Interview with We Were Promised Jetpacks: Keeping It Composed

Since their humble beginnings dating back to 2008, We Were Promised Jetpacks’ transient and mesmerizing instrumental dynamic was brought to life within an emulating post-punk-inspired revolution that also paved the way for fellow colleagues like Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and Interpol to shine in the mainstream.

Fixating alternative rock enthusiasts just with their name alone, We Were Promised Jetpacks’ delightfully atmospheric indie rock sound made an eccentric first impression on their 2009 debut, These Four Walls, especially within the album’s airplay-friendly singles like “Quite Little Voices” and “It’s Thunder And It’s Lightning.”

This year, the Scotland-based quintet made a triumphant return into the limelight with the release of their third studio album, Unravelling, their first studio full-length since their sophomore LP, In The Pit Of The Stomach.

While the band was on the road on their latest U.S. tour in support of Unravelling, I had the chance to catch up with guitarist and keyboardist Stuart McGachan on the band’s time back in the States along since the record’s release.

Also briefly getting into full details of Unravelling’s writing process, it is clear that the band maintained a natural sense of composure throughout their time working on this record despite the dramatic gap in between their last album release.

You actually started your U.S. tour a few weeks back. How have these first string of shows been treating you so far? What else are you looking forward to about touring in America the most?

We’re looking forward to just being back here in America for the next five or six weeks or so, especially because haven’t been here for a while. We haven’t played Canada in the past two and a half years or something like that as well, so yeah, we’re excited to come back here and play the whole country.

Do you feel like the anticipation for this record has brought out a lot of excitement for this tour for both the band your fans?

Yeah, absolutely—I think that it is certainly exciting for all of us since the album came out like, two weeks ago, so we really hope for it to get a lot of interest. That’s like, a short time for people to get into the album, but maybe people will tell their friends about us and by the next time we come back, there will be more shows and more people will be able to get to know us.

What are some common remarks that you’ve heard about the reception of Unravelling from your American fanbase compared to your UK and European fanbase so far?

Hmm… I think it has been 99 percent very, very good. I think because of the fact that the record came out two weeks later over there than it did in Europe, from the reviews online, we’ve been getting a lot of good feedback, and now a lot more people are hearing it as we are doing this tour.

How was the writing process different compared to your previous two records?

Compared to our first two albums, we wanted to make this third album a much more comfortable process.

This one is different because we recorded it at home and mastered it at home unlike the other ones, so it was less stressful and I think the album benefited from it.

Did you or anyone else in the band experience any overwhelming pressure to exceed any expectations leading up to release date Unravelling?

Not really—I think we all wanted to take as much time as it would take to make a record as good as possible. There weren’t really any expectations for us, we just wanted to get more people to listen to us and tour in support the record as much as possible.

Would you say that the album title, Unravelling, to a certain extent plays a role in conveying any personal or lyrical themes of self-discovery or reevaluation throughout the record by any chance?

Yeah, I would say that it was more of a lyrical theme more than anything else.

So, after your United States tour, are there any specific plans you have in the works for the year ahead?

Yeah, by the time we head back home, it will be November, and we’ll be enjoying some time off in December (laughs). And for about a month, I think we’ll start writing some new [music.] I think it would be good to start writing while we have time, you know? And then, I think by the end of that, I know we were talking about maybe doing some more shows, and the list goes on.

We’ll do more stuff in Europe and in America and hopefully, we’ll try to do as many festivals as we can.

We Were Promised Jetpacks will be playing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Nov. 21 and at Webster Hall in Manhattan on Nov. 22. Unravelling is available now. For information, go to