Lets kick it off with a simple but interesting question. Who is Jen Cloher, and how did she come to make music for a living?
I’m not quite sure who she is or how she came to make music, I’m still trying to work that out myself. All I know is that song-writing and performing seem to provide her with all of the challenges she needs to keep getting out of bed in the morning.
You went to NIDA, do you still do any acting, or is it all music?
Not really, I recently made a clip for my new song Mount Beauty but that’s about the most acting I’ve done in years. I enjoy acting but I get what I need from performing and recording. I like being my own director.
Say somebody stumbles across you playing a live set. How are they going to describe your sound to their mates. What other comments might they make?
I get a lot of Patti Smith comparisons but that might be because I’m scrawny and have brown hair.
What does your record collection look like? Which artists and bands have had the biggest influence in shaping your sound?
So many. My all time favourites are PJ Harvey, Neil Young, Gillian Welch, Neko Case, Wilco, Karen Dalton, Leonard Cohen. I love rock n roll infused with country and blues.
What is the main drive of inspiration behind your songs? Is there one experience you always draw on, or do you try and mix it up?
I draw on everything – birth, death, love, heartbreak, parents, friends, nature. I talk about day to day stuff because I think that art is about identification – talking about simple things but creating the platform to do it in a way that can be transcendental.
Your other band members, Courtney Barnett (Solo), Bones Sloane (Immigrant Union) and Jen Sholakis (Laura Jean, The Orbweavers, East Brunswick All Girls Choir) have recently had some success with their own projects? Do you help out with any of their other projects?
I wish. I’m a fairly decent songwriter and I can play OK guitar but I haven’t developed my musicianship enough to walk onto other people’s projects (aside from singing). That’s a skill I want to develop because it would be REALLY FUN not having to worry about being the front person all the time!
Coincidentally, Courtney’s band is supporting you on your tour this month, any chance you will make a special appearance in her set? Or do you guys let each other have their time in the limelight?
Courtney plays in my band and we perform a duet we wrote together. I wish I was playing guitar in her band. I’m going to learn the parts to her songs so I can do that next time we tour together.
You have just released a new single called ‘Mount Beauty’. How would you describe ‘Mount Beauty’ and what is the story behind the song?
It’s a rumbling, sexy unrequited love song. I was promised by a person I was quite besotted with that they’d take me to Mount Beauty near where they grew up. It never happened but I came across the town a year later on tour and it was so beautiful that it made me sad. I guess the song is a humorously melancholy reflection on why it takes me so long to get over people.
Album number three, In Blood Memory is due for 2013. How does it compare to the last album Dead Wood Falls? Anything relating to the new album that you’re especially excited about?
This album is definitely my rock n roll album. Dead Wood Falls was my folk album and first album Hidden Hands was my country album!
What are your other plans for little time that remains in 2012 and what does 2013 have in store for Jen Cloher?
We have a few dates left on our national tour, Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart. Then I’m laying down the finishing touches for In Blood Memory and getting everything ready to release the album and tour my arse off in 2013. Lucky 13!