Tuesday, 18 March 2014

It's My Kind of Interview - Jack Colwell

One artist that has completely captured our attention in 2014 is Sydney's Jack Colwell who is releasing music under the moniker Jack Colwell and The Owls. The song that we've fallen for is 'Far From View' and if you're a regular around these parts, you would have seen it hit #1 on our weekly Top 25 last month. It's not just good, it's a total knockout of a track that will leave you wanting to hear a whole lot more from this emerging talent. Luckily for us, it looks like we'll get to hear more sooner than later. How do I know this? Because I asked about what we can look forward to from Jack throughout 2014, plus a whole bunch of other questions about his upcoming tour with Ella Hooper,  comparisons to Nick Cave and what drinks he'd serve Bjork, PJ Harvey and Lady Gaga. Because why not? Enjoy! 

Interview by Matt Bond

Hey Jack, welcome to It's My Kind of Scene! On a scale of 1 - 10, your day so far has been a (?) and what earns it such a low or high number?

Jack Colwell: 10! I am homeward bound from what I thought was a ‘friendzoned’ friend hang which turned into a long awaited pashfest full of built up tension and clumsy yet passionate kissing while watching ‘GIRLS’. In other news, I also tried a vegan soup for the first time last night with Mockmeat. I didn’t hate it! #winning

Here's a pretty standard job interview icebreaker for you to get us started. If you could invite 5 people (dead, alive, whatever) to dinner, who would you pick and why?

Steve Buscemi: Steve is known for making great cameo’s in the most unlikely places, so naturally I feel he should come to the dinner.  

Edith Bouvier Beale ‘Little Edie’: Little Edie, as she is affectionately known, would provide entertainment and zodiac readings.

Naturally I’ll need to pash someone after dinner, so Brad Pitt from Thelma and Louise would attend, but strictly no talking plz. 

Courtney Love to help give people directions home when they’ve drunk too much, as she’s a detective now

Pink wig Britney Spears w/ English Accent because, how could you not! It’s Britney, B*tch!  

For our readers unfamiliar with Jack Colwell and The Owls, can you give us a rundown of who you are, why you make music and what do you think is the best description of the music you make?

Jack: I am a 24year young Sydney boy experimenting with lyfe and kulcha. I come from a classically trained background but decided I liked playing rock music more, I used to write chamber-folk and chamber-pop but now I want to be sxxxy so I write shoegazey kind of stuff. My music is often sad, but don’t blame me, blame my ex boyfriends.

I'm going to be honest, that whole 'Low High' thing in the first question was so I could bring up your co-headline shows with the one and only Ella Hooper to launch the brilliant single, 'Far From View'. How excited are you to be joining Ella at The Vanguard in Sydney (March 29) and at Melbourne's Northcote Social Club (April 4)?

Jack Colwell: SUH EXCITE! I really cannot wait, Ella is an amazing and inspiring person who has really taken me under her wing. There are lots of things I could say about Ella but I’d just like to share that we have jumped up and down on a hotel bed together whilst singing. *cue Bart and Milhouse ‘SISTERS R DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES’. She is really, the best.

'Far From View' really is a great track. Like, every aspect of it is full of win; the lyrics, the strings, your voice and that stunning clip. What's the story behind the song?

Jack: 'Far From View' was originally a quiet breakup song for acoustic guitar. It went through a few changes and eventually became this behemoth of wielding emotion. In the end, FFV isn’t so much about the person it was originally about, in fact, I’ve thought about numerous people while singing the song, but really it’s about the idea of being hidden when you’re ashamed. There is this feeling of emptiness that occurs after rejection, where the floor has fallen our from under you and you’re scrambling to find your feet. And finally, when you think you’ve moved on, and perhaps are ready to be with someone else, there’s still the ghost of their memory on you, waiting to be shaken.

What was it like shooting the accompanying clip with Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston? Was the story in the video what you always imagined when thinking of possibilities for the clip? And... how did you feel seeing it played on rage?!

Jack: Brian and Karl are my fairy godparents. They’re truly amazing dreamers and filmmakers.
I think the story of the video was similar to what I had in mind, as visually I had already made reference to the ‘Twin Peaks’ feel of the clip in the bass line of ‘Far From View’. Perhaps for me, the story hits a little close to home; but it’s a story that definitely supports the narrative of the song. And as for RAGE, as someone who grew up taping their favorite clips on VHS and waiting to see what was #1 religiously every Saturday and Sunday, it was honestly a Rock and Roll dream come true.

'Far From View' has had its first play on rage and triple J. If you could choose any music festival in the world for 'Far From View' to be played first live, which one would you want it to be? 

Jack: All Tomorrow's Parties, perhaps a UK edition. Hands. Down.

People always say that comparing one artist to another isn't fair, but one artist always comes up in conversation when discussing who you could be compared to - Nick Cave. Your thoughts?

Jack: Nick is great! I’m definitely a fan. People say things like you shouldn’t compare one artist to another but people often do. We’re humans, we can’t help it. I think it’s natural really, we both have baritone voices and are Australian’s who write swampy music. I’m not comparing myself to Nick Cave on any level, as I think he might have a turn in his sleep if he knew he was being compared to a little 24yr old boy from Sydney, but it’s certainly flattering, and Push The Sky was perhaps the best record released last year and something I spent a lot of time with. Those Nick Cave comparisons run pretty rampant though in the circles of musicians I’m friends with (Bridezilla, Ella Hooper, Kirin J Callinan, Daisy MT, Jack Ladder); I think I liked it best though when Noah Taylor, who happens to be mates with Nick, coined me as Australia’s Nick Gayve. Clever.

When writing your songs, do you find yourself drawing on:
A: personal experience
B: experiences other than your own
C: fictional storytelling
D: some/all of the above? 

Jack: D: All of the above. I’ve been thinking about my process of songwriting a lot lately. As someone who was trained to be a classical composer I definitely had a strong process when it came to composing on manuscript, but with songs it’s all a lot of mental work and memory. I never write anything down. However, I will be traveling to Melbourne in June as a keynote speaker at this big song-writing event TBA so I plan on having a more formed answer for the lecture. I don’t just want to throw anything out off hand without having considered my answer first.

How's the rest of your 2014 looking? We've heard 'Far From View' and know you've got some tour dates lined up, but where are you going from there? A new EP or album, perhaps? 

Jack: Rainbow Chan said to me in the depths of a severe depression last year, “2014 will be your year, Jack,” and so far, I feel like Rainbow is right. It’s been pretty good. I am feeling good. 'Far From View' is the first single off an EP I plan to have out later this year called ‘Only when flooded could I let go’, DON’T CRY THOSE TEARS will be the second single off it, it’s another cheery number and as of a few days ago I’ve decided that I want to direct a 4:00min musical to accompany the clip. Think ‘Dancer in the Dark’. Apart from that, only time will tell, but I hope Rainbow is right. 

Lady Gaga, Kate Bush and Bjork walk into a bar. You're working at this imaginary bar that would obviously be the greatest bar of all time. They tell you to make them whatever drinks you want. What are you making for them?

Bjork drinks: a single plum floating in perfume served in a man’s hat.

Kate Bush drinks: a small cocktail of red substance, garnished with embers of a burnt copy of ‘The Odyssey’ and placed on a beer coaster featuring the face of David Bowie, the other study under Lindsey Kemp. She finishes the drink slowly, with much duress and leaves hastily leaving behind a scrawled message on her unused napkin…”Roseabel, Believe”   

Lady Gaga: Is not allowed within a 500-foot radius of the bar. Please, go away.  

When they air the Jack Colwell 'Behind The Music' TV special in thirty-nine years time, what are they going to say about you?

Jack: Whatever they say, I hope I’m not around to see it. There’s going to be some very, very grim mugshot somewhere down the track. However, I’d definitely be down for when they auction off my estate on Antiques Roadshow to pay for all my legal costs.


Thanks for stopping by for a chat, hope you have a great time getting 'Far From View' out into the world and we can't wait to hear more from you!

And seriously, we do mean a big thank you to Jack Colwell for taking the time to write up some awesome answers! The man makes incredible music AND makes excellent Simpsons references. There's a lot to like here, right people? Keep up-to-date with all of Jack's activities by paying a visit to his Facey-book page. Upcoming gigs below!


SYDNEY | Saturday 29th March @ The Vanguard, Newtown
Tickets $20 + BF from thevanguard.com.au

MELBOURNE | Friday 4th April @ Northcote Social Club, Northcote
Tickets $20 + BF from northcotesocialclub.com

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