Interview: Spacey Jane

Bethany Coldwell sat down with emerging indie-rock band Spacey Jane during their first ever UK tour, to chat about their upcoming album Here Comes Everybody.

Australia's Spacey Jane are finally - to my luck! - passing through the borders and have just set off on their first ever UK tour, impressively selling out multiple shows on the other side of the world. Caleb Harper (lead singer), Kieran Lama (drums), Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu (lead guitar) and Peppa Lane (bass and backing vocals) first touched down in the UK in April, spending five days "doing all the tourist-y things" in the capital before beginning their eagerly awaited shows around the country. Despite his busy schedule, I was lucky enough to catch up with frontman Caleb with a long agenda of conversation topics, particularly about the extensive list of exciting things upcoming for the band. From a new single to a second album, I had questions about them all, as well as some random ones - because its not everyday you get to speak to a member of one of your favourite bands, after all.

After the release of a new single, Sitting Up, a slow but very ‘Spacey Jane’ song, with a chorus that makes you want to sing along on a beach somewhere hot but also sit and cry with a bottle of wine, I was eager to find out more about their upcoming single It’s Been A Long Day, and what more we should expect from their second album Here Comes Everybody which will be released in the summer. "It’s probably all of our favourite songs from the record", Caleb explained of It’s Been A Long Day. "It was written during a relationship, and was talking about this idea of feeling as though I couldn’t express myself because I was dealing with so much and we ended up breaking up". He went on to express how, cleverly, the song develops lyrically from one headspace to another. "The song ends I really loved you, but it used to be I really love you. It’s like a before and after where there’s a change in the middle of the song that you don’t really notice until the end". A sad and personal one, but a song I can’t wait to hear.

"I wanted to talk about experiences people go through between the ages of 18 to 25... just how weird and hard that time is for so many people despite the fact that it’s supposed to be the best time of your life"

One thing I love most about Caleb’s song writing is the intimacy of his lyrics; they are like poetry. I love the feeling you get when a song finds the words to your feelings that you can’t quite grasp yourself. Behind Spacey Jane’s rocky drums and catchy guitar chords, the vulnerability expressed through the music is mesmerising, and makes it extremely easy to relate to and feel connected to the music on a personal level. Eager for new music, I asked the man behind the music if these personal lyrics were something we should expect for upcoming album. He explained how speaking from experience is his default writing style and the easiest thing to talk about, because you don’t have to make anything up. The second album, however, would stray slightly from the themes of love and relationships most notable in their first album. "I wanted to talk about experiences people go through between the ages of 18 to 25. I’m sort of leaving that now. But, just how weird and hard that time is for so many people despite the fact that it’s supposed to be the best time of your life and how a lot of people are actually pretty unhappy. There’s not a lot of space to feel that way, I think because you’re supposed to be young and happy and enjoying things." He added, "I grappled with that a lot so I think in a sense it’s personal, but I think it’s time to speak more to other people and the general situation people go through in that age bracket".

With Spacey Jane’s lyrics being so personal, I wanted to know, from the songwriters point of view, how it felt to have somewhat of a diary published to the world, with an ever-growing, global audience. There are some songs, Caleb told me, that are particularly personal to him. Good Grief, from their first album Sunlight, although it has "bizarre lyrics" (his words, not mine), is about a breakdown with his relationship with his mum, and family. "Head Cold, as well. Those songs are pretty tough to sing. They’re the kind of sings I forget the lyrics to because you’re like ‘What am I talking about?’. Family ones are tough, they’re different to relationships." We agreed that breakups are a very common theme for musicians, but families are not the kind of thing that people tend to sing about. "Is it difficult for people to know what’s going on inside your head, and know about your feelings?", I asked him regarding his song writing. "It’s funny," he replied. "I often feel like on stage it’s sort of a character, it’s an act. I’m a different person, throwing myself around a bit and I’m all these things that I’m not necessarily in real life". He described it as a separation between the person who wrote the song and the person performing the song. "Once the songs out, its not really mine anymore. It’s for everyone." People go on to find their own meanings for the lyrics, and relate it to what they’re going through.

The band are, in Caleb’s words, making "big-little" steps as they begin this tour, with a tour around the US on the horizon. He added that he would love to tour France, after a few weeks of "doing the classic Australian backpacking thing" around Europe. It is something he says that they are looking at for the end of this year, which is one show I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for! But throughout their touring, I was interested to know if they had any pre-gig rituals to prepare themselves for the sold-out venues of the world. "We all sort of have our own little things", he told me, "Kieran not so much, he kind of just goes with the flow. Peppa sometimes listens to house music and dances and bops around. I always, consistently, half an hour before the show, do a vocal warm up. Come back from that. Skull a glass of red wine. Put my in-ears in and stretch my legs". I was particularly amused by the necessity of red wine, whilst also completely understanding it. "Ashton listens to some heavy rock and thrashes about a bit. During the shows, he seriously moves around, so he gets himself psyched up."

They have such a diverse discography full of summery, upbeat, feel-good songs which are broken up with some slower, more meaningful songs that encourage you to relate the lyrics to your own life. Before the show, I was most excited to hear Feeding The Family live - a classic in Spacey Jane's discography, but I was also interested to know what the band's favourite song to perform was, and was surprised at the response I received. Caleb told me the most obvious one was Booster Seat because "the sing along is always so incredible", and there are quiet moments where he can listen to the crowd. "It’s beautiful to hear people singing our song back to us. The song means so much to us and although its something we created its like its gone full circle ad now its like a gift to us." I appreciated this perspective, because as much as the music is there to be enjoyed, it's sometimes easy to forget that these lyrics and songs are like listening to someone's diary aloud. I couldn't even comprehend the feeling of a room full of strangers singing my own words back to me. It was clear, too, throughout the conversation, just how grateful they were for the support they had and the love the crowds have for their music. With so much coming up for the band in the next few months, I am positive that the support will only grow. Here Comes Everybody, my headphones are waiting for you.

Bethany Coldwell


Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Michael Tartaglia via Spacey Jane via Facebook.