With the Band

 

Emily Sands with Jon Judas of Airy Fairy

Studio Session [01.20.17]

The Airy Fairies, oh our good boys from Baddon have been on hiatus for some time now. Where have they gone? Where are they going? What have they cooked up for us these days?

I was fortunate enough to have a little sit-down with Fairies’ front man, Jon Judas yesterday. We chatted about new albums, past successes, a return to Baddon and what has kept them away.

Emily: So, Jon, thank you for meeting up with me today. It’s been too long since we saw each other last. I still remember that first interview…

Jon Judas: [laughs] Oh God, that was ages ago!

Emily: It really was! I’m glad we’re back at it again. We have lots to discuss – so thank you for joining me.

Jon: Of course, Ems. I’m excited – there’s lots in store.

Emily: Oh yeah? Please, share!

Jon: [shrugs] Well, we’re getting the band back together. [laughs]

Emily: So the rumours are true!

Jon: [laughs] Sure. The Baddon boys are back, as they say.

Emily: I’m ecstatic to hear the confirmation then! You’ve heard it here first, folks! So, can you say more about what’s in store? Are we looking at another album in the works? Some touring?

Jon: Yeah, it’s about time. I think we’ve all been holding our breath for it. A little promo stuff is in the works right now though. We, uh, got signed last month, actually. So, we’re pretty stoked. Manager’s got up booked for the Serenade in May and some gigs round town before that. Then it’s back to the drawing board for the second album. Technically, it would be the first though… Anyway, we’re quite excited about it. Penny especially. We were all itching to get back to the music and back to Baddon, of course.

Emily: That’s brilliant news, congratulations! I think I spoke to your manager, David Hudson over the phone to schedule the set list. So, for all the listeners, Baddon hosts an annual music fest called Seaside Serenade and it features local bands from the area.

Jon: Thank you! Everything kind of happened extremely quickly, but I’ve always kept an arsenal of songs under my belt and just hashed out some ideas with the guys when there was time.

Emily: Right and so Penny Alexander… He’s been abroad for some time, right?

Jon: Yes, right. He was in Australia, working in travel.

Emily: Now, you mentioned looking forward to coming back to Baddon… Have you all been away then?

Jon: Er, well – yes and no. After school, we went separate ways for the most part. Penny went the farthest though. Dom (Dominik) and I were fairly local, actually, and visited Baddon often to see family. We kept in touch with Geordie (George) who was between here and England, but Wyn (Wynston) kind of went off the map. [laughs] I think he hitchhiked across the country, but we’re not too sure. He’s really uh, a private guy.

Emily: Hitchhiking, huh? Living life on the wild side, I guess?

Jon: [chuckles] He’s our rolling stone. [smiles] Maybe in another interview we can get him to talk about it. We did have a bit of trouble pinning him down for our small town reunion, but we managed and he decided to give it another go.

Emily: He made a good decision then! So what finally convinced him to come back?

Jon: I bought his ticket to see one of our favourites, the Last Shadow Puppets. [laughs] They were touring over here in the U.S. for their new album [Everything You’ve Come To Expect]. Being at the concert that night just ignited everything we’d done before and when we talked to Penny about it later he was really feeling off of our energy. He’s just like that, so it was unanimously decided. But he was a bit more than upset about missing the concert… So, he booked the first flight he could from Australia to get back and told me off for not inviting him to the concert. [laughs] He has an almost unhealthy obsession for Miles Kane. 

Emily: Um, I would be upset too! The Last Shadow Puppets are boss. What other bands or musicians have you been influenced by?

Jon: Eh… [turns head thoughtfully] let’s see. We all love the Monkeys. Not the Monkees, well, we like them too, but [chuckles] anyway, yeah. Arctic Monkeys. Donovan. Bob Dylan. The Beatles. Interpol. The Kooks. There’s just so many that influence our musical tastes. Penny has a running list of his top five favourites so he’ll have to share ‘em with you next time. Personally, I like indie bands, mostly. But I also listen to a ridiculous amount of The Temptations, my favourite. [smiles]

Emily: Wow, well I can definitely see the indie influence through your music and style. Motown is classic – good taste! I personally adore anything from Michael. I respect his artistry. And so the new album you said “is in the works”. What can we expect? More love ballads? Is it still indie or influenced by something else?

Jon: [chuckles] Thanks, thanks. Michael was incredible, yeah… iconic. I told the guys that I wanted a red leather jacket like him. They wouldn’t allow it. [laughs]

Emily: [laughs] Ohh, only MJ could pull it off.

Jon: Only!

Emily: So the new album…

Jon: Right, yeah, sorry… It’s still indie, yeah. And of course, there’s love songs. We all have plenty of stories to tell. There’s even one named after Penny…sort of [chuckles] But to be honest, it was hard at first to get into the swing of things again. We had so many ideas and thoughts about things… We grew so much being apart, but it just felt – we felt different. But not in a bad way. We had new loves, new heartbreaks, new trials and new experiences we wanted to share.

Emily: New love?

Jon: Is that what you picked up on? [chuckles, shaking his head] Yep. New love, here and there and everywhere.

Emily: So it sounds like we can expect a different sound maybe with this new album? Or is it an echo of your first – Airy Fairies?

Jon: It’s a far cry from the first really. I guess it’s like a second volume or somethin’. That’s our intention. We wanted to re-brand a bit, but also to thank Baddon for what it’s given to us instead of whinging about what it didn’t.

Emily: Oh, wise words Jon. I look forward to hearing the new album. You mentioned re-branding. What are your thoughts?

Jon: Ah, I just mean we want to reflect how we are currently – with our music, our looks, just the whole bit.

Emily: Oh, so we’ll still be calling you boys the Airy Fairies, eh?

Jon: Yeah, maybe the name stuck? I like it though. It fits how I felt and how I still feel. We’re just a bunch of dreamers, y’know? A bit idealistic and maybe too much, so that phrase just worked. 

Emily: Either way, you’ll still be our Baddon Boys. So, we have a new album in the works, gigs set up and the Serenade… You mentioned new love earlier… [nudge, nudge]

Jon: [laughs wildly] All right, all right – secret’s out! So, I have done a little something with Mariella [Jones]. Ya know, we call her, MJ.

Emily: Oooh, have you? Care to share? [raises an eyebrow]

Jon: [turns every shade of red, squirming a bit, chuckles] No, it’s just that – well, we made a tune together. That’s it. [combs through dark, curly hair with his hand] She warmed up to the idea after a bit of coaxing, since she claims that she hated being written about.

Emily: Right, I remember jamming out to [your song] ‘Mariella’.

Jon: [nods] Yeah, so I invited her to help out with some lyrics. She’s so creative and gives me such good advice and direction. She also studied English and poetry at college. So it was only natural that I would end up working with her. I wrote a newer version of the ‘Mariella‘ song, though.

Emily: Does she contribute vocally as well?

Jon: [smiles fondly] She does. She taps the hell outta the tambourine, too. [laughs] She’s a bit too shy sometimes on stage, but it’s too twee for me to be upset about.  

Emily: [claps happily] This is so exciting! I’m glad to hear of this new collab. It sounds like things are going well.

Jon: Yeah, I’m super stoked about everything. I can’t wait to get off my feet, get started with it all. I missed it – we missed it so much.

Emily: And we’ve missed you all. We hope we won’t have to miss you for  much longer, though. [winks] Jon, before we wrap up here, anything else you’d like to add? Any secrets to share?

Jon: [with a wink of his own] I don’t kiss and tell, Ems. You’ll have to suck it and see, I guess.

Emily: [laughs] You’ve heard it first here, folks! Airy Fairy will begin their small town tour in the next couple of weeks with a new album on the way. I’m Emily Sands and this has been Baddon Basement. Thanks a million, Jon. Come back to see us!

Jon: Will do. Thanks again, Em.

Special Thanks to:

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Featured exclusively on Baddon Basement Radio, 507 Station 12, The Garage Theatre, and Slow Jams – Only Jazz

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