VIVA Presents An Exclusive Interview With The Stereophonics’ Frontman Kelly Jones

Web Team | 27th August 2015


Charlie Cable reports

Stereophonics have enjoyed a twenty year career so far and are due to release their ninth album ‘Keep the village alive.’ A ten-track record written and produced by Kelly Jones which is out on the eleventh of September. This follows the acclaimed 2013 platinum release ‘Graffiti On The Train.’

On the 30th July I received the most exciting text I have ever had. “Babe it’s f***king confirmed – 5:10pm Monday 17th August.” I had just found out that VIVA Ems had bagged the last interview of only three Kelly Jones would be doing and she wanted me to interview this absolute idol!

Kelly was in the office next to the boys’ studio, where rehearsals for next week and V festival were underway. In the background other band members Richard, Adam and Jamie were playing Black Sabbath tunes.

VIVA Charlie: Kelly, I’ve been listening to your new album continuously and it is awesome! It’s a lot more upbeat than your previous album ‘Graffiti on the Train.’

Kelly: I think it’s a lot quicker impact – much more ‘radio songs.’ GOTT was more cinematic. A lot of the songs on the new album were written the same time as the last album. It’s a bit like a football team, you have a bunch of songs and we had to pick the right tunes for the right time and leave the others on the bench until it was their time to play!

VIVA Charlie: ‘C’est La Vie,’ the first single you released, is full of energy! In the video you have two young Welsh guys basically getting steaming and partying!

Kelly: Yes, they’re both great guys and patient with me directing. Considering it was midday they did pretty well and were loaded by two o’clock! ‘C’est La Vie’ took us an hour and half to write!

Kelly went on to talk about the screenplay he wrote two years ago – ‘Graffiti On The Train.’ Unfortunately he didn’t get the backing to shoot but assured us it’s just parked up and there will be something in the future. The band wants to focus on their touring for the next few months.

Kelly studied film at college and early on in his career the BBC showed interest in some of his work. You can tell when talking to him that his passion for writing and directing is just as important to him as his music. Discussing the videos he has directed so far, I asked Kelly which was his favourite?


Kelly: It is the brilliant ‘Violins and Tambourines’ from ‘Graffiti on the Train.’ It’s the story of a guy who has just killed someone and he is driving round and meets an angel like preacher who wants to save him. Much of the video was shot in underwater studios and was ambitious for a first video but absolutely paid off. It’s very dark, with an awesome build-up and with a full string orchestra accompanying. What more could you want from a music video?

Kelly has now directed eight of his videos and refers to it as his work experience and that he’s getting his directing CV sorted, so when he needs backing and is asked about his experience he now has plenty under his belt.

VIVA: V festival this weekend, Paris with the Maccabes and the Libertines then some more European gigs – when are you in the UK?

Kelly: We are doing UK arena tours in December starting off in Bournemouth, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Brighton and ending in London!

VIVA Charlie: VIVA Ems and I last saw you at the Phones 4U arena two years ago, thanks to Howard Marks!

Kelly: I remember getting that text from him! That was you guys?

VIVA Charlie: Yes, that was us! Thank you so much! Tom Jones wandered in and sat next to me, then got up and sang Mama told me not to come and then left!

Kelly: Yeah! He was shooting the voice round the corner, so he literally popped in! I remember where you guys were sitting!

VIVA Charlie: We gave a big donation to the Teenage Cancer Trust – an incredible charity!

Kelly: Thank you very much! We’ve been working with them for fifteen years now and Roger Daltry has been a brilliant ambassador for the charity!


VIVA Charlie: You got married last year Kelly, congratulations!

Kelly: I did! Thank you! It was just after the last tour so I had six days to get my shit together!

VIVA Charlie: You just had to turn up! I’m sure your wife did all the organising!

Kelly: Yeah, there were lots of women organising stuff and I just turned up. It was nice for a change, as it’s usually me organising everything!

I then went on to tell him I was married last year too and we had the Stereoironics (an awesome tribute band from Weymouth) play at our reception. Kelly said they are brilliant and learn their songs quicker than they do! He thought it was fantastic that we had people queuing up the next day to complain about the noise!

I had time to ask about the rest of the band, who are all good and looking forward to getting back on the road.

The second single to be released from ‘Keep the village alive’ is ‘I Wanna Get Lost With You.’ Once again it’s been written and directed by Kelly. He says of the single, “It’s about wanting to lose yourself personally and lose yourself with somebody and then just literally get out there. The video follows a young couple losing themselves together over a series of events.”

Kelly started his working career selling fruit and veg on a market stall near Cwmaman. Stereophonics started playing in working men’s clubs and mainly did covers. In 1999 they were the first band to be signed to Richard Branson’s v2 label. The band went from strength to strength, including a cover of ‘Handbags and Gladrags,’ also duetting with the Welsh legend Tom Jones for ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come.’ Stereophonics got their long-time-coming first number one single with ‘Dakota’  from their album ‘Language. Sex. Violence. Other?’ The band’s greatest hits album sold one point two million just in the UK. Kelly brought out a solo album in 2007 called ‘Only The Names Have Been Changed.’ This reached number one in the iTunes download chart.

So there we go! UK tour announced – roll on December!

Stereophonics new portrait (c) Hans-Peter van Velthoven 2015.JPG edited

Kelly Jones, I have followed you and the ’phonics for almost twenty years, seen you fifteen times. You exceeded any expectation I had of you, a true gentleman and absolute legend! See you in Manchester!

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Photos by: Tom Oxley