Syteria’s Jax Chambers:  ‘We don’t make our music sound like another band’

Syteria play at Real Time Live, Chesterfield, on March 12.Syteria play at Real Time Live, Chesterfield, on March 12.
Syteria play at Real Time Live, Chesterfield, on March 12. | Other 3rd Party
Syteria are a punk/rock/pop band formed five years ago by Girlschool lead guitarist Jackie Chambers during an extended hiatus.

Chambers was getting restless and wanted to play music, so she put a band together with herself on lead guitar/vocals Julia Calvo (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Pablo Calvo (drums/vocals) and Steph Dawson (bass guitar/vocals).

They were soon writing, rehearsing, recording and gigging.

The self-released debut album Rant-O-Bot was released in 2017 and February 2020 saw the much anticipated release of second album, Reflection.The Reflection tour kicks off in Newcastle on March 5 with the album launch gig and reaches Real Time Live in Chesterfield on March 12.

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The Derbyshire Times caught up with Jackie (Jax) Chambers during some rare down time for her.

Who are your guitar heroes?I love Billy Duffy from The Cult, I love the way he plays. I love Brian May and I like Steve Stevens as well and they’ve all got like different techniques but they are not like technical players.

You are quite a prolific songwriter. How do you go about writing a song?I carry my phone with me all the time, when I’m driving, all of a sudden I will come up with an idea I will come up with an idea and just sing it. When I listen to it back you get all sorts of things like car horns. (Ideas) will come at the weirdest time like when I’m sleeping, I will have my phone or Dictaphone on my bed next to me and I will just turn it on and record the idea that is how they go. Sometimes they just comeflooding in my head, I do a lot of meditation, as I am meditating and at my most peaceful all of a sudden ideas come in my head, so I’m like I’ve got to get it down, so it’s really good, they come all the time.

I have a computer upstairs, an old one with a music programme called Logic. It is just basic home recording, I’ve got no gadgets, just a program and a computer and that’s it. I just set a jam, programme in some drum patterns which is the most tedious thing to do and I’ll loop them. I tend to buy a lot of loops online and randomly put them together and generally just jam along. I put down the drums, throw on a bit of bass then I put the guitars on. I build it up like that, put the lead on and then layer the backing vocals, I do like my harmonies. Just little bits then I give it to the band and we learn it as is then they put their little ideas in.

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Two of the band are now writing. Julia wrote Back Off for this album, Pablo wrote Asylum for this album which is good to have because it makes it different; otherwise you get the same style. We make it sound like Syteria because that is what we do. We don’t try and make it sound like another band, we are who we are and we just play.

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When did you become a professional musician?I guess I turned pro in 1999 when I joined Girlschool. There were deals before but the one band people will know is Girlschool. I want to be classed as a songwriter, not a guitarist, I am not a technical guitarist and that does come from the heart.

What advice would you give to any young bands?If you are going into music for the money, forget it. Don’t go out there and learn every single chord or scale in the book. Get out there on stage and enjoy it, just play. Do what you do, every time do it from the heart.

What song do you wish you wrote?That is a great question. One of my favourite songs of all time is She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult, every time I hear that song I get goose bumps. I love that riff, it’s brilliant, I wish I wrote that.

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You have been asked to put together a band (the members could be living or dead) with you in it for a one off gig. Who would be in the group?I’d have Alice Cooper singing, he’s been my idol since I was at school, Lemmy on bass, Drums? Cozy Powell. I’d be on guitar with Billy Duffy.

• Syteria will be supported by local heroes Yesterday’s Gone at Real Time Live on Thursday, March 12. For tickets and information about the gig visit www.realtimelive.co.uk

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