SuperJimenez’s debut album Bang was a long time in the making. After signing to Reekus Records in 2006, the band left after only one single, unhappy with the labels attempts to pigeonhole them. But their newfound freedom quickly took a hit, when guitarist Rhys was deported back to Australia for nine months. Bang finally came out earlier this month. State’s review gave the album a grilling, and was the cause of one of this website’s more heated discussions. In the spirit of fairness, State met with vocalist Ronan and bassist Nick, to talk about the band and hear their side of the story.
So, SuperJimenez, where does the name come from?
There’s no great story behind it to be honest, it just came about as a result of a couple of coincidences really. Two things happened to Ronan in the same week. He watched the movie -The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada’, a story about the main character’s search for the lost town of Jimenez. The same week Penelope Jimenez was featured on the front cover of Playboy magazine. Ronan was given a copy of it by friends as a birthday present (he’s a good liar!). The name stuck. We added the -Super’.
Give us a brief history of SuperJimenez. How did you get to this point?
We started out in 2005. We sent a few rough demos to a few independent record labels, and we were offered a development deal with Reekus Records. So we moved to Dublin from Galway, where Ronan had started out as a singer-songwriter, to get closer to the music scene and the label. We rented a house together and practiced, wrote music and demoed as often as we could. Our guitarist left soon after, and a few days later, Rhys turned up on our doorstep in response to an ad we placed on Daft.ie for the room that our previous guitarist had vacated. He carried a Fender Strat. We jammed and we clicked.
In April 2006, we released -Helicopters’ on Reekus and landed some good gigs, a bit of radio play and an unexpected Top 20. Things slowed a bit after that though, the excitement died down and relationships with the label strained a little. They wanted us to choose a direction and define ourselves as either an Indie or -Bad Boy Pop’ band.
Was that an easy decision?
Well, as we saw it, there was no real decision to make. We weren’t going to change anything or change the way we wrote music or performed so we decided to work without the label and go it alone. We released Beau ourselves as a radio-only single. We could only afford to manufacture a hundred copies. Then we worked for a bit and saved enough so we could release our third single, -Faye’.
You had an interesting way of promoting Faye, right?
Yeah, we dedicated a MySpace page to girls named Faye and asked them to send us pictures for inclusion on the cover for the single. It got 30,000 hits or so in a few weeks, and we were sent over 1,000 photos. The idea got a lot of press attention and created quite a buzz. Patrick Wilson, a member of Weezer said the song made his ears happy. That was pretty cool!
And then came the problems’¦
Yeah, our guitarist, Rhys, who’s Australian, had his visa renewal application rejected and was asked to leave Ireland. He was gone for 9 months. We canvassed local TDs and got some help from a family solicitor. We argued with the Immigration Board that he was a necessary and vital part of our business. Rhys was eventually granted a special one-year visa. But any further renewal is subject to our success this year! Rhys getting back really pushed the band on. We wasted no time and got straight down to finishing the album. He arrived back in Ireland last December and -Bang’ was mixed, mastered and manufactured by the end of February. We produced the remainder of the tracks together with Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters) and Liam Mulvaney (Asylum Studios).
How has Bang been received?
Feedback has generally been positive. Most reviewers gave it 3 or 4/5. It has been described as summery, upbeat, radio-friendly pop. Bang is the product of three years work, and all four of us put every penny we earned from our jobs into the album. It cost about 12k in total. We don’t expect to make our money back; it’s more about building a profile and getting a fan base.
Bang was given a harsh going over in a State review recently. How did you feel about that?
It didn’t affect us much at all; it was actually interesting to get a different perspective on the record. Some of it was harsh, like the part about our lyrics. We didn’t mind our lyrics being slated, but we didn’t like them being called meaningless. They might not have meant anything to the reviewer, but they mean a lot to us. We were also a little confused by all the references to us being Indie. Our Wikipedia site says we’re an Indie band, but we didn’t write that. I mean, does anyone really know what Indie is anymore? How is it defined as a genre? Most people think we sound more like a pop/punk band. As for it sounding -distinctly Irish’, we can’t really see how that’s a bad thing.
The review left us nothing to grasp and say -well at least we’re alright at that’. It was honest though, and that’s a good thing. That’s how it should be.
The review received a lot of comments. What did you make of them?
Well some were good, some bad. The comments about our live performances were slightly callous. We played a lot of shit gigs in the early days; we have no problem admitting that and we knew our gigs were a bit bland visually. We made an effort to change that; we wanted to give our performances more energy and dynamic. We dance a bit, we jump around, we jump off the stage. It’s not contrived; we’re just having a good time, enjoying the music. Besides, our twat dancing has been refined over time and with a lot practice! But we take all of this with a pinch of salt and move on. We don’t expect everyone to like us. It’s fine.
If you could do it all again, would you change anything?
We’re very proud of the album and what we’ve achieved. We wouldn’t change a thing.
As published on State.ie, May 2009.