If your mum hates your band name you're doing something right
Jockstrap aren’t messing around tonight. Running slightly late as usual, I discover Taylor Skye and Georgia Ellery sat in the Jai Krishna curry house in Stroud Green (their favourite spot) having already ordered two thalis before I’ve even arrived. “Sorry, but we haven’t really eaten anything today,” smiles Ellery, offering me a glass of wine across the table.
Eating with strangers has never really been my forte, so already I’m desperately glancing around searching for an icebreaker. Fortunately, I spy a holdall sat next to Skye. “Have you guys been at practice?” I blurt out, with a barely concealed note of triumph in my voice. “Oh, no, I’m going on a five-day meditation retreat,” comes the matter-of-fact reply. “I know, it’s kind of a radical thing to do, but it’s a bit like going for a run – it’s not natural, but you do it to have a better life.”
“It’s quite rare that you’ve realised that at an early age,” adds Ellery, her eyes following the two ginormous thalis that have just been delivered to our table. “I feel like most people don’t worry about this kind of stuff until they’re a lot older?”
“Yeah, it’s weird,” says Skye. “The year before I started school I had a few weeks of being really broken down without any reason for it, and that made me realise that I needed to take my mental health seriously. These days, though, I feel like it’s become the basis for a lot of what I do. It’s more than a defence against breakdowns and more of how I live if you know what I mean?”
Sitting in curry houses chatting about meditation and smartphone addiction isn’t the most conventional way to start an interview, but, then, Jockstrap aren’t really a conventional band. An eclectic mix of influences have coalesced around Skye and Ellery, and their sound is a glorious hodge-podge of pop, jazz and synthetic sounds, that effortlessly manages to navigate romantic, big band-style compositions through kaleidoscopic seas of electronic dream pop.
“We were in the same halls at the Guildhall School of Music,” Ellery recalls when I ask her about how Jockstrap got their start. “I was listening to a lot of Paul Simon and writing songs when I came across Taylor’s productions on Facebook. I had all these bare bones of songs, and I started to envision them through his aesthetic. It made perfect sense to start making music with him.”
“To be fair, we didn’t have any specific influences, we both liked what each other did and we just thought it would be interesting to see what it sounded like meshed together,” continues Skye, picking up the story. “We didn’t start out trying to make a certain sound or anything like that, in a way, it’s almost like we came at it the other way.”