Despite already having three well known sisters, the Blue Mountains now have to contend with a fourth, 60’s psychedelic power house band Sister Jane. Having made quite an impression on Sydney’s underground music scene in the last several years, Sister Jane are far less prone to water erosion than their nine hundred metre tall siblings. Catching up with them as they take a break from Sydney, lead singer and guitarist Dan Davey and I sit down amongst nature in the Blue Mountains to discuss their success and inspiration.
Blending sixties blues and psychedelic rock to produce a smooth, distinctive sound, the band have refined their skills and sound playing in former bands such as The Lovetones and Belles Will Ring, with the five piece citing their hometown as one of the key inspirations for their music.
“Our surrounds definitely influence both what appeals to us, and what we ourselves write. There’s something very inspiring about being up here among the misty cliff tops and tree ferns,” Dan explains in the tones of Buddha, gesturing at the landscape surrounding us.
I smile and nod, wondering how long it would take a helicopter rescue team to get up here. My worries are quickly forgotten as I get lost in Dan’s ocean blue eyes and blissfully calm expression while he explains how the band’s unique style evolved.
“Really it’s just how we feel about the world and our surroundings right now, in the 21st century, but somehow it just feels best expressed through a musical form that has roots in an earlier time,” he tells me amidst a barrage of hand gestures. “It’s also very elemental music that expresses nature, sex, and spirit, so it feels as good in the groin as it does in the brain.”
Groin sensations, for example the horrifying idea on sex on fire, seem to be the recipe for success in the modern music industry. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Sister Jane’s stock is continually on the rise (unlike any other current stock you care to mention). Consistent airplay on independent radio, as well as strongly supported shows all over Sydney have lead up to Jane’s third and most recent single, ‘Feel A Change Comin’. Dan elaborates as the mountain air sweeps through his golden locks.
“It’s very encouraging to feel a part of something bigger, like a family or a community of like minded souls. It’s also a very interesting time to be making music like this, because although the audience is small, it is also global. People the world over are getting off on this kind of music. Its reach is vast via the net.”
Getting off is something that has always been synonymous with psychedelic music. Consider it no coincidence that the Beatles classic ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ shares an acronym with everyone’s favourite love drug LSD. However Dan assures me that their music comes from a different place, staring off in the distance with a glazed look in his eye.
“With regard to psychedelic drugs, be free and do whatever gets you through the night. In terms of our music making it’s never been linked to psychedelic drugs. Psychedelia, to me, is a way of seeing; it can be brought on by many things. Alchemy is one way, but meditation, prayer, and visions are another, even suffering and sacrifice. Making and listening to music has always been what takes us to a deeper place.”
The sheer altitude is starting to give me the bends, so I ask what the future holds for Sister Jane.
“We are recording currently, and are excited about sharing that with people as soon as we can make it happen. And as always, we are madly writing, trying things out to see what works for us, and what doesn’t.”