It’s what every parent must dread: you save up for years to send your kids to university, only for them to turn their backs on their careers and pursue a life in Rock music. After all, who knows what the world of dentistry has lost with Queen’s Roger Taylor foregoing a life armed with tooth drills and dentures in favour of one equipped with sticks, crashing cymbals and a kick drum.
Spare a thought then for the parents of Jullian Vuitton and Kevin Thomas who met at university, secured jobs in the Swiss financial sector before upping sticks to come to London to establish Modern Blues Rock band Jupiter Way in 2015.
Still, it isn’t going too badly so far. Critics are raving about the eclectic sound of their debut EP, Catch Fire, with the band who consist of Kevin on guitar and vocals, Jullian on lead guitar and James Collymore on keyboards and harmonica.
“We didn’t have a special plan at the beginning, we were both studying business when we met, but quickly discovered our mutual passion for 60’s and 70’s music,” Kevin explained. “Led Zeppelin and Creedence Clearwater Revival were definitely the two bands that brought us together, although we sometimes felt like marginals back then; especially when we talked about some bands to people and they’re like ‘Wait what? Who?’ or ‘All the members are dead, right?’”
The serious plan of starting a band came later once Jullian finished his business studies and Kevin finished his studies in Law. “We are not risk averse, so it’s probably a good thing that we got out of finance,” Jullian laughed. “Before we formed Jupiter Way, we were playing odd gigs here and there but had conflicting schedules. I was working in a bank whereas Kevin was studying in another city, so trying to hold a band together became way too complicated. We somehow always had this idea of giving it a try in our mind and go full time with music, but I guess we were just waiting for the right trigger. It happened during a bad day at work when I called Kevin and said: “I wanna quit … let’s do it!”
“We were happy to take the risk and still happy that we did,” Kevin added. “For sure we had an easier life with more comforts, but we simply weren’t satisfied inside. We’ll have some cool stories to tell now, and definitely no regrets, so that’s what really matters in the end.”
Jupiter Way started when Kevin and Jullian arrived in London in October 2015, taking the name from the name of the street in which they live. James joined in early 2016 on the keyboard, himself a former music student. So without much of a track record to speak of, becoming established has posed one or two issues.
“Like every band here, the biggest obstacle is most certainly the London music industry as a whole,” Jullian said. “To our knowledge, this is one of the toughest places to be in. After nine months, we are already full of crazy stories regarding music promoters, other bands and what have you. When we tell people some of the things we’ve heard, they just can’t believe it. However, we’ve been working with some fantastic people too.”
Catch Fire has a very recognisable but also a somewhat elusive sound. “Our music is a melting pot of all of our personal influences and, when we wrote Catch Fire, we probably had The Stones, The Doors, and even AC/DC in mind. You end up with some kind of crazy mix that is hard to define.
“The title track is in Open G tuning on a Telecaster so you definitely hear some Stones influence,” Jullian continued. “We wanted a straightforward rock song to open our EP and gigs. It’s quite simple but always one of the best moments on stage.”
Another highlight is Iron Memory, with the way it starts slowly then builds and builds to a rocking crescendo guaranteed to have audiences going nuts. “This building throughout the song is an idea that came from Michael, our producer on this EP,” Kevin said, explaining how the song came to sound the way it does now. “It was initially full of instruments right from the start, but when he heard us play an acoustic version, he was like: ‘Guys, let’s just start it with the guitar and the voice, there’s no need for more. It’s gospel music!’ We gave it a go and the final result is quite surprising.”
“It all started with this guitar melody,” Jullian went on. “We jammed on it and found the rest afterwards. The first versions were actually more oriented towards folk and country music. There are no rules here but generally the music comes first when we are writing. Jamming is our favourite exercise so we often start the writing process with guitar riffs. This could be linked to my love for heavy metal and hard rock bands, where guitars usually start the show.
Funnily enough, Kevin quite often says: “Hey, don’t you think this guitar is a bit heavy?” by way of letting me know when I may have gone a bit far but, luckily, we always find a compromise.”
Another track on the EP is Church Avenue, a superb track that’s tailor made for live performance with its heavy Southern American feel and ‘size’. “You can definitely hear our Creedence influences on that one, especially with the use of tremolos on the guitar and reverb,” Kevin agreed. “We changed it quite a bit for live situations, adding slide guitar and James’ harmonica work, which sounds great, with some kind of a swamp rock vibe. It is better than the original studio version and it always works very well onstage.
“We are constantly working on our sound, trying new ways of playing a song and make it better for gigs. We’ve slowly added keyboard and harmonica thanks to James and his harmonica solos are always a blast: people love him on stage.”
These slight musical differences make the overall sound of Jupiter Way stand out; a sound which was first in evidence when the guys heard those first songs that stopped them in their tracks. “When I was a kid, I randomly watched a French TV show called Nulle Part Ailleurs. AC/DC were playing T.N.T and Metallica The Memory Remains,” Jullian recalled.
“In a few seconds I was converted and knew there would be no come back from that. The power of those melodies, I couldn’t believe it. It had to be the best music in the world; there was no other way. I picked up my first guitar right after that. If I had to save just one album from a sinking ship though it would be Highway 61 Revisited from Bob Dylan…but knowing the current music industry, I would be quite surprised to find this album on any ship in the first place!”
For Kevin, that impetus was a little different. “The Doors, definitely. I always loved to sing but when I discovered them, it really changed it all. Their music brings you elsewhere. There is not a single bad song with Jim Morrison which still amazes me today. I started to learn all their songs … literally every song … but I especially remember falling in love with Soul Kitchen.
“If there was an album I’d save from a sinking ship though, it would be a tricky choice but I would still say The Rolling Stones’ The Brussels Affair. It’s an official bootleg they recently released as part of their Stone Archive, but it is definitely their best live recorded performance.”
So, what’s next? “We just released our new single video for Trouble is Mine and we’ll start a competition with our fans in a few days,” Jullian said. “We are on screen most of the time but there is also a third character hidden in the film. Nobody has spotted it so far so the trick is working it out. The first three people to tell us precisely where & when the hidden character appears will receive a prize: a physical copy single, posters and much more. All you need to do is to like our Facebook page and shout us a private message, via FB or on firstname.lastname@example.org
“We’re also releasing a new E.P in autumn, and it will be awesome,” Kevin assured us. “This time, we want to innovate with classic rock/blues music and we’ve come up with some ideas that we’re really excited about. The big goal for us though is to find a record deal – hello Earache Records, Alive records, if you see us – and we hope this will help. For now, we’re going to promote this E.P and the new EP as much as we can and – of course – keep going with gigs, which are always great experiences.”
For More Information & Gig Details: http://www.jupiterwayband.com
To Read the Review of Catch Fire: https://planetmosh.com/jupiter-way
Interview by Chris High