Teenage Joan Triumph With Their Debut Album

‘It’s been pretty crazy but we ground each other, me and (drummer and vocals) Thalia Borg are best friends, and it’s cool to be doing such cool things with your best friend. A lot of the experiences we are doing are wild and it’s cool to be on that ride with your best friend.’

Vocalist Cahli Blakers from Teenage Joans tries to encapsulate the world around the duo as their corking debut album The Rot The Grows Inside My Chest is released, a spot on the touring Grapevine festival across Australia, their own national tour in a few weeks and a national support slot with none other than Foo Fighters to round out the year.

‘(Grapevine) are the first shows since we put out (the single) ‘5 Things I Can Taste’. One song we really love hearing being sung back to us is ‘Candy Apple’. We’ve been playing it for a couple of years and it’s really one of the songs that it feels like you need people singing along cause it’s just so emotional and heartfelt. It’s been amazing seeing everyone know the words. Festival crowds can get a bit rowdy but they’ve been very respectful and really passionate about a slower song. It’s been really fun.’

Their own five date capital city tour then gets underway and with amazing debut album too.

‘We have an hour set for the tour and we will play most of the songs (off the album). We’re still a two piece and we want to keep it authentic – we wrote the whole album by ourselves, no co writes. Some of the songs are a bit tricky to play as just a two piece, so we are working on that but we are playing mostly album songs and few throwbacks. We have been potentially talking about putting together a show in the future where we put together a full band, maybe a string section, and playing the album from start to finish because I would love to do that, but that’s a lot further down the line. For now it’s a mix of everything.’

The album itself, thirteen tracks of pure bliss, excitement and as far as this reviewer feels, some of the best collection of lyrics in one place this year.

‘We both journal but I have a little pocket notebook which is the size of my hand. It’s so easy to chuck in a bag and I bring it everywhere with me with a pen because a lot of the lyrics I come up with I’ll be walking around town, or on the bus, going about my day to day life or whatever pops into my head, so it’s been really helpful to write the lyrics physically rather than on my phone. I used to write them on my phone but it kinda stunted the process a little bit cause you can go back and delete it whenever you like but with a pen and a notebook it’s kind of permanent. I think it really forced me to write what I’d written and then be able to look at how it started to how it ended up. I usually just jot down an idea and obviously refine the words. A lot of it comes from that but a lot of it also comes from just being in the same room as Tahlia, we have really great chemistry, especially lyric wise. We chuck ideas around for a little bit and it will come out a really perfect lines.

The thirteen track album has two parts, in the days before digital, a side and b side if you will, which are content wise about what a lot of us go through, specifically relationships possibly with a particular person perhaps?

‘If we really boil it down it’s kinda about two people. It’s interesting you ask that question because I have always tried to be vague – Tahlia helped write the songs as well – but we are drawing from my experiences then broadening it out so it’s relatable for anyone. Which is really handy to have another person in the room . But it’s kinda about two people but we formulated it so second track to track six is one person-ish, tracks seven to twelve about the other person-ish. They all stem from lots different experiences because some is stemming from Tahlia experiences. We love to make our songs…not vague but sort of open. We don’t use pronouns or be specific. ‘Candy Apple’ gets pretty specific but apart from that all the other songs we tried to keep them open ended so that anyone can relate to them. I mean as much as we love artists like Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridges, who do get very specific with their song lyrics, it’s a great feeling to hear a song and go ‘I’ve been through exactly these things and felt exactly these things’ and feeling like you’re not alone’.

This is a thirteen track album though and while most of the album has now been accounted for, it’s in this reviewers humble opinion that the cherry on top the cake that is the album is track thirteen, and album closer, Kaleidoscopes. I would argue if this was dropped thirty years ago, you wouldn’t be able to move for how big it would get.

‘That was the first song we wrote for the album but we didn’t know we were writing an album! We wrote it in 2019 before our first EP. When we wrote it we knew it would close an album one day, we didn’t know we would do an album, but we knew it would close it! We had to save it off the EP and save it for something bigger and when this came around it felt right to put it at the end.’

I think even since then, I would’ve been nineteen in 2019, Tahlia would’ve been seventeen maybe sixteen, and even then we envisioned strings on it, it had to be a grand finale! We drew heaps of inspiration from a song ‘Outer Space/Carry On’ from 5 Seconds Of Summer and ‘I Just Want To Sell Out My Own Funeral’ by The Wonder Years.’

For now they are Adelaide’s own however with the freshness of the album, the current and upcoming touring schedule (I mean you can’t much bigger than Foo Fighters!!) we may lose them to the rest of the country. Best check them out now before that happens.

Interview By Iain McCallum

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On tour on the following dates…