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Interview: Reef’s new guitarist Jesse Wood speaks to us about the band’s new album Revelations

Reef
Credit: Jenny Hands

Fresh from releasing their new single, My Sweet Love featuring Sheryl Crow, Reef are back after a long break. The band is releasing a new album, Revelations after an 18 year break.

New single, My Sweet Love was premiered on BBC Radio 2 by Chris Evans and he loved it so much, he played the song twice in a row.

I caught up with the lovely Jesse Wood, who replaced Kenwyn House as Reef’s new guitarist to speak about his time with the band and their new album.

How are you today? 

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I am good thanks.

I thought the new album’s sound was heavier and maturer, would you agree?

Yes and I love to hear people’s opinion about it.

Can you tell our readers what the band has been up to in the last 18 years?

I have joined Reef, 4 years ago when the former guitarist left. I went for an audition at the time and the guys liked me because now I am in the band (laughs). I have been trying to integrate and we have been writing songs since then. Most of those songs are now part of the new album Revelations. The band reformed in 2010 and I went to see them a few times.

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Were you a fan of Reef then?

Yes I was huge fan in the 90s, I was pretty obsessed with Glow.

Was the band still touring a lot then?

On and off yes, they were doing festivals and playing their own gigs. When I joined they had six dates left on the tour and I ended up joining. We started writing and the chemistry and magic was there.

Was the chemistry the reason you started working on new material?

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Yes, it felt so good from the moment we started playing during my first audition. I played all the classics like Place Your Hands, I Would Have Left You etc. It was a joy for me and after we did the gigs they asked me if I wanted to write and jamming and I said that of course I would love to do that and it all fell all into place. It felt like had always been in them. They are lovely men and good people to work with and obviously very talented.

Was it a conscious decision to make this album heavier in sound?

They’ve always had an element of that especially in the first two albums, soul, blues and gospel too. I guess I just brought a different feel to it on the guitar. I always stuck to the blueprint of having a few heavy tunes mixed with a couple of quiet ones on the album.

Tell me about your new single, My Sweet Love with Sheryl Crow?

Our wonderful producer, George Drakoulias (The Black Crowes, Primal Scream, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) suggested after we played the song in the studio for a while, to try a female vocalist. George has known Sheryl for a while and so have I through her work with the Rolling Stones. It felt right and she is amazing and her voice with Gary’s makes this a beautiful song.

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I think it’s got a country touch to it. 

Yes, it’s got a lovely country feel to it that’s a nice thing to say.

How was it to work with Sheryl Crow?

We couldn’t do it with her so we left it to George. She was very professional and is an amazing singer, who has sang with Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton and so many. It took her no time at all apparently (laughs). Hopefully down the line we will get her up somewhere to do it with us that would be the dream.

Did you find any of the songs challenging to write?

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All of the songs have come out of us or individually naturally, we’ve been playing them live and a lot of them went down really well so it all happened in a natural way even if some took a couple of years to write.

Would you say it took you a while to put together the album?

If you only put together the time we spent in the studio then it was a couple of months. The process took a couple of years and George Drakoulias put his own spin to the tracks as well. He’s got an amazing ear and it was wonderful for me to work in this environment with him.

Was George Drakoulias very direct in his approach? 

He is very direct in his own subtle way and you just listen to George and I have so much respect for him. You learn and soak up the knowledge from a guy like him but he lets you do your thing and he will enhance that or direct you to try other ways.

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You are starting your tour this week, are you looking forward to playing anywhere in particular?

I love playing anywhere really. I quite like playing the small sweat gigs to start because you can try all the songs. We are are touring with a bunch of 90s bands on our Britrock Must Be Destroyed! Tour, which will be great.

Thank you for speaking with me!

Thank you!

Revelations will be released on 4th May 2018 and Reef are on tour now. 

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