Heaven & Hell: Jesse Quin

Jesse Quin

Jesse Quin - Credit: Nick Ilott Photography

Jesse Quin is an English multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer from Suffolk. He’s best known as the bass player of the British band Keane. 

Jesse’s passion for music and the arts led him to set up Old Jet - an arts centre in Suffolk. Old Jet has grown into a vibrant community of painters, photographers, writers, clothing designers and musicians. Here he talks to Gina Long... 

Jesse Quin

Jesse Quin - Credit: Nick Ilott Photography

What’s the impact of Covid been like for you and how are you adapting? 

I’m sick of it, to be honest. Like everyone else I wish it would just disappear. But I do think some good things have somehow managed to come out of the whole thing. We’ve managed to muddle through at Old Jet, and I appear to have completed Netflix as well. 

What is your connection to East Anglia? 

I was lucky enough to grow up in Framlingham here in Suffolk. I couldn’t wait to go out and see the world when I left school but all roads lead back here. A lot has changed, but the soul of the area is always the same. 

What do you love most about East Anglia? 

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I especially love the area of coastal Suffolk where I live and work. I love that whole stretch of open, wild countryside between the A12 and the sea. I also think we happen to have the best pubs in the world. 

What do you hate most about living here? 

I don’t hate anything about living here that I can think of. 

What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants? 

If had to choose a couple it would be The Anchor in Woodbridge and The Station in Framlingham. I know they’re pubs rather than restaurants as such but they do damn fine food. 

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark? 

Oh, all the predictable ones I’m afraid! Blythburgh Church and Fram’ Castle. There are some much smaller ones that I love like the little boat shed on Kyson Point in Woodbridge, or Maggi’s Scallop on the beach in Aldeburgh. A slightly odd one is the old closed down Toys’R’Us as you get to Ipswich on the A12 as it always gives me that warm feeling of being nearly home! 

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year? 

Maverick Festival is particularly brilliant in my humble opinion. 

What's your specialist Mastermind subject? 

Probably vintage recording studio equipment or guitar amplifiers or something painfully uncool like that. 

What plans if any, do you have to tour? 

We’ve got some Keane gigs in June and July, including one in Thetford Forest on June 17 which I’m very much looking forward to. I’ve missed doing gigs, but it’s been nice to have time to expand skillsets a bit and work in the recording studio. 

What is always in your fridge? 

Binham Blue cheese and Stokes Red Onion Marmalade. Yum. 

What’s your simple philosophy of life? 

People first, everything else second. 

What’s your favourite film? 

It’s a Wonderful Life or Groundhog Day. If I don’t cry at least once then a film is a waste of time. 

What was your first job? 

When I was nine I drove a small van around the fields at a big music festival during the summer holidays, collecting the wooden stakes that marked out where the marquees and stages and things would go. You wouldn’t get away with it now!  

While I was doing that I would stop and collect all the unbroken clay pigeons from the hedgerows and then drive up to the land owner’s enormous mansion and sell them all back to him. He was delighted and I earned double what I would have done otherwise. I was either a budding entrepreneur or a complete scallywag. Probably a bit of both. 

What is your most treasured possession? 

My first drum kit. I feel like it cost my mum and dad money they couldn’t necessarily afford and it was a declaration of their belief in me and their support. Make sure you show and tell your kids that, okay? 

Who do you admire most? 

I have deep admiration for anyone who actually gets on and does the things they talk about wanting to do. 

What is your biggest indulgence? 

I have a Triumph motorbike that I only ride about twice a year. I also have a few nice guitars that are far too fancy for someone of my level of playing ability!  

What do you like about yourself most? 

I’m far too English to answer that question! 

What’s your worst character trait? 

Please forward this question to my wife for the correct answer(s). Expect a top ten. 

Where is your favourite holiday destination? 

New York. I don’t really like holidays where you just sit around. 

Best day of your life? 

That’s an impossible question.  

What’s your favourite breakfast? 

A big mug of coffee and some jam on toast. I often forget that it’s perfectly okay to allow yourself to go out for breakfast once in a while. About once a year when it’s one of those really cold February mornings where you feel like it will be winter forever, I have a hot chocolate with a nip of spiced rum in it. That’s probably about as rock’n’roll as my life ever gets unfortunately. 

What’s your favourite tipple? 

A nice Islay single malt whiskey sacrilegiously ruined with loads of ginger ale. 

What’s your hidden talent? 

I’m absolutely lethal at Catchphrase. 

What’s your earliest memory? 

Sitting on the living room floor in the house we lived in just outside Laxfield when I was very small. 

What song would you like played at your funeral? 

That’s the Way God Planned It by Billy Preston would be a good one. 

Tell us something people don’t know about you? 

When I was a teenager, I went out sailing with a mate and we accidentally crashed into a moored boat and damaged it, but we were young and stupid so we raced away and never told anyone. I still feel bad about it. 

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you? 

I think most of us have at some time or another received really bad news about the health of friends or family. 

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else? 

I guess it just has the right combination of things that make it feel like home for me. Being connected to the great outdoors, a strong sense of community and that nice feeling of familiarity and personal history. 

What do you want to tell our readers about most? 

The arts centre that I run, Old Jet, over at Bentwaters in Rendlesham is setting up a new initiative called Airspace where we offer free six-month blocks of free studio space to young artists. The idea is that they have the space, freedom and support to get their career off the ground. It’s aimed at people aged 18-25 from across the arts and apart from the space we will also offer business and creative mentorship and connections with relevant people and organisations that can help get their careers started.  

The studios will be in converted shipping containers, so if you or your business would like to help or support the project you can find out more at oldjet.co.uk or drop us an email on info@oldjet.co.uk 

We are also on Instagram - @oldjet and @j.j.quin

I am always looking for interesting people from Suffolk and Norfolk to feature in my Q&A. Please contact me at gina@hallfarmfornham.com