Premiere: Perth's J.F.K return with another breezy slice of garage-rock in Always
The Perth-based group drop a stand-out new single ahead of a couple of West Australia shows throughout the next month.
Since Tame Impala's unexpected (but deserved) rise to the top, Perth's indie-rock scene has been overwhelmed by a wave of similar-sounding psych-rock groups, all taking on this laid-back psychedelic sound which has seen Parker and co. become one of the finest indie acts in the world. Always - the first single from Perth five-piece J.F.K since their Stages EP last year - tap into this sub-genre but in a slightly different way, only applying a light shading of this psych-rock sound (particularly evident in the single's chorus) and instead, using it to only compliment their more garage-rocky tone which has more of a darker atmosphere around it. It's quite an impressive single, keeping this sound fresh and exciting by creating a unique blend of garage-rock, psych-rock and even a touch of Brit-pop, unlike anyone else in Australia. With a couple of west-coast gigs to come (dates at the bottom), we thought we would get to know the five-piece, lead by multi-instrumentalist James Knox, and work out what exactly the group and their sound is all about.
Tell us about yourself?
Hey I’m James Knox the front man and songwriter for J.F.K. I’m a multi-instrumentalist and composer (legit, I just finished a grad dip at WAAPA in composition). I play in a couple of different Perth acts, although J.F.K is pretty much my baby – a 5-piece rock band I put together with some of my close mates.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
I guess it’s a couple parts garage with some psychedelic and Brit-pop elements. Our earlier tracks drew a lot of influence from bands like The Hives and The Beatles and of course Tame Impala/POND, but over the last year our music’s gradually developed to have a bit more of a darker sound. We basically just like playing stuff that people can rock out with us to.
What are your production and writing processes like?
It used to be pretty sporadic, but it’s a bit more fluid these days. I usually start out with a single melody or lyric idea which stews in my brain for a while. Then if I think the idea is strong enough I’ll sit down with either my 12-string acoustic or a piano and flesh out a draft of the song. After that it’s a process of showing it to the other guys and refining it into something we’re all happy with – sometimes I’m pretty set on parts and structure, but other times we’ll bounce ideas around for a while until we end up with the ‘final product’. I guess everything really solidifies once we’ve laid it down in a studio though because the song starts feeling like a real thing with its own identity. We were super lucky to work with Dave Parkin on this track, and he had some killer production ideas which really brought everything to the next level.
Can you tell us about your new track, Always?
Sure. I wrote Always out of frustration I guess. My partner’s a FIFO worker and there’s always this crappy 2-day period before he has to fly back to work where we both know we won’t be seeing each other for a while and it’s always just the worst feeling. One night before he left I watched him have a nightmare in his sleep and the lyrics and melody just came to me. I’d actually written the chorus maybe 2 weeks earlier and the two worked together really well so that’s how it started.
The track itself is QOTSA-inspired with hints of Bowie and POND thrown in – the verses have got some dirty Britpop strums which open up into arena/pop rock choruses. Even threw in a couple cheeky string parts tracked by yours truly and some sick twisted 80s synths to give it some sparkle. I’ve got to give a quick shout-out to Georgia Treloar for the amazing artwork and also to Dave Parkin (again) at Blackbird Stuidos for the sick recording/mixing/production.
What’s the rest of your year have in store?
We’ve got heaps of gigs lined up at the moment and we’ll be putting out a follow-up single in October. I’m also hoping to head back into the studio in maybe September or November to lay down a few more tracks - really keen to keep playing shows and putting out new music.
Where can we find more of your music?
Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Triple J Unearthed etc. Our manager Sarah’s a gun so our music should be up on most (if not all) of the streaming services. We’re also working on putting some merch up on our bandcamp at the moment which should be sorted in the next month or so.
July 22 - The Odd Fellow, Fremantle
July 27 - Always single launch @ The Bird, Northbridge (w/ Raksha, Candy Guts and more)
July 28 - Jam-Boree Grand Final @ Jack Rabbit Slim's, Northbridge
August 25 - The Basso, Bassendean
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