DON’T be deceived by their name (which the band admit themselves is lamentable) - Psychojet are a highly-talented bunch of musicians capable of unleashing post-rock soundscapes at the drop of a hat.
The band - made up of guitarists Peter Craig and Adam, Lewis Woods on bass and Philly Emerson on drums - have been together less than a year. In that short space of time they’ve released their debut album and played at a number of well-known venues in Belfast.
Lewis (30), Peter (28) and Philly (25), who are all from Lurgan, started out as a wedding band called Meridius. Any mention of them being a wedding band makes them cringe.
Bassist Lewis said: “Out of frustration we always had something going on the side. As a wedding band we played what other people wanted us to play, but the side project was what we wanted to play.”
Obvious comparisons have been drawn with And So I Watch You From A Far given that both outfits are from Northern Ireland and play intense music stripped of vocals.
“We don’t mind the comparison,” said Philly, the band’s drummer. “They’re a great band.”
Collectively the band share a love of Explosions in the Sky while Lewis and Peter also admire the alternative sounds of The Cure, The Smiths and Manic Street Preachers.
Philly is a fan of Cloudkicker, Coheed and Cambria while Adam cites sixties guitar music as a big influence. Lewis insisted that Rush also got a mention in the section concerning the band’s inspirations.
The bass player continued by explaining how the band got their name: “We had no name for the side project so we just called ourselves Side Project.
“The name Psychojet came from someone who misheard the name when we told them we were called Side Project.”
The band are in agreement that the name is ‘desperate’, but it has grown on them (like a fungus, suggested Adam).
Philly said: “The one thing the name Psychojet has going for it is it’s unique. When you Google ‘Psychojet’ the only results that come up are relating to us.”
Guitarist Peter added: “We’ve released an album so it’s too late to change it now.”
At the beginning of 2012 the band decided to take their music a bit more seriously.
Peter said: “That’s when we put an ad up for another guitarist and Adam answered.
“When Adam joined he helped us to push things on. Up to then we’d be happy just to come in and jam. We’d written songs but didn’t think we were anywhere near ready for a gig.
“Adam was with us three weeks and we’d recorded three tracks.”
Psychojet’s first gig was in Lavery’s in Belfast closely followed by a show in the Institute in Lurgan.
Since then they’ve gone on to play venues such as The Pavilion, Voodoo, The Limelight and Auntie Annie’s in Belfast as well as Sunflowerfest in Hillsborough.
Philly said: “We entered the Battle of the Bands in the Pavilion to gain experience and ended up winning it. There were 16 bands in it and it took place over three nights. The money we got for that we used to record our debut album.”
‘The Sea Is Never Full’ was released in December of last year.
Lewis explained how the band come up with their songs: “We all have our own ideas to bring to the table,” he said.
“Usually Pete or Adam come up with a riff and Philly and I mess about with the timing. Everyone has an equal input into it.”
Their sound has been described as math rock, described in layman’s terms by Adam as: “Just kind of fiddling about with timings.”
Adam added: “I think the most interesting stuff coming out these days is instrumental music. It’s not held back by lyrics which makes it much more powerful.”
Lewis and Philly are members of the Emmanuel Church where the band practice at least once a week.
All of the band are married and living in Lurgan apart from Adam who is the group’s eligible bachelor living in Belfast.
It’s fair to say the band have worldwide appeal with the album having been downloaded in Japan, Peru, Chili, Argentina and Mexico.
In offering an explanation for the global appeal Philly said: “We’ve had coverage on a couple of online review shows.”
Adam added: “The fact our music doesn’t have lyrics also means it travels well. We keep our songs tight with a focus on melody. We want something that people can hum and whistle rather than vast expanses of sound that people have switched off from after five minutes.”
The band favour unique timings and the second track on their debut album ‘Fibonacci’ is based around the eponymous mathematical series.
When it was suggested that ‘Fibonacci’ could be the cleverest song ever written, Adam made the amendment: “I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s the cleverest song ever written... by Psychojet.”
The band are on Facebook and Twitter and you can listen to some of their tracks and buy their debut album via http://psychojet.bandcamp.com