Five By Five will release their "Loud & Clear" EP on January 22 and will soon be performing at the Thunderbolt on Fri Jan 22nd. Here's all you need to know about the band..
Five by Five are an enigma. In a world that appears to revel in the celebration of the vapid excesses that accompany the rock n roll circus, Five By Five say "to hell with all that" and celebrate what it is to be in love "for the long haul", what it is to be in love with your children and what it is to have belief in yourself and others. On songs like Marry You Again – "I just hope we can stick together like partners of the same crime" - and The Distance – "What choice do I have/What choice do I really have/What do they know of the lengths I have to go" - vocalist and main songwriter/guitarist Jay Zieseniss might sound like a reconstructed Eddie Vedder but his songs are just rock 'n' roll stripped of all escapism, songs that look directly at the messiness and beauty of life as it is actually lived. The band's debut EP Loud & Clear is, if you will, Elvis Costello's Punch The Clock to Wham's Young Guns (Go For It!) and though Zieseniss sounds more like John Cougar Mellencamp than Costello, he shares both artists' acuity of vision and their ability to reveal a truth both about the composer and the culture that he is observing.
Born in a nursing home in late 1970s downtown Bangkok, Zieseniss knew from an early age that he was different. This may have had something to do with the fact that that he found himself attending the International School of Bangkok - at the time predominantly populated by the children of American Military and Embassy Staff (his father is Thai, his mother is American) - and he sensed he had a unique perspective on the relationship between the local contingent and the military/diplomatic presence – "I could pass for white and people would say things in front of me that they wouldn't say in front of other people," he says now – although it could just as easily be that he had been told he was the great, great grandson of King Chulalongkom, Rama V, King of Siam, the widely-lauded monarch (known as The Royal Buddha), credited with abolishing slavery in Siam in 1905. For our purposes, however, we'd like to believe it is because his parents (unlike any others he came across) owned vinyl copies of records by Miles Davis, Santana, The Doors, Neil Young, Randy Newman and Kris Kritofferson and this – more than any special privileges he might have been afforded – informed his nascent musical outsider-dom.
As a young teenager, Zieseniss was packed off to boarding school (Le Rosey) in Switzerland where he joined the choir and became aware that a certain Sean Lennon had only just vacated the premises. Other Le Rosey luminaries included Albert Hammond Jnr and Julian Casablancas and before too long Zieseniss had struck up a friendship with the latter, becoming roommates and forming a band together. Naturally, this outfit never became the Strokes but Zieseniss did "fall in love with grunge music" and leave school with a determination to pursue a career in music. Subsequent forays into the live arena have seen Zieseniss performing at Thailand's largest jazz festival as well as Le Festival des Trois Mondes in Lille and supporting Finlay Quaye, Towers Of London, The Zombies, Rooney, Hard Fi, The Kaiser Chiefs and The Libertines. It wasn't until 2014 however that he met Cyprus born drummer Jonathan Phillipou and Glaswegian bassist Stephen Lawson and "something really clicked" - and Five By Five was born.
Doors Open: 7.30pm Admission:£5 on the Door
Tickets: £4Adv + BF from Bristol Ticket Shop, Union Street, Bristol Tel 0117 9299008 www.bristolticketshop.co.uk