Jack Pack swing into Silver Street this weekend

Martin McCafferty brings his Jack Pack to Derry this weekend for what will undoubtedly be a homecoming to remember.

Swinging up to Silver Street this Sunday, the guys will be performing tracks from their self-titled debut album as well other swing classics.

Many moons have passed since Martin last played at the River Inn establishment, in actual fact it was with another musician on Sunday's bill John Deery who he shared the stage with back in the 90’s when they were both in local five-piece band Such As.
Having signed to Simon Cowell’s Syco Music label, the Swing Kings have been busy touring and have only recently returned from Dubai where they supported Katy Perry, as well as performing at Frank Sinatra’s Centenary Concert at the Apollo in London last weekend.
We caught up with local lad and Jack Pack member Martin McCafferty to find out how much he’s looking forward to his homecoming and get the latest band news.  

How are you finding the hectic schedule?
Previously I had toured with my own big band and I was in total control of my own diary and especially when I went back to Unit I had to juggle the music with assignments. Then to come into a situation where you have to relinquish all control, it was very strange, but if I didn't have someone handling all that now it would prove to be very stressful.
It's weird in one hand but on the other hand it's a gift because I get to concentrate on other things such as the music.

Did you find it daunting joining an already established band?
I was a bit apprehensive about it, I knew the guys had been together since January the year before and had been grafting together and working together and I was worried in case I was going into a room with three guys who were already close thinking 'who's this guy.'
But honestly, I walking in the first day and it was so comfortable. I just sat down and we started chatting and it was as if we had known each other from day dot. I was already really comfortable with the musical side of things, the harmonies and that, so it left a lot of time for me to be able to bond with the boys a lot more. But I've been very luck and the boys have been very lucky that we have just jelled.

Jack Pack - Light My Fire

You must be looking forward to bring the boys to your home town for the first time?
I can't wait to get back. We had a show at Cafe Vaudeville in Belfast a few months ago and we actually came down to Derry for a few radio shows but we were literally in and out.
At that time my nephew was born and I hadn't seen him, he was only two weeks old and it just so happens we were driving past my mum's house and I saw my sister-in-law's car there and I just said to our tour manager 'take a right!'
We called into my mum's house for five minutes for a cup of tea, she was over the moon having the boys there and I got to see my godson. But that's all they have seen of Derry, my mum's kitchen! So I'm looking forward to letting them see where it all started for me.
The support from the people in Northern Ireland has been amazing and a lot people have got behind me too. The boys had actually said when they were last here that they almost feel part of Northern Ireland because the support has been so great.

It's a fantastic lineup too, Glenn Rosborough and John Deery - who you used to be in a band with many moons ago...
The last time I played at the River Inn was with John in the Such As days and this will actually be the first time I will be performing in Derry with a band since those days too so it's going to be special.
I'm a big fan of Glenns voice and his music as well. It's a great lineup because there’s a nice mix of music and I think that a lot of people are seeing it as their Christmas night out so the party atmosphere should be buzzing, I really can't wait.

Your self-titled album 'Jack Pack' reached number 8 in the UK charts... you must be pleased with that!
We're over the moon. To have a top ten album was always a dream come true for me. When I was growing up and playing gigs, doing the circuit, to have a top ten album is definitely on your bucket list and a dream you have.

 

You guys have played some fantastic gigs in recent months, particular September's BBC Proms at Hyde Park in front of a huge audience... what was that like?
We didn't know what to expect. We walked out on stage to 40,000 people just as the sun was setting and it was absolutely epic. We finished the set on My Way and to have that many people singing the song back at you word for word is something else and was a very emotional for us.

Just between us... what is the boss Simon Cowell really like?
You know what, he's great. Before I joined the band, I had a personal X-Factor moment with him where he had to sign me off the show and that was scary enough in itself.
But he loves this genre of music, he loves what we have done with it. He's been across this whole album but has allowed us to have a lot of control over what went on it too. We have actually done a lot of charity events for him specifically and we've spent time having drinks with him.
We were invited along for the end of summer drinks at Kensington Palace as guests but he rang our manager up at nine o’clock the night before to tell say he actually wanted us to perform.
It was actually pretty funny because Prince William and Kate were in residence with the new baby Princess Charlotte at the time so all the officials were running about with decibel readers making sure that we weren’t too loud. But later that night apparently we woke her and had to turn it down a bit half way through the performance!
It was a fantastic lineup of artists so the fact that he thought about us is testament to how he's been with us the whole time I’ve been in the band. The money that he has invested too in this album has been incredible. On every track there is a 72-piece orchestra and they don’t come cheap. Our video for Light My Fire was filmed in the Ukraine, but aside from his money, his time and his effort has been priceless. It’s fantastic that we have this opportunity to work with him and learn from him too. He actually loved the album so much that he blew the speakers in his office! Says it all really. 

What are the plans for next year?
Next year we have a tour coming up. We’ll be heading off to South America, we also have a few TV appearances in the New Year and also a UK tour so it’s busy times ahead and I’m really looking forward to it.

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