Jason Chinnian's bio
Bassist Jason 'Jay-cee' Chinnian is well-known for staying as cool as a cucumber on stage, while the rest of the band descends into a sweaty heap.
But read on to find out how our emphatically self-proclaimed 'soul mod' found his legendary cool via football and a couple of inherited records. Discover, too, that he may have started off with tennis racquet guitars but will now go to extraordinary lengths to protect those bass-playing fingers.
What made you a mod?
RECORDS / FOOTBALL / FRIENDS = SOUL MOD!
Ha, this is a great question and one I've thought about a lot over the years.
Firstly, my brothers and I were left some records by some friends of our mother. They included three 60s albums and one 7" single:
Remember The Yardbirds - The Yardbirds
Rock & Roll Vol. 1 - The Beatles
The Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel
The single was Lets Go To San Fransisco - The Flowerpot Men.
We were all still at primary school and listened to Radio 1 and Top of The Pops. But we'd never heard music like this before.
It sounded warmer, full of youthful energy and filled with, what I later learned were, blues, soul and R&B-influenced melodies, guitar riffs and bass lines. The sound was so cool and addictive. We just wanted to sing along, play tennis raquet guitars and dance.
Secondly, through going to watch my beloved Liverpool FC, I met guys much older than me. And probably because I was the only Asian face in the place and one of the youngest people in The Kop, they took me under their wing. Some of them were into mod and northern soul, although I didn't know what that was.
I would occasionally go to events where I also met Leeds Utd fans. They also encouraged me to get into the same music. I could hear similarities with the records we were listening to at home and I started to like what I was hearing, as well as the overall attitude, clothes etc.
Thirdly, a few friends at school made the leap of buying parkas, black three button suits and a couple even got scooters. They told me they were into The Jam, The Who, The Kinks and were now modernists.
They explained a little about the history and culture, the music and the clothes. Then I suppose I had an ephiphany - I was already half way down this modernist path. All I now needed to do was to go out and buy some mod clothes, records and a scooter - which I presently went out and did.
I went to mod rallies and weekenders all over the country, sometimes with my friends and sometimes on my own. After a few years of this, I found myself gradually drifting towards the soul side of things, as did a few of us. We started doing fewer mod events and more northern soul allniters. Hence I became a soul mod.
What do you love about mod?
I love the whole obsession with style and cool. It's about listening to the coolest music (jazz, soul, R&B, ska, mod) and dressing either so smart with sharp suits or uber cool in smart casual attire to make others stop and stare, dancing to express yourself and also maintaining that cool sophistication and just be. It is my way of life.
What do you love about The 5:15's?
The boys are just awesome. Totally fanatical about the music, playing live, looking cool and having a blast with the crowd as well as with each other on stage. And we all love modernist culture in all its forms. It's not complicated, it's not rocket science but we all love to roll the same way. Just glad we don't share a bed!
What is your fave 5:15s cover?
It's got to be Eton Rifles. Everytime play we play it it just sounds so massive and huge and has the feel of the original. Those power chords and the driving bass line just lift my spirits and make me smile. Bravo Mr Weller, Mr Buckler and Mr Foxton! An excellent tune ole boys.
What track would you like The 5:15's to cover?
Just classic, cool out 'n' out northern soul that has mod written all over it. Click on it to have a listen.
What is your fave fashion outfit?
This has got to be my bespoke double breasted double vented 60s suit. Just love it and still keeps me cool even under the hot lights on stage. Plus it is a real head turner!
What are your three fave tunes of all time?
Mmmm...cor blimey guv! A bit of a toughie. After agonising over the answers for a while, I've taken the plunge and committed it to the web! They are all stunning three minute slabs of northern soul. Click on them and listen.
What do you drive - either two or four wheels?
I used to run a Jag but have just recently swapped to a newer Vauxhall Astra and an automatic at that! Need to look after my bass-playing fingers, hahaha.
Who are your three major musical influences?
Wow, another tough one....
Northern soul, jazz, R&B, mod bands (sorry, that's four influences).
Who is your favourite artist of all time?
Can these questions get any tougher??
What is the best gig you have ever been too?
The Police at Twickenham Stadium, 2007. Three monumental musicians who are so tight and have such a big sound.
Who would you love to or loved to have worked with musically?
I would love to get in the studio with the likes of Mark Ronson, Frank Popp, Dr Dre, Pharrell Williams and any producers who have soulful influences.
What do you see as the future of The 5:15's?
Just growing as musicians, developing the places we play and adding to our set list as well as growing our fan base. But still Keeping The Faith with those that have supported us from the start!