‘I obtained sick of speaking about myself’: Spacey Jane is again with music for the Covid era

From beneath a mop of curls, Caleb Harper – Spacey Jane frontman, guitarist and songwriter – seems each half the disaffected Gen Z idol. However beneath the floor, and on songs like their mega-hit Booster Seat, he excavates particular and devastating recollections of a life lived beneath a cloud of hysteria and despair.

“There’s plenty of theatre round what we do – that kind of smoke and mirrors and lights,” Harper says from his residence in Perth, the place he’s settling again in after six months away, together with a 17-date tour in Europe and the UK – the longest he’s ever spent away from the west coast. “However it’s exhausting to be enigmatic and likewise make the music that we make.

“And so we kind of blur this line between artists and simply common individuals. For me, it’s actually troublesome to navigate that. Typically you’re the performer, typically you’re simply your self, being actually open and trustworthy.”

The music video for Spacey Jane’s track Hardlight off the brand new album Right here Comes All people.

The West Australian band has shortly gone from relative obscurity to one of many nation’s most in-demand acts, with nationwide excursions and worldwide curiosity coming thick and quick. Because the band fashioned six years in the past, they’ve put out a string of buzzy releases together with Good For You, Skin and Lots of Nothing, which landed at No 3 in Triple J’s 2021 Hottest 100 ballot.

When the band began, Harper was failing out of college, the place he was learning chemical engineering and finance. As a depressed teenager, he had constructed up impenetrable defence mechanisms; a yearning for approval left him with an id disaster. He floundered at uni and misplaced contact with music and his mother and father.

“One other wasted day / Sleeping off the starvation pains / Saying you’re okay … Getting fucked up and kicked out,” Harper sings on Not What You Paid For from Spacey Jane’s upcoming second album, Right here Comes All people. The track is like stepping right into a time warp, he says: “That’s an image of what I used to be once I was 18, 19: a kind of chameleon-like particular person making an attempt desperately to search out group, and riddled with psychological well being issues and ingesting … I used to be out and in for some time.”

When he and his faculty good friend Kieran Lama, who’s each the band’s drummer and supervisor, obtained collectively to type Spacey Jane, it was a coincidental second that ended up being a approach out. “I’d credit score the band – each the music and the individuals – with giving me one thing to be captivated with,” Harper says. “I used to be a really misplaced child and didn’t have any focus or drive to do something.”

Their guitarist, Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu, joined later and in 2019, Peppa Lane – who describes herself as having been “a little bit of a fan” of the band’s early work – changed the outgoing bassist, Amelia Murray, finishing the now tight-knit unit. (Murray stepped away from the band to check drugs and, in response to Lama, is just some months from “being a totally fledged physician”.)

Reasonably than limiting them, the West Australian music scene was a supportive enclave for Spacey Jane of their early years, granting them the possibility to develop into gig-fit earlier than venturing additional afield. Or, as Lama places it, “Perth affords you the chance to be shit and get good”.

“We had the possibility to chop our enamel for a number of years earlier than we may even afford to play reveals over east,” Hardman-Le Cornu provides. “So by the point we did that, we have been actually prepared.”

Spacey Jane’s track Booster Seat.

Their 2019 nationwide tour took them to Melbourne’s Curtin Bandroom and the Lansdowne in Sydney – venues that might match round 300 punters. Once they returned to these cities a yr later, after lockdowns and border closures, they’d an debut album, Daylight, that may attain No. 2 on the charts and have been instantly promoting out the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and the Enmore Theatre six occasions over.

Launched in June 2020, Daylight chronicled Harper’s experiences with psychological sickness and discovering regular footing in relationships and the world. These clear-eyed lyrics have been doused within the sunny guitars and catchy choruses that see each Spacey Jane present resemble an particularly enthusiastic prayer service, the place everyone seems to be reciting each line, word-perfect, with spiritual devotion.

“The factor that Daylight confirmed me was that my experiences weren’t as distinctive as I believed they have been,” Harper says.

He started writing Right here Comes All people within the early days of the pandemic in a determined try and shake off – or at the very least externalise – the confusion and panic he was dwelling by means of. However after dredging up his fears and insecurities on the primary batch of Spacey Jane songs – and discovering a rapt and keen viewers on the receiving finish of them – he made a aware effort to zoom out and attempt to put himself of their sneakers.

“I feel that I simply obtained sick of speaking about myself. I needed to be a bit of bit much less egocentric within the writing,” he says. “Covid was a contributing issue within the sense that there was this collective navel-gazing befell, since you have been simply left with your self.

“I needed to get away from that and converse to what different individuals have been excited about.”

There may be few individuals in Harper’s place in Australia who may be this type of generational vanguard, exhibiting the children who’ve had a few stunted, interrupted years that somebody understands them. Throughout the document he tries to fulfill them the place they’re; on Bothers Me, he sings: “Graduate spend summer season determining … Gave my younger years toeing the road / I can’t bear in mind months at a time”.

However most frequently, the document grapples with themes of self-destruction, veering between fucking up and beating your self up for it and the anxiousness gurgling away beneath all of it. They’re widespread fixations for touring musicians, whose existence serve to dredge up or exacerbate dormant private points. (Harper describes touring and all that comes with it – the partying, the unhealthy meals and worse sleep – because the “ugly facet of the factor you’re keen on”.)

Harper is a bit of cynical of the label that’s been affixed to him due to his openness in interviews and his lyrics – “It’s been fascinating to look at it’s portrayed as this ‘indie-rock poster boy for psychological well being’,” he says – however appears to have accepted the accountability to assist younger individuals, significantly younger males, discover methods to be susceptible and search assist.

“I put myself on this place, however there are positively occasions once I suppose I’m exposing myself an excessive amount of,” he says. “It’s simpler once you’re writing or once you’re on stage: there’s a personality and there’s a track, lights and a PA to cover behind.”

  • Right here Comes Everyone seems to be out on Friday 24 June (AWAL).

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