When he was a kid growing up in Blackheath, Jack PeÃ±ate rebelled. Not by going out all night, being a nuisance, binge drinking and alike. But by deciding clearly that south Londonâ€™s newly, negative interpretation of street culture simply wasnâ€™t for him â€“ so by doing something more positive instead. â€œA lot of our friends were so afraid of looking not cool theyâ€™d be going out being dicks, wearing hoodies, trying to mug people. It was so embarrassing. I decided to stay out of that whole fake world. So we all decided to watch films and listen to music and put on festivals in our back gardens. There was a lot of garden action.â€
Back garden events like their No Drummers Allowed festival or the film they made as 17-year-olds involving a flight simulation game, a pretend airplane crash, and flesh-eating zombies clearly had an impact on both PeÃ±ate and his best friend, Felix White. They started a band together â€“ Jackâ€™s Basement â€“ which eventually split into two; one became The Maccabees, the other PeÃ±ateâ€™s band, where heâ€™s backed by friends Joel Porter (bass) and Alex Robins (drums).
In autumn 2006, PeÃ±ate signed to XL Recordings, via hip club and label Young Turks. â€œWhen you sign to a label you get to take copies of all the records theyâ€™ve put out,â€ he says. â€œBut with XL I already had them all. It was well annoying. Thereâ€™s a strain of quality and a love of music there.â€ And yes, PeÃ±ate is his real name. â€œIâ€™m an eighth Spanish. My friends always take the piss â€“ â€˜youâ€™re more Welsh than Spanish!â€™ â€“ but itâ€™s the Spanish eighth that beats my heart.â€
Right now, the 22-year-old is riding high. Of course, thereâ€™s the joyful, soulful, indie-rockabilly of chart-topping single â€˜Torn on the Platformâ€™ and 2006â€™s limited edition â€˜Second, Minute or Hour,â€™ which first alerted the world to his energetic pop concoctions. Then thereâ€™s his debut album, Matinee. Thatâ€™s not to mention two sold out UK tours, a brilliant Glastonbury set which included a blistering cover of Beats Internationalâ€™s â€˜Dub Be Good To Meâ€™, videos which look set to enter straight into the classic file (think A-Haâ€™s â€˜Take On Meâ€™ turned into a Victorian pop-up theatre) and colourful, doodle-magic artwork, all penned by PeÃ±ate himself.
The creative gene is strong in family PeÃ±ate. His granddad, Mervyn Peake, wrote and illustrated the Gormenghast trilogy. PeÃ±ate had started his Classics degree at UCL â€“ heâ€™s one of a minority of pop stars with a favourite Greek myth (itâ€™s Sissyphus should you wonder what) â€“ when he hooked up with the indie club and label, Young Turks. It soon became clear that music was going to win out over Homeric script. Well, in terms of his day job, anyway: â€œI love Classics. Thereâ€™s a lot to learn from people who lived 2,000 years ago.â€
So which are the records that formed him? Well, for starters thereâ€™s Prince, Todd Rundgren, JJ Cale and Daryl Hall and John Oates. â€œI like stuff thatâ€™s soulful, happy and intelligent â€“ and I donâ€™t like music ironically. I donâ€™t understand that â€˜guilty pleasuresâ€™ thing. Why should it be guilty?â€
PeÃ±ateâ€™s newly-trademarked dance styles have also marked him out as a trenchant individualist. For those whoâ€™ve missed his electrifying live shows â€“ and heâ€™s done enough of them, touring pretty much non-stop for the past 18 months, though the faint-hearted should watch out for the regular stage invasions during â€˜Torn On The Platformâ€™ â€“ or the early black and white footage of â€˜Second, Minute or Hourâ€™ live, itâ€™s a kind of rockabilly skank that pitches up into a lurching, Breakfast Club â€˜80s kick-out. Itâ€™s a cool manoeuvre. â€œIâ€™ve always been into dancing,â€ he grins. â€œMe and the boys at schoolâ€™d lock n pop in a circle for hours and hours.â€ And the rockabilly thing? â€œI listen to a lot of soul and folk and if you speed it up it sounds like rockabilly. I guess Iâ€™m egging it on in photos.â€
Produced in the main by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Editors and Kasabian), Matinee is a positive pop gem and a brilliant introduction to the super-talented young man behind it. Recorded in London, Los Angeles and Philadelphia â€“ the latter thanks to a recording session with electro hip-hop maestro RJD2 on the track â€˜Learning Linesâ€™ â€“ itâ€™s possibly one of the most playable records of the year, one youâ€™ll want to rewind and rewind and rewind â€˜til you can sing along to all of it. â€œI didnâ€™t write this album to sell loads of records,â€ Jack says. â€œI did it because I wanted to create something joyous.â€
â€œA musical approach that lurches from quirky, ska-inflicted punk popâ€¦to heartfelt, soul-tinged balladsâ€ Q
â€œHis super-fast, super-funky sets are astoundingâ€ GQ
â€œSouth London soul boy poet Jack Penate is the UKâ€™s best new singer-songwriterâ€ NME
â€œAn irresistible forceâ€ Daily Mail
“Itâ€™s clear to hear in his lyrics that there’s more depth to Jack’s performance than mere spectacle.” BBC.co.uk
Jack PeÃ±ateâ€™s debut album, Matinee, is out now, with the single, â€˜Second, Minute or Hourâ€™.
SUNDAY 21ST OCTOBER
SPRING & AIRBRAKE
~Please note this show was rescheduled from Saturday 13th October â€“ original tickets are valid for the new date~