Dream is available September 14, and can be pre-ordered directly from the band through their web store. You can catch We Were Promised Jetpacks live and in person, when they return to Houston on Wednesday October 17 at White Oak Music Hall. The all ages show has no word of openers yet. Doors at 7 p.m.; tickets $20.