Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jonathan Boulet, Sydney

Current band rollcall?
Jono Boulet - Guitars/vocals
Ravi Gupta - Guitar/vocals
Rebecca Shave - Keys/vocals/percussion
Dave Rogers - Bass/vocals
Tim Watkins - Drums
You - handclaps/vocals

Jonathan Boulet has been (musically) around since …
Always been writing music, put first album together a couple years back just after high school was done. It was just a collection of songs I recorded over the years.

Let's play Six Degrees of Jonathan Boulet. What are some interesting musical links you could come up with?
The guitarist from my other band (Parades), his hairdresser is the the ex-girlfriend of one of the guys from the band Cult of Luna.

First song ever written?
I used to do a bunch of electronic stuff, and I've got hundreds of four-bar loops that I made with my keyboard during high school. But the first one I ever released to the public would be a song called Storm's A-Comin'. That was the first track I recorded properly, the first time I got some good microphones and an audio interface.

Music making for you began when …
When we started our first band with the guys from Parades, we were in a punk/hardcore band. All we ever wanted was to be known as the wildest, craziest band around. So the aim at every show was just go as nuts as our bodies would allow.

Most unusual sound/instrument you've used in your music?
Cupboards, doors, coconuts, cars driving by. I sampled a British cousin saying 'wicked' once just 'cos I really liked his accent.

Strangest gig you've ever played?
No strange gigs yet. Mainly because I haven't played any as yet. But I'm sure I'll have some kind of answer once I'm done with Tame Impala …

Do you pin up images when recording to help inspire your songs? (Or put up other things in the studio for the same effect?)
Not really. Sometimes it's fun having lava lamps and such. We've had this crazy star projection thing before, though. You turn all the lights off so it's totally dark, then when you turn this thing on, it projects thousands of stars onto the roof and walls. It's really crazy 'cos they're moving really slowly … but it doesn't help because you're too busy being blown away that you can't get anything done.

Unlikeliest thing to influence your music?
Punk/hardcore music. I can't really cite specific songs or parts where the influence show through, but I know it's there. There's alot of great ideas and vibes in that style of music and it's always good to be open to anything.

Most unconventional topic you've covered in your lyrics?
That's a hard one because, for most of my lyrics, I'm not even sure what they are addressing.

If you had to offer any of your lyrics as love advice (or life advice), you would offer …

Most useful lyrics you've heard in a song?
"In the wake of our existence, in our parades and in our dances; touch, see and behold the wisdom of the party program. Essential in our lifetime and irresistible in our touch, the great spirits proclaim that capitalism is indeed organised crime and we're all the victims. This next one is called Refused Party Program."

Do you think the country/city/town you live in affects your music in any way?
Yeah, for sure. The environment you're in, in general. I'm getting really sick of this garage and I think it affects the way I write music. Like I can't get inspired to write fresh sounds when I'm in a place that I know so well. So when it comes to writing the next record, I'm definitely going to do it in another room.

You would love to record with ...
A massive crowd. Like, hundreds of people recording the vocals at the same time. That would be epic.

Favourite person you have performed with/recorded with …
Seekae, Megastick Fanfare, Ghoul, Bearhug and Sherlock's Daughter. All super-promising bands on the up and up.

Outside of your solo music, you spend your time …
Skating, writing music, Parades, Snake Face, trying to be artistic.

Next for you is ...
This Tame Impala tour, followed by some intimate Sydney shows, and the official release of the record.

If record stores had to come up with a new genre name to file your music under, it would be called ... (feel free to come up with the craziest-sounding-yet-most-accurate name)
"This music is OK."

A CD burn wrapped in an old journal called Modern Medical Counsellor was my introduction to Jonathan Boulet. Then 19 years old, he’d dropped off a demo at FBI’s Music Open Day late last year. It was sealed together with masky tape and had a computer-printed set list. After All was the first song I totally fell for and I loved it even more when I later discovered the shuffly percussion came from him jumbling cabinet drawers open and shut. Continue Calling, with its Animal Collective-esque pop-racuousness, was the single we played on FBI.

Earlier this year, his music got picked up by a New York label, Evident; made the run of coolsy music blogs, and Community Service Announcement became wonderfully unavoidable. A great great song that was part of the new self-titled album, repackaged with additional songs from that first demo. I asked him to come onto Local Fidelity for a chat and song and he brought an army of people, a kick drum and great stories to tell. (The coconuts referred to in one of the answers above are actually from a coconut bikini that his grandad wore at a Hawaiian-themed party. Perfect.) I’ve never seen so many people packed in the FBI studio, and they all hollered along beautifully to Continue Calling, it was a test-tube version of the live performance that he wanted to do on a real stage. And now, after shunning venues for so long – exiling himself so he could experiment with how to recreate his inviting music live (and I mean literally ‘inviting’, because he wants your voice to meld in the noise coming through the amps), Jonathan Boulet is finally doing a run of shows and what a start: supports with The Middle East and Dragging Pianos, Tame Impala and El Perro Del Mar. I cannot tell you how excited I am.

Head to his MySpace for all the essentials. You'll want to keep track.