Australia has, for a long time, been a place to watch for musical exports. A country touted as having some of the most innovative and exciting artists, particularly, in recent years, in the electronic music world. Kicking off, of course with the Flume explosion, things then snowballed with a succession of party-ready producers all out-doing one another’s drops, synth lines, and feature singers.
The downfall to identifying as an electronic artist when you’re not making party music is that it becomes a kind of difficult elevator pitch. Enter Jack Grace. If our current collective of Sydney electronic artists were a classroom of 5th graders, Grace is the quiet kid in the corner who has no idea how cool he’ll be in high school.
So maybe it’s time to stop lumping all electronic music under one umbrella? After a quick chat with Jack Grace about his upcoming debut EP, River it seems pretty clear that he agrees.
“Look, I love party tunes but this project started in a place where I wasn’t in that kind of mode. I wasn’t being miserable all the time, I just wasn’t trying to do that sound. So I guess the record doesn’t have ‘drops’ on it but that’s not something I automatically equate to electronic music either.”
Grace’s newest single off the forthcoming EP was met with descriptors such as “melancholic”, though with his relatively quiet online presence we thought it best to ask Grace himself if that was the intention on All Lost.
“It’s funny for me because when I made it, it was when I’d finally gotten to a place of acceptance with this situation I was going through and so I was more euphoric than sad in a way. People have defined my music as melancholic because that’s how they’re experiencing it but that’s not always the intention.”
Whether intended or not, the EP evokes some pretty potent emotional responses, both melancholic and euphoric. A better one-word descriptor would perhaps be mesmerising. Grace possesses the ability to blur genres without disconnecting emotionally. River is a heady blend of RnB, gospel, footwork, trip-hop and post-dubstep, which is quite a mouthful during said elevator pitch, but Grace is more than aware of his unique approach.
“I do feel that there are elements of what I do that sit across different genres. It’s all stuff I’ve intentionally done and tried to create this feeling of… I mean I don’t want to call it post-genre music because it’s still very much within an electronic space, but I guess I try and move between a few different things that may not have been explored yet.”
Part of this urge to explore uncharted waters stems from Grace’s already impressive portfolio as a writer, producer, and collaborator. So although still perceived as an emerging artist, Jack Grace is in no way new to the game. Having worked with the likes of Ngaiire, Paul Mac and BUOY, Grace is finally focusing on his solo project. Talking about how he’d like audiences to consume River and when he knew to focus on the solo work, Graces says he’s learning to let go and watch the project develop on its own.
“A friend said to me that releasing music is like canning food: once you’ve done it and it’s out on the shelves you no longer get to access that. For whatever reason, people will take it and experience it in their chosen way and you don’t control that.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing, writing stuff that gets called melancholic, though it can be if it shuts people out because that’s never my intention. I want people to experience it on their own and have whatever feelings they want to have with it because it’s personal. During the process of writing a Jack Grace song (rather than for somebody else) I’ll get the feeling it’s something I really want to say and I like that it’s something I can best communicate.”
The debut EP from Jack Grace, ‘River’ is available this Friday 28th October. Jack Grace will be supporting Oliver Tank at the Dreams 5th anniversary show on November 11th and will play Panama Festival later this year.