Jeramiah Ferrari: “What We Are Is Leighfers”

By Liam Williams     20/1/2015

“Sex bong.” Bass player Hanson Pollitt completes the song title after I had left the word ‘butterfly’ hanging over the conversation. The table instantly erupts in laughter as the other band members remember one of their earliest efforts, ‘butterfly sex bong’. “We were in Lilford Park, we were high and there was loads of butterflies,” lead singer Ryan Barton explains the story behind the hilariously titled song, “And I just said ‘imagine how cool it would be if you had a butterfly inside a bong’, just a real stoner conversation”. “So where did the sex part come in?” Josh Aitchison, lead guitarist for the band points out. “Well me [Ryan] and Hanson were having sex at the time.” The whole room is once again flooded in laughter as drummer for the band Stuart Welch breaks his repetitive hand tapping to give a lively knee slap.

The conversation maintains its light-heartedness throughout as the boys from Leigh joke about coming from a town no-one’s ever heard of before. “What we are is Leighfers,” states Barton “but no-one knows what Leigh is.” “So when we’re in London we just say were from Manchester” adds Aitchison before Pollitt and Welch chime in “it makes us sound more cultured.” The small room that’s tucked away behind a winding staircase at the top of The Barfly is completely bare except from the two torn and tattered sofas surrounding a decaying coffee table. As I sit around the table with the band members of Jeremiah Ferrari, noise from the Camden high street creeps in through the top guided window which is barely ajar.

Jeramiah Ferrari have been developing their distinct Rock infused Reggae sound since the release The Cactus Killer E.P in 2011. “We probably couldn’t tell you one band that were doing it in Leigh at that time, we didn’t know of any” Barton tries to explain that there was no-one in their Greater Manchester area who was playing Ska or Reggae when they were. When asked why they chose to play Reggae Ryan simply reply’s “we just thought let’s do something different, so we tried to mix that [Reggae] with our Rock and Punk influences.”

Since the release of their self-titled album in 2014 the band have been touring tirelessly across the U.K and Europe filling the bill at a number of festivals including Boomtown, Beatherder and Sol Festival. This has given them the chance to meet and tour with some of their musical idols, including The Wailers, Steel Pulse and The Blockheads, the latter of which they will be touring with again this year. “It’s top, we’ve done a couple of gigs with the blockheads, they’re great musicians and a really good band to see live.” On the subject of meeting musical idols Barton remembers an incident he had with UB40 “I really embarrassed myself with UB40… they were playing can’t help falling in love with you and shouting ‘Ryan, come up on stage and sing’, which would have been mint, but I was having a piss.” He exclaims concealing his face behind his cupped hands in shame.

“Were focusing now on some new stuff, we’re going to be playing some of it tonight” Barton reveals to me when asked whether the band have started writing the follow up to their debut album, “It’s kinda changed a little bit.” The rest of the band agree “it’s a little bit more indie, we’re trying to take in the influences of The Smiths and The Police, so it’s like indie-ska.” I’m left to imagine the outcome of this new direction as I end my interview with one of Britain’s most exciting new reggae bands.


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