Jack J Huchinson: ‘Making it for me was when I started a band at 14 and started making music!’

British rock songwriter Jack J Huchinson has been killing it in the UK music scene the last few years, releasing albums to critical and commercial acclaim and touring pretty extensively. He is on tour at the minute (we cannot wait to be at the Birmingham date!) to make up for lost time from last year. He was invited along to Rockin’ The Bowl last month as he is playing next years instalment of the festival so we managed to speak to him about his tour, his upcoming album and his future plans!

First of all, I’ve heard that you’ve got an upcoming tour. Tell me about that.

Yeah, so we’re doing a big UK tour, kicking off in October and going straight through to November. We’re doing seventeen dates all across the country. We’ve got London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Newcastle, yeah, we’re going all over the place.

So it’s gonna be good! And a lot of the dates were kind of postponed from last year, obviously because of Covid. So we’ve chucked them all in with new dates. So, it’s a bit of a longer run than we were planning. So, fingers crossed it’ll go ahead, and it’ll be a kickass run of shows.

Are you playing with anyone? Is anyone supporting you?

Yeah, so we’ve got a main support on the show, which is a band call Firekind who are also on my PR guy Wes’ roster. They’re doing maybe two thirds of the dates, then we have a few other acts coming onboard. There’s a lady called Loz Campbell who’s coming out on a couple of shows. Verity White’s doing a show as well, so yeah some really great bands that’ll hopefully add to the whole evening being pretty badass. Looking forward to it!

If you had to describe your sound to a newbie, who would you say you sound like, or you draw inspiration from?

I suppose what I do is kind of hard rock based. It’s got its roots in classic rock: Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, all that kind of stuff. But I suppose the new stuff that’s gonna be on my forthcoming album is a little bit heavier, there’s more of a Black Sabbath sort of vibe to it. But not trying to recreate stuff that was done in 1973, we’re trying to turn in into something, you know, contemporary. I think its important, there’s no point trying to copy the other acts. So yeah, lots of different artists, and there’s a few kind of… I’m a big John Carpenter fan so, there’s a sort of horror movie, soundtrack vibe to some of the tracks as well.

I like that, that’s different!

Is there any other inspiration you would say, as a musician, outside of the Black Sabbath, Led Zep and AC/DC that you’ve already described?

I guess what I’ve tried to do with the new record is write as I’ve always done, which is from life experience, and lyrics and song writing have always been at the route of what I’ve done. I’m a big Neil Young fan, I’ve always been into that kind of song writer aspects. More so than I guess trying to show off on guitar. It’s always been about trying to write good songs. And so, you know, obviously events of the last eighteen months have impacted the lyrics of the album, but you know, no body wants to just write a fucking album about Covid. There’s gonna be a gazillion albums like that. So yeah, I’ve just written about my own personal feelings and response to things. That’s the biggest impact on this song writing process, more so than listening to Sabbath and going, this needs to sound like a Tony Iommi riff. It’s gotta be personal, have my own inner emotions in it as well.

Has the writing process been a bit different?

Yeah, I suppose the way that we’ve done it this record, the bulk of it I’ve written myself. But, similarly, I’ve co-written a couple of tracks with my band, which I’ve never done before. Usually, cus I’m a bit of a dick in terms of song writing. I like to be in control. But, we wrote some stuff remotely in lockdown last year, sending each other files via dropbox and that kind of thing. Which I’ve never done that before. And it came out pretty well. My bass player, Lazarus (Michaelides) he’s really into Gojira and really heavy stuff. His influence was like, three minute instrumentals in the middle of songs.

Do you think you clashed a bit then?

I clash with everybody all the time anyway, so there’s no difference there. Yeah, I am a bit like, not every song needs to sound like Trivium you know, there’s a little bit of a clash there. I always go back to probably when I was a kid, my parents listened to the Beatles and Stones most. So, everything’s routed in a three-minute pop song. So, I try and reign it in a little bit.

So, no three-minute instrumentals in the middle of your track then?

Yeah. Fuck that!

Where are the rest of the guys then today?

Well, I’m just here hanging out this weekend. So, we’re playing this festival Rockin The Bowl next year. And they’ve invited me down just to kind of hang out. Which has been a lot of fun. So, my other band mates are probably at home watching the football right now.

Are you local then, or are you travelling to come here?

Yeah, I’m just north of London. So yeah, about a three hour drive up. But, it’s worth it you know. It’s good to just be here. After the time we’ve had it’s just great to be out in a field with lots of music fans, hanging out, drinking lots of coffee and watching some great bands. Most rock ‘n’ roll you can be! Drinking a Frappuccino whilst you’re watching rock ‘n’ roll.

If you could collaborate with one artist, whether is a massive one, or someone more locally based. Have you got one in mind?

Who would I collaborate with? Well there’s tons of people. I think it would be quite interesting to collaborate with a female singer. There’s a few people that are joining me on the tour like Loz Campbell and Verity White. It’d be cool to do some song writing with somebody in a different way. It’s very kind of… my music is very kind of grunty male rock. It would be quite cool to have a different approach to that. Somebody like Loz Campbell who’s a brilliant guitar player as well, better guitar player than I’ll ever be! So, that’d be quite cool to work with somebody like that. She could maybe teach me how to play guitar better!

Well, I’ll expect to see that on the next tour then.

Yeah, we’ll see!

If you could cover one song, or even written a song, any preference? Like a big epic song, or more of a down to earth rocky kind of thing?

Yeah, we’re covering on the tour that’s coming up, War Pigs. Which we started to do prior to Covid on the last tour. We got five days in and then we got pulled. So we were gonna do that again. But yeah, there’s loads of stuff that I wish I’d written! There’s tons of Black Sabbath riffs that I wish I’d come up with. And Led Zeppelin as well, maybe my all time favourite song is 10 Years Gone by Led Zeppelin. And I absolutely adore that, Physical Graffiti  is my favourite record. It’d be amazing to have that ability to write a song as good as that, which has multiple influences, but it draws it all together into a quite complex composition. It takes you on a journey. I always think songs need to take you on a journey and not just be like, you know, slapping you around the face for the first ten seconds, ‘cus then it gets boring. Led Zeppelin were great at doing that. So with my new album, which is coming out this time next year, I’ve tried to do that with my song writing. Which is twists things in a different direction, make sure that not just repeat my previous records. It takes the listener on a new journey. It’s a bit like, I mentioned horror movies, and movie soundtracks, that’s kind of informed it. Its about when you watch a movie and there’s a narrative that takes you on a journey from beginning to end, trying to do that with our record. It started off actually in the song writing process almost being a bit of a concept album, based around Stephen King’s Dark Tower books. And I got about two songs in and then though, fuck this is too difficult. So, you know, I just wrote about ex girlfriends who were dick heads. So there’s two quite complex clever songs, and then the rest are like, she left me! Actually, I was the one being a dick head, so you know. I don’t wanna incriminate myself.

What’s the title of the album?

The albums called The Hammer Falls. Which is a rip on of kind of hammer horror, amicus movie sort of stuff. And the art works been done by a chap called Anastasio, who runs a company over in Spain called Revelation Studios. He’s done artwork for mainly doom metal bands, but he does artwork for Blasko from Ozzy Osbourne’s Band. So, that’s how I kind of discovered him, through seeing his artwork for Blasko. Yeah, and all of the artwork looks very hammer horror movie posteresque, its really cool. Very different to my previous stuff which is all hippy, happy, Black Crows, rock ‘n’ roll. Next ones like, nah, its fucking happy anymore. It’s all gone to shit.

His girlfriends left him!

Yeah, its only got two good songs.

What’s the ultimate goal for you?

Do you know what? I think I, when I set out making music, I never had dreams of being famous or being big or anything, or whatever…making it means. I’ve always just loved making music, and so for me, making it was when I was fourteen and I started a band and I was writing songs with people. Anything from that point on has been a bonus. I talk to a lot of musicians who they obsess about getting record deals and getting in the top forty. I don’t give a shit about that, its like, I just want to make some good rock ‘n’ roll and get on stage and play it. I’ve had top forty albums. Once you’ve done it, it means fuck all. Like, the next week, no one cares. So, at this point in time I just wanna make some good music, hang out with some friends and play live. Which you haven’t been able to do for such a long time. It all feels like a success now.

That’s a really nice, genuine answer. A lot of people would want to stand against their heads a little bit. They have a certain place they wanna play or huge milestone they wanna hit.

Its hilarious, ‘cus everyone’s like, well we need to get in the top forty. I’ve had two top forty albums, nothing happens. It’s just like, oh great I’ve got like a framed vinyl on wall. No one cares. Are the songs any better ‘cus they got in the top forty? No, just had a clever marketing campaign. I think my new album is the best thing I’ve done. It’ll never get in the top forty though! Too busy touring.

Have you had the chance to gig at all since we’ve come back?

Yeah, we’ve done quite a few festivals over the summer. We did our first indoor show, which was a warm up show last week. And then we’re back out, as I’ve said on tour next month. So yeah, the first show was weird, ‘cus we were running on adrenaline. We played like the first three songs at triple speed. I got about two songs in and I was like, we need to fucking calm down. And afterwards, my drummer Felipe was like, (he’s Brazilian) ‘I thought I was gonna have a heart attack on the third track’. I was like, all the songs on the new album are really fast and I was like, why did we make everything sound like Master of Puppets?

Not a clue….when they’re writing it, and then when they perform it, they’re like what have I done!

Yeah, considering when you’re in the studio you’ve got a week to record a song. You can do multiple days. Where as when you’re live and you’ve got a song that is like 166bmp or something, everyone’s looking around sweat dripping over the gear because they’ve been pushing themselves too hard. So, it took us about three gigs to get gig fit. You know, too much Netflix and watching Cobra Kai last year. And eating pie. And then we’re getting in shape again now for the tour.

I think we all need to after the year we’ve had!

Yeah. I mean, it was an interesting year from a creative perspective, ‘cus it forced me to do different things. I’m just glad to be back out. Live is where I’ve always existed, and no being able to do that, as much as I enjoy the studio, I wanna be outside and see faces and socialising. Pretending I’m almost famous!

We hope you enjoyed the interview and would urge any of you to check Jack out if he’s playing near you on the tour! To keep up to date on all of our interviews as well as other content, follow our Instagram here!