I sent Jess Harlen an email to find out a few things about her, and I was stoked when she emailed back to me. Heres the entire interview. Get her debut album, 'Neon Heartache' out now!
Hey Jess, Im really excited to be doing this interview!
Thank you for responding. When did you first realize music was your calling?
A week after I turned 18 I went fruit picking in north qld and accidentally started playing gigs in the pubs up there. I was singing happy birthday to a mate and the bar guy was like 'keep playing keep playing' for free booze. Needless to say that was an appealing offer to me. I only knew about 8 songs so I was just making shit up on the spot to entertain the messy drunk backpackers for the rest of the night. The next week I had 2 residencies in different pubs and I guess it was around then that I realised music could be a goer. I always feel like I'm in full flight when I'm singing, it was that feeling that got me.
I love your debut album, it has a really chilled-out vibe. What inspired you when you were writing?
I'm inspired to write when I can't otherwise articulate how sad, sore sore, elated, peaceful or pissed off im feeling. It's like craving savory when all you've got is sweet crap to eat. Those songs are each like bowls of wedges.
If you could pick a musician to collaborate with for an entire album, who would it be and why?
They're all dead.
Would you ever create a song that was completely written in the Maori language?
I have written a couple in collaboration with my family, I'm hardly fluent when it comes to the maori language let alone poetic. I need to sharpen up on that though, it's important to know you're native tongue.
Since your music career has taken off, you've been able to travel to so many different places.Where have you gone that has sparked your interest the most?
Over the last year I've been to a ridiculous amount of countries that sometimes I forget I've been to them. Places like Slovakia and Austria, they've only ever been words to me but Japan was the most interesting. It feels surreal. It has the most hectic yet most peaceful places within one city. Tokyo felt like walking around a theme park most of the time, and for the first time in my life I felt tall. Occasionally..
Has anything bizarre happened to you whilst touring?