Jack Gray launched onto the scene with debut EP Nights Like This in 2019. Since then, the vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer has toured globally, bringing his music to people across Australia and around the world.
Playing more than 200 shows over the past few years, Jack has supported artists such as Dean Lewis, Mahalia, and E^ST. His singles ‘Down Side of Up’ and ‘My Hands’ both have around 1.7 million streams on Spotify, where the artist has more than 100,000 monthly listeners.
For isolation, Jack relocated from his home in Los Angeles, back to his family home on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. During this time, he’s been busy making covers, producing the songs for his upcoming album, and even creating a surprise collaboration with JEFFE (which saw them named as one of the Top 5 finalists for the triple j Unearthed DIY Supergroup comp).
His latest single ‘I Got 3’ was released last month and puts a clever spin on a well-trodden theme. “It’s a song about saying ‘I love you’, but it never actually says those words in the song,” Jack says.
We caught up with Jack to chat about his new single, what he’s learned during isolation, and when fans can anticipate his debut album.
Music Feeds: I read that you often create the skeleton of a song and then produce up to a dozen versions before choosing the one you feel is right. Do these scrapped versions ever get transformed or used in other songs? If so, what is an example of that happening?
Jack Gray: For sure! It’s happened a few times in the past but I think the most memorable example would be my latest track ‘Friends Like These’. That song started out as a beat for The Veronicas. It didn’t end up feeling quite right for them but I thought it still had potential so about a week later I started writing a new vibe over it. I think it’s important to always go back and see if anything is worth salvaging.
MF: Is ‘I Got 3’ inspired by a particular moment you’ve experienced, or more the general sentiment of feeling ready to say those important words?
JG: I’d say it’s more a general sentiment of wanting to say how you feel but not knowing if it’s the right time or the best idea. I tend to get caught up in moments like this and have learned that biting my tongue until I feel more certain about things usually works out better in the long run.
MF: Who are you listening to at the moment?
JG: I listen to very few artists because I just am so… it sounds really selfish, but I’m so surrounded by my project at the moment that if I’m not writing music I’m listening to the demos to see if there’s anything I can change. But I will say, there’s a select few artists that I do listen to, like, The 1975, Frank Ocean, and a newer dude who I’m super inspired by at the moment, Dominic Fike. He’s super, super cool! Yeah, those are the only ones coming to mind at the moment, that I’ve been hammering. I definitely get caught up in my own stuff sometimes, which can be bad it can be good.
MF: I’ve definitely heard that a lot. I’ve asked this question before to other artists and a lot of people say “when I’m focused on the art I’m creating, I’m not so much focused on listening to other peoples’ art.”
JG: Yeah, it’s a lot. And there’s just so much out there too, like there’s just such a massive plethora of music, it’s hard to latch onto anything these days.
MF: For sure. A lot of people seem to have taken this period of isolation to reflect and learn more skills or more about themselves. What’s something new you’ve learned during this time?
JG: I love playing pool, and I forced my parents – because I moved back to my parents’ for this time – I forced them to go halves with me on a pool table, and so I’ve been getting pretty damn good at pool, like eight-ball. So that’s definitely something that I’ve taken on! But also, and I think a lot of artists can say the same thing, I’ve definitely taken way more control over things outside of the music, like, my visuals and all the content around that. I bought a camera and some editing software – Final Cut Pro – and I’ve just been shooting heaps of stuff. With my girlfriend, she’s an artist and she can do animations and all this crazy stuff, so we’ve just been working together and getting all this content ourselves and it’s been really fun. We shot the ‘I Got 3’ film clip just ourselves and I edited it on my laptop. I feel like that’s just a common theme with ISO, like, all the artists making content at home by themselves. You’re getting like, a true representation of each artist because it’s all done by themselves and I think it’s really cool.
MF: Absolutely! So, I know you’ve got some new music in the works. When can people anticipate that coming out?
JG: My first album that is nearly finished – it’s a 12-track album, at this stage, and I’ve got most of the tracks mixed and mastered, so the music’s there and it’s ready. I really want to get it out as quick as possible, just because I’m dying to get all this music out. I’m really excited about it and I want to keep growing and I want to move on. Hopefully, we can expect a single every six to eight weeks after ‘I Got 3’, to the lead up to the album. And I’m thinking, the album… January? Around about that time, to come out then.
MF: Have a lot of those songs been created during this ISO time or were a lot of them done beforehand?
JG: A lot of them were done beforehand, to be honest. I’ve been producing them in ISO. I’ve spent a lot of time working on the sounds and getting the songs finished up, but I wrote a lot of them like, prior to ISO in Los Angeles, where I was living. This album’s been coming together for the last nearly two years. I mean, there are two songs that I’ve written here in ISO which are really cool. Yeah, it’s kind of just like, over a span of two years that this album’s coming together.