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Interview: Jess Locke

Melbourne based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jess Locke has been releasing music and playing shows for 8 years and has a knack of performing in unconventional spaces including water parks, cemeteries, roundabouts, bookshops and back porches. Along with this, she has also played with the likes of The Smith Street Bandon their sold out Australian tour, Tigers Jaw, Into It. Over It and Julia Jacklin to name a few. The last time Jess and her band were in Brisbane was for our Against the Grain Festival and they have been nice enough to accept our invitation back to play at our First Birthday Party on the 4th of February at The Foundry!


You have already played 2 shows this year and are about to embark on an 8 date tour with Paul Dempsey and a 6-date headline tour. That is a busy start of the year, how are you going preparing for everything?

It's pretty time consuming. But I have to credit Chris (my drummer) for doing a lot of the booking for this tour. He has helped A LOT and it makes it all a bit less daunting. And for some crazy reason I am also studying so there is a lot to juggle all at once. But it always all comes together. You just have to try not to get too stressed out and take it as it comes. The hardest part for me is actually being away on tour. I get really exhausted and very grumpy and then it's hard to really enjoy performing. I'm basically a nanna and I am not made to be a touring musician at all, haha.

You have been working on a new album due to release this year, where are you at with it and when can we expect to hear some new music?

We have all the tracks recorded and are in the mixing stage at the moment. I think it's sounding really good and I can't wait for it to be finished! There are a few tracks that most people won't have heard yet along with some that we have been playing live. At this stage, we are aiming to release it around July.

This will be the first album you have recorded with a band, how much of an impact has that had on the overall sound of the recordings in comparison to your last record ‘Words That Seem to Slip Away’?

I think there is quite a bit shift from the last album. We have been playing most of the songs on the new record together for ages and Chris and Jim have both been really involved in refining them and I think that really shows. It definitely sounds like more than just a backing band and I think it makes the songs more interesting.

Can we expect to hear some new material at Grain’s First Birthday party in February?

Yes. I think there will be at least one or two that we haven't played in Brissy yet.

What has been your favourite space to play?

That's hard. I've played in so many great places, it's hard to pick one. Playing on a roundabout in Penang as part of 'Occupy Penang' was a pretty great and strange experience. There was an Indian restaurant right near by and the owners heard us playing and then invited us in to jam with their house band, so we did... If I remember correctly, I got free juice. A little closer to home... I always love playing at The Reverence Hotel and The Old Bar in Melbourne, and at Blackwire Records in Sydney. We did our first headline show in Adelaide at The Grace Emily last weekend and I loved it. It's a nice pub with a really great feel to it.

What releases are you most looking forward to for 2017?

Just based on what I'm aware of.... can't wait to hear new Carb On Carb, Mere Women, St Vincent, Beck... I don't know what else is coming! Can't wait to discover more artists I've never heard before. The best things are usually a surprise.


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