Image: Sam Hendel

Spacey Jane: “It Sometimes Isn’t What You Do Say, It’s What You Don’t As Well”

In early June, on Spacey Jane’s social media platforms, the WA quartet celebrated an anniversary they were justifiably proud of. It had been two years since the release of their debut LP, Sunlight, an album unveiled in the first throes of the COVID quiet.

The album saw them rise to the top of the Australian music tree – ‘Booster Seat’ reached #2 in triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2020 and was Song Of The Year at the 2021 ARIA Awards – and make major inroads overseas. And despite setbacks and repeated delays due to the pandemic, they toured it both nationally and internationally.

There’s no laurel-resting involved in this celebration, however, as Spacey Jane have just released their second album, Here Comes Everybody, somehow sticking to an already impressively productive schedule during challenging times.

“It’s something we haven’t thought too much about in terms of the pace at which we make music or feel a pressure to create,” says guitarist Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu, “but I think it all just kind of fell together really fortuitously, and easily.”

Hardman-Le Cornu continues, “I mean, there were so many challenges with COVID logistically, but at the end of the day Caleb [Harper, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter] was writing during those first lockdowns. And even before then, there was always material that there was coming to be. It was a very natural thing, not super thought-out and perhaps we were afforded more time because we weren’t able to tour.”

It seems that if ever there was a time for touring musicians to make lemonade after being served lemons, the pandemic has been it. It’s certainly been a time for creatives to get creative.

“I think during COVID we really clung to the album,” says drummer and manager, Kieran Lama, “because that was like the one thing that we had moving forward. We couldn’t play live, so it was like,  ‘at least we can make music.”

A prolific songwriter, Harper already had songs on the go for a second album in mid-2020, many of which made it onto the new release. “There were four tracks that we recorded before everything else,” Lama says, referring to ‘Lots Of Nothing’, which hit #3 on triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2021, ‘Pulling Through’, ‘Lunch Time’ and ‘It’s Been A Long Day’.”

“’It’s Been A Long Day’ especially stood out to us as going to be an important landmark on the next record, however it was going to take shape,” Lama says. “And then as things did come together, everything kind of fit in and worked really well. It’s almost like a mini-COVID-EP within the album.”

“But I feel like they blend in really well with the rest of them,” Hardman-Le Cornu adds. “They’re part of the whole as it is now.”

Spacey Jane – ‘Lunchtime’

It’s an old truth that recording a second album is markedly different than recording a first. While Spacey Jane warmed up for Sunlight with a string of EP releases, their second album has had a completely different gestation. That’s not only due to their rise in profile and the subsequent demands of that, but also the hitherto unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. It made for a dynamic approach to the task ahead.

“We started looking at it from a perspective of playing the songs live as well and what songs would perform well to larger audiences,” Lama says. “There are certain moments that you experience live and it’s something we definitely thought about in the studio – thinking about it as a live experience, rather than just some songs being recorded. Playing for larger crowds and touring definitely influenced the sound of the album.”

The band ran through demos and initial tracking with Perth studio whiz and previous collaborator Dave Parkin before hooking in with Gold Coast producer Konstantin Kersting (Tones & I, The Jungle Giants, Mallrat).

“It was cool when we did bass and drums because Kon came over to Perth and Parko was engineering,” Hardman-Le Cornu says. “So we still had his presence and it was just nice to have that and work with Kon.”

He adds, “We love Kon so much, he’s an amazingly talented producer and just the funniest dude. So, to have everybody there, it was really, really cool, but then COVID unfortunately stopped Kon from coming over for the rest of it. So Caleb and I went to Brisbane to record guitars and vocals over there, which was an entirely new experience as well.”

Kersting’s production imbues warmth and empathy within the songs – it’s lush at some points but there’s plenty of space in the arrangements as well. “Caleb, in particular, from the outset of recording, was aware of [leaving space],” Lama explains, “rather than what we’ve done in the past with songs, where we kind of just cram a lot of stuff together and get excited about what we could do.

“I think we were sort of taking inspiration from The War On Drugs and Phoebe Bridgers, where there’s plenty of space to their records. There’s a lot of room for the sounds to work with and kind of realising it sometimes isn’t what you do say it’s what you don’t as well.”

Spacey Jane – ‘Hardlight’

For Spacey Jane, the next challenge is in incorporating an abundance of new songs into their live set when so many of their previously-released songs have soundtracked the lives of the audiences who sing-along to them word-for-word.

“I think it would have been a lot harder if we hadn’t been able tour Sunlight as much as we have,” Lama says. “For the first year of Sunlight, we played eight shows or something right at the end, but then we toured like an insane amount, all over Australia, and then we’ve got to take those songs to the UK and New Zealand.”

That 17-date UK/Europe tour back in April was not only a career highlight for Spacey Jane but another long-awaited and previously-postponed trek (a similarly postponed US tour will now happen in October). It was a long way and a lot of work going from the stage of their beloved local, Mojo’s Bar, in Fremantle, to the 1800-capacity Electric Brixton in London.

“You really do think about the journey to that point,” says Hardman-Le Cornu, “because none of us had been there before and then we were there doing the thing that we love doing. So it was like doubly exciting.”

“There was a lot to process and we were in and out so quickly that it was kind of overwhelming, but it was amazing,” says Lama. “And then there’s people we’ve never met before, like, just know nothing about. We always went out after each show to try and meet everybody because we just wanted to know who was there and what kind of people were rocking up.”

“People who’d been waiting for us to come over two years,” Hardman-Le Cornu says.

“It’s so great to meet people and the common thread is just music,” Lama says. “It wasn’t a complicated thing at all. I think we didn’t know what to make of it, but as soon as we arrived and things went the way that they did, it was like, ‘Okay, this makes total sense. And hell yeah, we can’t wait to come back’.”

Spacey Jane – Here Comes Everybody Australian Tour

  • Friday, 5th August – Perth Arena, Perth WA
  • Thursday, 11th August – Big Top, Sydney, NSW (New Show)
  • Friday, 12th August – Big Top, Sydney, NSW
  • Saturday, 13th August – Big Top, Sydney, NSW (Sold Out)
  • Wednesday, 17th August – Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD (New Show)
  • Thursday, 18th August – Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
  • Friday, 19th August – Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD  (Sold Out)
  • Tuesday, 23rd August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC (New Show)
  • Wednesday, 24th August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC (Sold Out)
  • Friday, 25th August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC (New Show)
  • Friday, 26th August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC (Sold Out)
  • Saturday, 27th August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC (Sold Out)

Tickets on sale now

Spacey Jane – Record Store Appearances

  • Saturday, 25th June @ 11:00am – HUM on King, Newtown, NSW*
  • Sunday, 26th June @ 2:00pm – Rocking Horse, Brisbane, QLD+
  • Monday, 27th June @ 4:00pm – Landspeed Records, Canberra, ACT*
  • Tuesday, 28th June @ 4:30pm – Clarity Records, Adelaide SA *
  • Wednesday, 29th June @ 4:30pm – Oh! Jean Records, Melbourne, VIC*
  • Thursday, 30th June @ 4:30pm – Mills Records, Fremantle, WA+
  • * signing only
  • + acoustic performance & signing
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