Releasing some of their most personal material yet, Perth’s Jack Davies and The Bush Chooks release their new EP, Songs For A Long Walk. A collection of moving and authentic indie-folk music, Songs For A Long Walk shines a light on the group’s defined musical identity, led by songwriter Jack Davies’ unwavering strength as a vocalist and songwriter.
Six tracks recorded at the beginning of 2020, Songs For A Long Walk were created before the world was plunged into a prolonged stage of limbo, yet when listening to the songs now in the midst of it, the comfort and warmth they exude are second to none. Jack drops by for a quick interview with Hi Fi Way.
How was the lead up to the EP release?
It was actually a long time coming! We originally wanted to release the EP in June, but lockdown sort of blew all our plans to smithereens. I was quite gutted at first, we missed out on a couple tours over east and heaps of shows that are really quite essential in the lead up to a launch. But you have to just work with what you’re given, and I’m very proud of how the band handled it. The lead up to the release show was a little stressful, but it’s just because we’re doing so many new things. It was the largest headline gig I’ve put on before, usually we play 200 or 300 capacity rooms, so to sell out 500 tix was a big step up for us.
Was it as much hard work as you thought?
It was pretty much just as much work as I thought, it was just a bit more all consuming than I would’ve hoped, like you can’t just switch off at 5pm. I was also working a lot and staying up quite late. I realise in the week leading up to the launch I had hardly slept or had any alone time, so right before the set I just sat in a room by myself for a while and shut my eyes. That’s something I don’t usually do, but was definitely necessary in this situation. Everything worked out in the end though, a big relief.
Have you been stoked with the feedback and comments so far?
Definitely. My dad liked the EP, so I’m all set. Having your friends and family on board really helps. I do also really appreciate the nice comments online and at the launch though, it really makes it worthwhile to feel as if someone has felt some genuine sort of connection with a song. I feel like I’ve said thank you a lot of times since the EP was released – but that’s a real good thing, because I have lots to be thankful for. There are a lot of things I would like to do better next time though, which can bite away at my brain even when people say nice things about the EP. But over time you just have to put aside those self doubts and instead use them as bits of wisdom for the next recording session.
Did COVID add another layer of complexity in getting it done?
Yep, well that’s one way to put it. It obliterated all of our plans and really affected my headspace. It kind of kills your hopes and motivation about a musical career when you know the whole industry is on hiatus. We had literally just started touring nationally when borders shut, we had a whole tour booked across australia and so the timing was a real kick in the knee. Being stuck at home for so long unable to work or do the thing I loved was a huge bummer. The one good thing was that I have a drum kit at home, and my housemates are musicians, so we just jammed our way through lockdown. Not being able to see my band for so long was a real downer though.
Sonically, how would you describe your music?
Music for food lovers? I talk a lot about food in my songs so that’d be a big one, but that’s more lyrical than sonic I guess. In terms of sound I’d say we have elements of folk, country, indie pop, indie rock and a few psych tinged bits too. Just a mash of all the sounds I’m interested in. Genre as a concept sucks, but those are the boxes I’d pick for myself.
How did you find The Bush Chooks?
It slowly evolved over time. Originally we formed as five piece when I was eighteen, at a birthday party for our first drummer Jack Seah. I knew Jack because he played drums for our friends band, our bassist Sam was a sound engineer we knew, and George / Hector were old school friends of mine. In the early days, everyone kind of switched around as the band evolved. The rest of the band came from musicians we met at shows etc, just kind of a natural progression. First Jack A joined, then Elise, then Chet. It’s been the same for a while now though so we’re all pretty tight with one another.
What are some of your main shared influences?
Chet is a huge Beatles fan which I think has helped pull everyone together. But generally we all have our own influences. From folk to more electronic beats. We all like the same music but we all focus on different genres, I think that keeps our sound from getting stuck on one thing, which is cool. We all love the blues, we all love a bit of soul, we love just playing any genre we can really.
Are there plans for an album at some stage?
Yeah, we’d love to do an album. I think at the moment we’re just waiting until we have the experience to do it right, and the resources to really record and release it properly. It can be difficult as an independent artist to know that an investment like an album is going to pay off. These songs mean a lot to us so we want to do right by them. We also have so many songs these days that we’re going to have to do a big album soon just to get them all out there!
How excited are you about the prospect of touring?
I live for it! As I said before, we were just starting to tour when this COVID stuff all started, so I’m essentially just waiting to continue right where we left off. We get a lot of messages from crew over east who are keen to catch a show and that keeps us really keen to play there. It’s such an honour to know people will be there to listen and support. WA is such a small place in terms of population so it really does feel like there is a lot more opportunity for growth on the east coast.
What’s a fun fact that your fans wouldn’t know about Jack Davies & The Bush Chooks?
I don’t actually like hot chips. I sing about them a fair bit, but it’s purely for the fiction. Everyone else in the band loves hot chips, but not me. I just never have. I’m sorry. Please don’t be offended! I eat them sometimes at the pub when I am really starved but that’s about it.
Interview By Rob Lyon