Warbly Jets Bring “Alive” to RBC, Deep Ellum

The L.A.-based band, Warbly Jets, played last Friday at RBC in Deep Ellum. With a catchy single guiding their national tour and building buzz for their debut album, Warbly Jets have an undeniable potential. The four-piece band, founded by Samuel Shea and Julien O'neill, has an edge that matches their Britpop aesthetic. Their high-energy performance was unmatched as Sam jumped on top of amps for his guitar solo and Julien pawed up and down the length of the keyboard for a powerful progression.

In anticipation for their first full-length album, listen to “Alive” on repeat (like we have) and stay tuned for Warbly Jets to announce their debut album release date. Until then, get to know band, as we sat down with Samuel and Julien to learn a little more about this promising young band.

So why did you guys decide to start this band?

Sam: Well we love playing music, we played in different bands in the New York scene together We were both fed up with dealing with the other bands we were in and wanted to try something new. Also, we were coming from this place of creating music in the studio more so then getting up with buddies and jamming. Really it was a lot of experimenting with sounds and working out in the studio. That was what ultimately brought us together, just playing music together in the studio in Brooklyn.

Where does the name Warbly Jets come from?

Julien: We had been looking for a name for a while. We had the music before we had the name and the direction, which was a bit of a backwards way to go about things. But it was when we were recording some demos and Sam was playing his guitar part with this rolling jet phaser pedal — which was an old jet phaser used on “Who’s That Lady” by the Isley Brothers. And, I just thought the sound sounded kind of “warbly”, which is a word common to me, but not necessarily very common to a lot of people. So after a long struggle, it was a couple months after that incident even happened that I woke up one morning and remembered it was something I’d possibly consider and threw it in the mix and it just happened to stick.

Sam: I think it also represents a disposition of power and weakness. Like the word jets being a strong word and warbly being …

Julien: Well warbly by definition is a quiver in sound, and jet being such a strong sonic body. It creates that balance.

Sam: It’s almost like Led Zeppelin or something. It doesn’t sound anything like the band name, but it’s the same idea that it’s something so big and bombastic.

Do you feel that the name represents your music as well?

Sam: Yeah, definitely.

Julien: Yeah I think so, for sure. We’re big fans of effects and some sort of sonic affectations. So I think that word helps describe and drive the direction we’re headed towards.

Who are some of your influences that have shaped your sound musically?

Julien: I think everyone in a band comes from different places and you sort of have to meet in the middle where everything fits. We’re very inspired by a lot of the old Manchester stuff, from the late 80’s early 90’s, as well as the Creation records stuff from the 90’s, be it Oasis, Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, that sort of territory. And it sort of ranges from all over the place. But I’d say it mostly comes from guitar-based music, English or American.

Your first single “Alive”, is a very powerful song with a catchy chorus. How did that song come about?

Sam: Me and Dan, the bassist in the band, wrote that one. It was after we had been for a while, in my opinion, shooting in the dark almost with writing songs since we had formed the band with the four of us here. We were trying to write all kinds of different things — less shooting in the dark and more experimenting, as I said me and Julien meeting over experimentation.

Julien: When we expanded to include Dan and Justin, the rhythm section, we started writing a bit more with everyone else and tried to conceptualize more of a record. Having a more narrowed in direction for what that would be. Taking some of the old songs we had already written, and rebuild and reshape, adding in some new nuances.

Sam: So basically, we had had a conversation about writing some more high-energy rock songs. And then Dan and I wrote that three days later in his garage in 30 minutes. We wrote the lyrics in one day after that.

Your music video was just released a couple days ago, can you talk about the concept behind the video?

Julien: It was done with a friend Steven Johnson, who’s worked in the music video world for quite some time. He did a motorcycle documentary that we really liked, that our friends, Night Beats, were on the soundtrack for. And so him and Ryan had somewhat of a report, we showed Steven our stuff, and he had this whole team that was excited about it, like we’ll record it in this studio, here’s what I want to do, everything like that. So it was really mostly his idea and concept. They made it really easy on us. Nothing about it was something we were like no, no, no, no. We never had that moment, like this sucks. So it was super easy, we were all pretty agreeable.

Sam: I feel like I had all those moments leading up to it actually happening, and then once we walked in and saw it.., We talked about it so many times, like the three of us (including the band manager) would be like well what’s the concept behind this music video? And Steven would say, well it’ll be you guys playing, and these lights on the walls, and it’s just going to look cool so don’t worry about it.

Julien: Anytime someone’s being kind of vague you’re feeling ehh, I don’t know… (laughs)

Sam: I was like no tell me what the fuck is going on (laughs), I want to know what this music video is going to look like. But we were all very pleased with how it turned out, he did a really good job. But I mean he’s done Lady Gaga music videos, and all kinds of crazy shit. So that’s why I didn’t really know what to expect.

If you haven’t heard it yet, check out their music video, “Alive” and stay tuned for more updates from Warbly Jets and other Dallas music news!

Amy Johnson