SOS: You’ve obviously been playing music with bands forever, what was your very first band like?
JP: Awful. (laughs). I was 14 and played with 3 other mates, 2 of which are still playing in bands now and are heaps heaps good! We were called ‘Shattered’ and we played nu-metal. That’s all you need to know!
SOS: Jess porter ‘solo’ – is that a new adventure or something you’ve secretly been working on over the years?
JP: Nothing I do is premeditated really… I just kinda go with whatever takes my focus at any given time. To be honest I’ve always wanted to do a solo album, but I only did it because I was going overseas for a while and knew I wouldn’t be able to write and play with my regular partners in crime.
SOS: Do you find you best write your material on tour or back home?
JP: Probably at home. I’ve always needed to set aside time to write music, but one of the challenges of writing the Surrealist was that a lot of the time I was out of my comfort zone, so I had to push myself to be creative in different situations. So I think I’m now a lot better at being able to be creative ‘on the fly’.
SOS: Speaking of home, after the move to Melbourne from rAdelaide – what’s the verdict on Melbourne’s music scene?
JP: I love it. I love it mainly just because I’m getting to discover new networks of people, new venues, new musicians. It’s a bit different though – Adelaide is more all-inclusive. Because there aren’t as many venues or people in general, musicians tend to really band together in Adelaide, despite style or whatever. I think genres are more segregated here, because the population density allows for it.
SOS: Your album ‘the surrealist’ has tracks suggesting an influence from abroad? Can you elaborate on your trip to America and what experiences are reflected in the album?
JP: I tried to be really literal with this bunch of songs. In previous bands my lyrics were more ambiguous, more political or socially motivated. This album is very personal. Songs like Grandest Plans, Coming Down and Mazunte Ballad are talking to specific important people in my life, Play Street is about the people I lived with in Brooklyn, First Step I actually wrote a couple of years ago on my first overseas tour with a band called Illicit Eve, while sitting in a tour bus in some god forsaken rainy British town.
And then there’s self reflective songs like Insurgents, where it’s kind of a wake up call to myself. I’m saying to myself ‘hey, stop procrastinating, you don’t have any excuses, write some music and do something with your life’. I like that that song’s the opening track, cos’ when I listen to it it still motivates me
SOS: You’ve just started playing with 1.1 Immermann back in Adelaide – what’s the story there?
JP: 1.1 Immermann is a band that’s been around in a few different formats for a few years. The first album was made before I joined and had 2 horn players and 2 guitarists. Jarrad the drummer composes all the music then the band learn it. It’s all meticulously arranged. Jarrad is an absolute genius.
Anyway, I took over from guitarist James Brown when he moved to the UK a few years ago, but when he came back Jarrad decided to can the horn players and started writing music for 3 guitarists (me, James and Dylan Marshall).
That’s what the lineup is now. 3 guitars, bass and drums. All instrumental. Very fun stuff and the album is sounding immense. I think it’s going to be something I will be very proud to have played on.
SOS: What’s jess porter’s solo adventure plans for the next 6-12 months?
JP: I’m still deciding that one. But I’m trying to put together an absolutely killer ‘Jess Porter Band’ over here. I’m pretty picky and I want people who are into as many styles and approaches as me. My new drummer, Ross McCallum, has really inspired me lately. His keenness has made me keen to put some effort in and jam regularly, develop a chemistry and get a shit hot group together. Besides that, I’m going to record another album probably over summer. I’ve been co-writing with a few people and I want it to be almost the opposite of the Surrealist – featuring hordes of guest musicians, vocalist and co-writers. It’ll be great.
SOS: Describe your solo stuff in 5 words to someone who has never seen or heard you before:
JP: Fun, emotive, dynamic, passionate, silly!
SOS: Cheers babez! It’s been a pleasure.
JP: Naw, thank you!