JJ Rosa interview at Bingley Music Live 2013

JJ Rosa talks about the new E.P, festivals and being better than boys at guitar

Photographer: Trevor EalesMatt Miles on 02 September 2020

JJ Rosa take to the stage like they own it, this three piece achieve sonorous levels of audial bliss which leaves the dazed onlookers wondering why all bands aren’t this good. A set that delivers a funky groove to dance to, alongside a dazzling display of artisanal craftsmanship. JJ Rosa serve up soul rock, with little sprinkles of infectious funk mixed in. Performing on the coldest day of the weekend, they manage to get the crowd to forget the weather by virtue of their captivating performance.

Virtual Festivals caught up with the band just before their set at Bingley Music Live.

Virtual Festivals: Hi JJ, are you looking forward to your set this evening?

JJ Rosa: Yeah, can’t wait, it’s gonna be awesome!

VF: Have you been to Yorkshire before?

JJ: Yeah, only really on a weekend trip though, you know when you go and just have a gander round. Not for a festival before.

VF: Are you enjoying Bingley Music Live?

JJ: It’s amazing, everyone is amazingly friendly and pretty like on it which is a refreshing change, not all festivals run this smoothly which is nice.

VF: So have you played many festivals this year?

JJ: It’s not been too festival heavy, festival season for us is next year, definitely! We’ve been focusing on working toward our release in autumn.

VF: Anyone you’re looking forward to seeing today?

JJ: Chic! Absolutely. It’s well up our street that, looking forward to a bit of Chic definitely.

VF: So you changed your name from the Jessie Rose Trip to JJ Rosa, what’s the story behind that?

JJ: Well, we were always angling down a different direction from that name anyway and we wanted to start afresh. The new name represents a new sound, it was like being in a college band and then taking that step from being an amateur to pursuing this as a career.

Or maybe it was just because people could never get the name right. (Laughs) It was always The Jessie Road Trip or Jessie Rose Trio and the Jessie was always misspelled.

VF: Your voice is powerful and soulful, is that something that was naturally there, or did you have to train to achieve it?

JJ: It’s weird, because I’m a musician first and foremost. Singing just sort of came with it when I was writing songs. The more that I recorded, and heard myself back, my voice sort of just came into it’s own. I guess I found where I was comfortable and what my sound was. I’ve always been into Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, really old school artists that have all got really deep voices. I get drawn into women with unusual, deep voices, so somewhere along the line I guess that’s just integrated itself onto my subconscious.

VF: So when did you pick up the guitar?

JJ: Well I did classical piano from seven, up to grade eight, but then I got into quite a lot of rock at like fourteen and I wanted to be able to play that, so that’s when I started on the guitar. Also it’s quite a male dominated instrument; I wanted to be able to do this as good as the guys, tom boy attitude. Now I’m addicted to it.

VF: So how did the band all come together?

JJ: Jimmy, whose the drummer, he came into the picture seven years ago. From just jamming really, he was a friend of the family. We gelled really quickly and it was just like, spot on! We were with another bass player for a couple years but when our sound started to evolve and get edgier we realised we needed a new bassist. We needed someone who was going to fit, Mark was one of the first people to audition and it just instantly worked, before we even started playing we knew he was the right guy.

VF: So what’s next for you?

JJ: Well we’re doing Freedom Festival next Saturday in Hull, we’re also going to be at Farmhouse Sessions which is a really nice small boutique festival. But really a tour is the next thing for us, which will be just after the E.P release. So that’s the next thing for us to look forward to, can’t wait!

VF: Looking forward to it, thank you for your time.

JJ: Thank you.

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