Victorian singer-songwriter Jackson McLaren and his band The Triple Threat are coming towards the end of a country-wide tour with Australian rock legend Phil Jamieson. But the Grinspoon frontman is not the first Oz rock royalty the young McLaren has worked with.
At just the tender age of 17, whilst playing a gig in his country home-town of Warrnambool, Jackson McLaren caught the interest of fellow troubadour Josh Pyke and not too long after was making a record in his house.
That, coupled with his childhood musical diet consisting of the likes of Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, fuelled his early passion for music and set him on tours around the country, long songwriting sessions and working with the best producers in the biz. All culminating in the release of his forthcoming album due early 2014.
Music Feeds managed to catch a brief moment with this busy talent to find out, just how he did it.
Music Feeds: Tell us about your musical influences growing up, when did you realise you wanted to play and write music?
Jackson McLaren: I grew up in a very musical household and was surrounded by music right from the start. I found my old mans Stratocaster [guitar] under the house when I was about 7. It was a thing of wonder. I was hooked!
MF: It seems like your career took off really quickly, going from playing gigs in Warrnambool to meeting Josh Pyke and recording an EP in his apartment. How did all that happen?
JM: I wouldn’t say my career has taken off quickly but meeting Josh has certainly helped me a great deal. When I was 17 I opened for Josh when he played at the Loft in Warrnambool. He showed a lot of interest in what I was doing and we got along well. Next thing you know I get a call from his manager. A deal is signed. I’m making an EP produced by Josh in his Bronte apartment.
MF: Your fate as a poetic folk artist was kind of sealed when you were given “Bard” as middle name, does literature provide inspiration for your music?
JM: Way to put on the pressure! I’m a voracious reader.
MF: We heard you’ve moved from country Victoria to Melbourne and put together your band ‘The Triple Threat.’ Tell us about them.
JM: My band are all extremely talented musicians and they all have a degree in music. I’ve never had a music lesson in my life so I’m very fortunate to have these lovely men around. I’m really pumped to get and play some full band shows in the new year. Myles Anderson plays the Violin/Mandolin. Jake Sherry plays Bass. Mirra Seigerman plays the Drums.
MF: Has your writing process changed, going from working alone to working with not only a band but also ARIA Award nominated producer John Castle (Washington, Gossling, Vance Joy)?
JM: My writing process usually begins with the lyrics, a few verses, the basic melody and eventually I’ll work it up enough to take to the band and we’ll start giving it some more shape. Working with John has been incredible. He has a good ear for parts and arrangements. That has definitely opened up my way of thinking.
MF: The song ‘Some of My Friends’ really details a quintessential 20-something experience, comparing where your friends are in their lives to your own. Tell us about the inspiration behind the song.
JM: I wrote the song in the late summer this year while sitting at the kitchen table. I had some cheese and ham sandwiches toasting and was listening to a lot of the Triffids at the time. I got to thinking about my friends and my own position. I was also inspired by a Robert Forster article: “You will watch as people your age in other trades pass you by in their accumulation of worldly goods. In accepting this you will have to be your own biggest believer to carry on, because without your own faith and the love of what you do, you will fail” -(from the article Treasure in the Attic, The Golden Age of Singer Songwriters).
MF: What can we expect from the forthcoming album?
JM: You can expect to hear 10 songs that I am proud of.
MF: You’ve been touring with Phil Jamieson, has he passed down any words of wisdom?
JM: Phil left me in the middle of dinner one night to go back to the venue and write a set list. With a half smile he said “It’s all about the show”
You can download Some Of My Friends for free, here.
Watch: Jackson McLaren And The Triple Threat – Some Of My Friends