Set to release his third LP in late September, indie-folk singer songwriter Jack Carty has spent the last few months on the road supporting good friend and music luminary Josh Pyke, with whom he co-wrote the first single from the upcoming album ‘The Joneses’.
Currently on the road with Katie Noonan, Carty had a very clear vision from the beginning, that he wanted the upcoming record to be more collaborative, making ‘The Joneses’ a fitting first release given that both artists’ sounds shine through in this modern pop gem.
We caught up with Jack to chat all things touring, favourite Australian venues and his forthcoming album Esk:
Firstly congratulations on your new single ‘The Joneses’ and your upcoming album! We had a sneaky listen to your new album here at Speaker TV and the early praise it has drawn is certainly deserved.
Thanks! I’m really glad you like it.
You’ve been travelling and touring for the past three years, how have you found the time to write and record such a well thought out album?
I had a particular aesthetic pretty clearly in mind from the start, which was helpful in providing a sort of compass that could inform my decisions (or not) along the way. I tend to be writing all the time. Or at least, I always have at least one or two ideas for songs swimming around in my head. Quite often I will be living with an idea for days before I get the chance to actually flesh it out, so when I do it kind of pours out all at once… After that I just have to fine-tune it all. Touring is good for that because you can try things in front of an audience and see how they go.
You’ve said from the get go you wanted this album to be more collaborative, who have you worked with and did you fulfill your expectations?
I wrote a song called “The Joneses”, with Josh Pyke and wrote/sang a duet called “The Universe” with Katie Noonan. I also co-produced a few songs with Casual Psychotic with whom I collaborated on last years “The Predictable Crisis Of Modern Life” E.P, and had my band much more involved from the early stages of pre-production. Soph (Drums), Gus (Bass) and I have been playing together since the Break Your Own Heart recording sessions, but this was really the first time they have been involved in fine-tuning arrangements from the start. It’s all far exceeded my expectations. The collaborative side to this record has been an integral part of achieving the sound we have, and moving slightly away from the straight up folk-introspection of Break Your Own Heart in a way that still feels natural. There is also just something fun about making music with friends; Jordan Millar played a lot of the Electric Guitars, Dan Parsons came to my house to record Pedal Steel and Gabby Huber from Maples sang harmonies on a few tracks. We had a great time.
Your new single plays on the old adage of “keeping up with the Joneses”, delving into a common modern dilemma – letting comparison be the thief of joy. Did certain personal experiences inform the writing of this song and what themes, (lyrically, musically and anything else) inform your upcoming album?
I co-wrote ‘The Joneses’ with Josh Pyke and he already had the chorus and a sketch of the first verse when I arrived at his place to start writing, so the seed of that song was not so much based on my personal experiences. I certainly had some experiences to draw on in finishing it though; I think in this day and age more or less everyone can relate to the pressures of comparison and expectation on some level. I like how it’s got a certain irreverence to it, it makes the whole thing sort of lighthearted.
The themes that consistently stick out to me on this album are more concerned with change and growth and the way that their constant, incremental progressions over time inevitably affect things like relationships, art, love and world-view.
You recently toured with Josh Pyke and will be joining Katie Noonan on tour soon after. How much do you learn from touring with these guys and what are some of your most informative experiences in your career so far?
The tour with Josh finished up a few weeks ago and now I’m smack-bang in the middle of the tour with Katie. It’s all been incredible, they are both amazing musicians and songwriters and I’ve been a huge fan of both of them since high school, so it is pretty surreal at times, driving around the country singing together. But then there is the other side of it, which is that they are two of the most lovely, down-to-earth people you will ever meet and I count them as friends, so in that respect it’s just a really good time. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to be gracious, and genuine at all times, and to remember how lucky I am. That’s something both Josh and Katie embody. I don’t think that is a music thing though, that’s just a general life thing.
Tell us about some of your favourite Australian live music venues to play or to catch a show at and about some of the first venues you played at when you started out?
Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club in Melbourne is a pretty amazing place to see music. In the small room there they don’t really mic anyone, so everything you hear is truly acoustic. I’ve played the Byron Bay Community Theatre a few times now, once with Justin Townes Earle and Robert Ellis, once with Katie Noonan and once with Josh on this recent tour, that’s a really lovely gig every time. It’s got the fact that you can have an ocean swim before and after sound check going for it, so that’s pretty hard to beat, and it is also quite close to my hometown Bellingen, so it feels familiar. The Majestic Theatre in Pomona is amazing too! Apparently it’s the longest continuously running silent picture theatre in the world. And Milton Theatre down on the south coast is 100% run by the community and haunted by a ghost named Walter, which was pretty great. I’ve always loved big old country halls with lots of history.
When I first started playing live around Sydney I played literally wherever I could. It’s all a bit of a blur really, but I do remember a couple of Monday night’s at The Hopetoun before it closed, playing to the bar staff. And the Cat & Fiddle in Balmain too…I remember I was really excited when I got a gig there.
Top five independent/local Australian artists past or present?
Just picking five is a really hard ask… At the moment it would be:
Who did the artwork for your new single and album and what’s in store from here for Jack Carty?
My beautiful girlfriend Natasha is a fine artist and graphic designer, so she has drawn, painted, cut and pasted all the art for the singles and the upcoming album herself…we had a “Crafternoon” a little while ago where I tried to chip in, but she is so wonderfully talented with anything visual that it became pretty apparent I’d better leave it to her. On the last album I painted all the art myself, I’m no good, but I liked the idea of making it all as DIY as possible. This time it felt right to collaborate on the visual aesthetic in the same way we collaborated on the audible one. All the better that it was with someone who saw the process of making this record up close, and who I could supply with a constant stream of hot tea when the deadline was looming, too.
The plan now is to release the album out into the world and get on the road to tour the pants off it around Australia and internationally. There will be all sorts of announcements on both those things in the coming weeks. I couldn’t be more excited x
Esk is due for release September 26th, via Gigpiglet and distributed by Inertia.