Sydney 4 piece Lovers Jump Creek have just completed their tour round the east coast of Australia promoting their debut EP. We caught up with lead singer Mark Webber to ask him about the tour, the EP, and music in general.
How and when did you form?
We all went to high school together and were on pleasant enough terms with each other – we weren’t all best buddies but we had never tried to set each other on fire or anything – any way Jaz, our drummer, wanted to have a band play at his 18th birthday party so he could play drums for everyone (he’s always been a little arrogant…). Ferg (bass) and our old guitar player had been jamming together for a while and since they didn’t really know anybody who could sing, I got the call up… The upsetting part is that I wasn’t going to be invited to the party until he needed a singer. Woe is me. So that was in early 2009, and after our old guitar man quit we recruited Sam, who was a year or two ahead of us in school and had always been that cool dude who was in a band. We’re all the best of friends now and it’s funny to look back and think we might not really have known that much about each other except that Jaz needed a singer. Cosmic isn’t it?
Where did the name Lovers Jump Creek come from?
We were arguing about names for a good six months and came up with some names that, in hindsight, were travesties and could well have spelt the end… For example; Amber’s Theory, Pistols at Dawn, and any combination of those words. Eventually I think it was Ferg who came up with Lovers Jump Creek after driving past the place on his way to practice and we all thought it sounded catchy and intriguing and so it kind of just stuck. I was campaigning to shorten it to Jump Creek or Lovers Jump for a while but I’ve been outvoted every time. Goddamn democracy.
What’s it like to have your debut EP out?
It’s just ridiculously exciting. We really took our time recording and releasing the EP and there was that moment when we put it out there where it was like “well… We’ve done all we can do and now it’s up to everyone else to see what they think of it.” It was certainly daunting but it was also sort of liberating. As it is right now, we’ve been getting some great feedback, so thank god about that!
Where did the name Bless this mess come from?
The idea actually came from an idea I had for a photo shoot where we would dress up as a family and do an awkward family photo. I think secretly I may have just wanted an excuse to wear a dress and a pretty blonde wig. The idea sort of snowballed from there and we decided to call the EP Bless This Mess in honour of those patchwork wall hangings you tend to see in REAL awkward family photos. I think the title also sort of reflects how we are the most useless organisation around but somehow seem to get by without hurting or hating each other.
Was it hard to pick what went on the EP?
Definitely. Choosing your favourite songs to record while leaving out the rest is like trying to choose your favourite family member and sending the rest of them to the glue factory. Or worse, HAVING TO CHOOSE THE ICE CREAM FLAVOOR YOU HAVE TO EAT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! Luckily, David Hemming (who produced the EP) helped by lending a fresh set of ears to the songs and putting in his two cents about which songs were the right ones to put down on tape.
Was there any reason you chose to release an EP rather than an LP?
There were a few reasons. Firstly, I would be lying if I said we had the cash to record an LP worth of material, and we didn’t want the quality of production to suffer because we were rushing the process. We also figured that recording five great songs would be a much better idea than recording five great songs and five or six crappy songs.
What was the inspiration behind the French kiss video?
Ah yes, the video. We were in our rehearsal space recording a video for another one of our songs, Ditty (which should be done any day now), and our mate Skinny rocked up to drop something off for us, and he was wearing this awesome jogging tracksuit and hat combo. Skinny is known for being somewhat of a renegade, so somebody came up with the idea of pointing a camera at him for the duration of the song and letting nature take its course. The result was a somewhat shocking and disturbing collection of footage. Considering that we wanted the video to survive more than five minutes on YouTube, we had to put together a relatively G-rated version. Maybe one day we’ll release a too-hot-for-YouTube version… But that would most likely have to be hosted on some sort of weird fetish site.
Your music fuses pop rock elements while having interesting experimentation in the background, is it hard to get the different elements to fit together?
I think the reason we smoosh so many elements together is that we do all of our songwriting together in the jam room, so every song gets a little bit of flavour from each member. We’re extremely close friends, so none of us is afraid to put out ideas, and nobody is afraid to point out when an element of a song isn’t working, so it’s easy to make sure the songs are cohesive.
You just finished a tour promoting the EP, how did that go?
Touring is the most fun thing ever! There is no better feeling in the world than turning up to a place you’ve never been, where you know nobody, play a show and have strangers approach you afterwards and tell you how much they dug your show. That’s not to say we haven’t had our fair share of shows where we’ve played to a big old empty room, but our attitude is that if there’s even one person in the room who hasn’t heard us and walks away and looks us up, then the show was 100% worth it. Touring is also super fun because you wake up in some exciting new place with your three best friends in the world and the only thing you have to worry about is being on time to your show that night, and you get to walk around and explore the local area and see some cool stuff. It’s totally not rock and roll but one of the most fun days we have had on tour was visiting parliament house in Canberra, just because we were being stupid and immature and… Pretty much making fart jokes all day because when you’re as hung over as we were you revert to childhood a little bit.
How do your live shows compare the studio versions of your songs?
We’ve always considered ourselves to be a live band, so one of our reservations about recording the songs was whether we could capture the energy we try to inject into our shows in the studio. I think we came pretty darn close to that with the EP, but I think there is always something a little special about songs when they’re screamed in your face from a stage, rather than pumped from a loudspeaker in your car.
Your press release talks about the band being a testament that hard work pays off, how hard has it been to get the band to where it is now?
We have really worked our collective arses off to this point. We have always been a band that plays a whole lot of shows, and a band that rehearses a lot. The positive result of that is that we’re very comfortable on stage and have learnt to write comfortably together. The other side of that is we’re always sleep deprived, always strapped for cash, and always late to everything that isn’t band related. Obviously the trade off is worth it because we love music and love being a part of the band.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Personally, I hear enough of the songs when we’re writing, rehearsing, performing and recording them, so unless I need to listen to a mix of a track I try to steer clear of listening to them. I feel like you’d kind of have to be a bit of an egomaniac to get off listening to your own songs too much. One thing I do listen to a lot of is the crappy iPhone recordings we make of a song when we’ve just written it. Partly because I can’t read or notate music so I have to remember song ideas off by heart, and partly because I get so excited about every new song we come up with.
What music do you listen to?
We all have different tastes in music but we still share a lot of common ground. A couple of bands that get a lot of spins on the old cd player on tour are The Dear Hunter, Cage The Elephant, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra, Closure In Moscow… Hrmm, what else… The Fratellis… Arctic Monkeys… I don’t mind some Blink 182… But we also love a lot of stuff that is less directly related to the kind of music we tend to play, like Rick James and Prince… Kate Nash… ABBA. OH! And we’re eagerly awaiting the release of the Strangers album. They’re a really cool Aussie band. Everyone should check them out.
Now that you’ve completed the tour what do you plan on doing next?
We’re starting our next EP right now! We’re going to try and produce, record and mix the EP ourselves, so that’s both exciting and petrifying. Other than that, we’re writing a heap of new material and rehearsing our little behinds off.
Check out Lovers Jump Creek’s facebook page to find out more.