Reggae Rockers, Jeramiah Ferrari, talk new directions, their embarrassing moment with UB40 and Butterfly Sex Bongs.
“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. “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?” Guitarist Josh Aitchison 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 band joke about themselves as ‘Leighfers’’, hailing from a small northern town that no one has heard of. “So when we’re in London we just say were from Manchester” says Aitchison,“it makes us sound more cultured.”
The small room 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 Jeramiah 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 EP 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 says, asserting that there was no-one in their Greater Manchester area playing Ska or Reggae when they were. When asked why they chose to play Reggae, Ryan simply replies “we just thought let’s do something different, so we tried to mix 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 in Lancashire and the goMAD Festival in India. This has given them the chance to meet and tour with some of their musical idols, including The Wailers, Steel Pulse and The Blockheads. They will be touring with the latter 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 says, covering his face in shame.
“We are 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 band are now going a little bit more indie, taking influences from The Smiths and The Police, describing the new sound as ‘indie-ska’. An original direction for one of Britain’s most exciting new reggae bands.
Words by Liam Williams