Since forming in 2014, the five-piece pop-rock band, The Mocking Jays, have been building a name for themselves and crafting their unique and funky sound. The band is made up of Jacob Smith (lead vocals), Sam Dorrington (drums and vocals), Alex Hather (bass guitar and vocals), Lewis Hammond (lead guitar and vocals) and George Ramplin (rhythm guitar and vocals). Their latest single ‘Edge of Your Knife’ follows on from last year’s ‘Take You Home’ and exhibits their cool guitar riffs, bold percussion and powerful vocals. It is easily their strongest and sexiest single to date. They have a busy, festival-filled summer ahead of them but before that kicks off they took the time to answer some questions…
How long have you been a band and how did you come together?
Jacob, Alex and Sam all went to the same primary and secondary school together. Alex, Sam and Jacob were mates for years but didn’t get on too well in their younger years. There were a lot of bands in school and the three of them decided to start playing and writing music together whilst at college in 2013.
Jacob then met Lewis at his first part time job at the local Co-op. The two bonded over their mutual interest in music whilst stacking the shelves together. Lewis then joined the band in 2014. He offered a different approach and allowed us to explore our sound.
Having played on the Nottingham/Derby circuit with George for years, we asked him to join the band in 2017. It was Jacob’s idea actually. At the time he was playing guitar whilst singing and the material we were writing at the time was quite rhythmically complicated (for us). George entering the band as an extra guitarist and backing vocals meant that Jacob was able to concentrate on vocals and really explore being a front man and the ring leader of the band. We were also able to experiment with the guitar section and really find what we feel is a new, exciting and unique sound.
How did you decide on the band name? Were there any other possibilities?
Very long story short. We were under a different name for about a year or so. We started to create quite a name for ourselves around the local music scene until one day we logged into our social media to discover all our pages had been removed. It turned out a band with a similar and copyrighted name had reported us so we had to start again from scratch. It was annoying at the time but a blessing in disguise really!
We’d been booked for a few shows and really needed a name. One day a promoter asked us what we were called and Jacob came up with The Mocking Jays on the spot. He’d watched the Hunger Games the night before and that name stuck with him. The name didn’t really resonant with us at first but over time the name stuck and since then it’s copyrighted on various social media so no one can take it away from us now!
What is the inspiration behind your latest track ‘Edge of Your Knife’?
With Edge, there’s no real hidden meaning behind the track! Because the song came to us in the moment, everything including the lyrics is pretty spontaneous! We suppose it’s just about being rowdy to us but to others it means something completely different! That’s the beauty of music; it speaks to us in different ways!
What current bands do you look up to right now and aspire to be like?
Good question! At the minute, there’s a great mix of local and bigger bands that really inspire us to work hard and play hard. Far too many to name but here’s a few! For local bands, make sure to go and check out: Ashfields, Vega Bay, Soft Girls and Boys Club, These Wicked Rivers and The Memoirs. For bigger bands: Arctic Monkeys, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Kooks, The 1975, Cassia and The Hubbards.
What’s the proudest moment of your career so far?
Opening up the main stage at Bearded Theory in 2017. It was an amazing experience that we’ll always look back on with fond memories! We got to perform on the same stage as bands and artists such as SLAVES and Noel Gallagher. We even got our own dressing room and fridge which at the time was biblical! We’d definitely like our own dressing room fridge sometime soon!
If you could learn any instrument, what would it be?
Sam – Piano
Lewis – Saxophone
Alex – Piano
George – Accordion
Jacob – Sythn and Production
What song would you never get tired of listening to?
Sam – Chocolate, The 1975
Jacob – Robbers, The 1975
George – Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, John Mayer
Alex – Wolfman, The Front Bottoms
Lewis – Old Man, Neil Young
What are you currently working on and do you have any upcoming shows?
Good question…we can’t say too much for now! All we can say is keep checking our social media for new updates, it’s all very exciting! In regards to shows, you can check us out on the dates below:
Saturday 11th August – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Sunday 26th August – Osfest, Derbyshire
Sunday 2nd September – Party in the Park, Alfreton
Thursday 20th September – The Venue, Derby
Thursday 27th September – The Old Angel, Nottingham
Tuesday 9th October – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Follow the links below to discover The Mocking Jay’s music:
By Eveline Vouillemin – Up&Coming