Jen Cloher – Surviving ‘Mount Beauty’

Jen Cloher, the Aria-nominated singer/songwriter from Melbourne, has recently released her latest single Mount Beauty. A story of heartbreak and hangups, Mount Beauty is a splashy guitar-driven ballad where Cloher’s vocals lift, wane and break with remembrance and want.

Before heading out on a national tour with fellow Melbourne indie artist Courtney Barnett, Cloher took the time to give Music Feeds a little intel into the inspiration behind Mount Beauty, the tale of woe that was making the film clip, and the bond shared between Australian artists.

Available via Cloher’s bandcamp profile and on limited 7-inch split vinyl with Courtney Barnett, Mount Beauty will also appear on upcoming LP In Blood Memory, due out early 2013.

Music Feeds: Your Facebook page mentions that it was quite an ordeal to film the music video Mount Beauty. What exactly happened when you crawled inside that log?

Jen Cloher: I needed a cigarette. Seriously. That log had stuff in it that I never want to remember. But you know, I’m willing to suffer for my art. Ha!

MF: Whose idea was it to have you dive into the Yarra, and make you crawl through the leech-infested bush? Was there an evil mastermind or do you only have yourself to blame?

JC: It was the director, Bec Kingma. We’ve been friends for awhile and I think she had some deep seated resentments she was able to take out on me by coming up with a clip treatment that nearly killed me.

MF: Being from Victoria, has Mt Beauty always been a place of significance or a source of inspiration for you?

JC: Not really. The whole song is about a person I had a thing for who told me they would take me to Mount Beauty, but you know, it didn’t work out (yeah, I was dumped) and then a year later I ended up there by chance and it was really beautiful and I felt sad and then I felt angry that I hadn’t entirely gotten over them. You know that feeling. When will thoughts of them ever end? Why am I such a soft touch etcetera etcetera…

MF: Scrolling through your Twitter posts, Mount Beauty has earned you praise from the likes of Missy Higgins, Ben Lee, and Clare Bowditch. How does it feel to be held in such high regard by your peers?

JC: I guess we’re a community of music makers who have been creating music for over ten years now. I’m just eternally grateful that those artists who have pretty impressive followings are happy to share my work with others. When you’re independent and self-managed, you need all of the help and exposure you can get.

MF: How did you come to make a 7-inch split vinyl with Courtney Barnett, and how exciting is it to have your first vinyl pressing?

JC: I discovered Courtney’s music a few years ago. She’s been playing in Melbourne for a good three or four years and things are really starting to take off for her, which is exciting. She’s the real deal, and if triple j are going to get behind a new female artist, then I’m thrilled it’s someone like Courtney, who isn’t afraid to use her own voice and tell it like it is. We inspire each other; she’s playing in my band for this tour, so it felt like a natural idea to release a split 7 together. Vinyl rules.

MF: Will Mount Beauty appear on your next album In Blood Memory, and when can fans expect the follow-up to 2009’s Hidden Hands?

JC: It surely will! The album [In Blood Memory] will be out early next year. But we’ll be previewing at least half of it on the November tour.

MF: You’ve got a national tour behind Mount Beauty running throughout November. Can fans see you at any festivals over the summer?

JC: I’m going to use this summer to complete the album, but I’ll be playing hard next year to promote the album, and I’m looking forward to hitting the festival circuit again.

Jen Cloher – Split 7 Tour with Courtney Barnett – Australian Tour Dates

Thursday, 1st November

Front Gallery, Canberra

Friday, 2nd November

The Vanguard, Sydney

Friday, 9th November

Wheatsheaf, Adelaide

Friday, 16th November

Flying Saucer Club, Melbourne

Saturday, 17th November

Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

Thursday, 22nd November

Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

Saturday, 1st December

Republic Bar, Hobart

Watch: Jen Cloher – Mount Beauty

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