In Conversation with The Feather's frontman, Jack Brogan
Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Jack Brogan is from Manchester, now studying History at the University of York. Jack is currently researching the rise in popularity of black musicians in 1960s Britain for his final year dissertation. He was a guitarist for the band Plastic People, and is now leading the group titled, The Feathers.
Where did the name Plastic People come from?
When we started as a band I was really into Radiohead, I guess I wanted to be all sad and complicated, I came up with the name because I was listening to Fake Plastic Trees. It was the name we all agreed on. This was right before we played at Stone Roses in York, we thought it would create intrigue.
Names are definitely more likely to gain meaning opposed to be written with meaning. What is the genre in mind for The Feathers?
During lockdown I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting, from indie-rock to chilled ethereal sounds, and eventually I found exactly what I wanted to do. I’ve always written songs with the aim of sounding good live, I’ve written for many reasons, but at the end of the day if you don’t sound good live, what’s the point? The music now has a very classic sound, I’d say its somewhere past Brit-Pop but not quite at Grunge.
Why is it important for you to sound good live?
Live music for me is always what I’ve been attracted to most. The real money for musicians now is in live music. Especially for Indie and Rock, they’re not always going to be in the charts. I definitely don’t write to be in the charts, my music is personal. The most connection I’ve had with people is in live performances, and that for me is more important.
Do you have any guilty pleasure in terms of music?
Not so much with music, I think Mamma Mia is class. I’d openly admit that Harry Styles and The Weekend are creating some amazing music. I don’t think there’s any music I wouldn’t admit to enjoying.
Do you have a persona when you go on stage?
At first I tried to be someone else, but with time, I just decided to enjoy myself. My previous lead singer had far more presence, when I get on stage again I’ll hopefully have something similar.
Is writing a personal experience for you? What’s the process?
The music has to come first. I find the melody and put the lyrics on top, the writing comes from me, and my experiences. A lot of my early stuff is about a past relationship, then all my songs came out in the minor key. So I'm starting to write more about me in the now. I have a song out called “Something Missing” and “Second Place”, those are solo singles. They were me expressing my feelings in a particular moment.
Do you mind people knowing what your songs are about?
Some of the things I write are beyond me, but they fit and that leaves room for interpretation. Turn Blue by the Black Keys, I read that song in my own way and it wasn’t anyway near what it originally meant.
Are there any lyrics that really stand out to you?
Reptilia by The Strokes writes, “The rooms on fire but she’s still fixing her hair”, I think it’s a great commentary on people who would pick up a jacket before leaving a fire. There’s a lyric by Alt-J where it says “I’m gonna turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet”, which is an odd lyric, but it is a great lyric. It could mean anything.
Do you have an aesthetic in mind for the band?
When I was in Plastic People, I said that the rule was “you have to wear something Fred Perry”, to keep it all uniform. I really like the Rocker style, leather or denim jackets with photos taken in a sepia filter. It’s all in my vision. In Plastic People we went quite smart to stand out and be different. The top I wore for one of our gigs referenced Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip’s song, Sweet Leaf of the North, Iggy Pop named it the “best song of the decade”. It’s about a leaf that never left his windshield when he was on tour. It just has a really raw element to it.
Do you have a gig that has really stayed with you?
Kamasi Washington, he’s a jazz musician who writes for Kendrick Lamar. He was amazing. I’ve seen Blossoms fourteen times, always made of point of seeing them, so they’ve stayed with me also.
Did you like Blossoms new Christmas song?
No, I’m a little bit bitter about it because I’ve been with them since the beginning. I remember listening to If You Think This Is Real Life and I thought, what has happened? Yeah, they let me down.
Is there anything you’d like to see change in the music industry?
There needs to be more outlets for small local bands. Like a showcase night or a more structured open mic, so that there’s a way to say, “there’s a lot more artists out there”. You don’t need a lot of equipment or a big gig to do it.
There’s so much evidence to suggest that art and music brings joy and life to a community, so I completely agree. What’s the first thing you’re going to do when lockdown is completely over?
There is too much to do, but I think the first thing I want to do is go to the pub, have a drink, and of course do a gig again. A simple answer but I think that’s what we all need.
Jack Brogan's single Something Missing can be found on Spotify, and The Feathers can be found on Instagram under the name @thefeathers.band