Interview: Jack Colwell

Kyra Shennan


Jack Colwell will be leaving his backing band the Owls behind when he begins shows in Sydney and Melbourne with Ella Hooper as a part of her national tour. However, though he won’t be visiting Perth on the West coast leg of the tour, he hopes to visit later in the year when he releases his E.P. The self-confessed “day-dreamer” shares his thoughts on classical training, music as a sacred art form and opens up about matters of the heart.¬†

Colwell was a classical concert bassist, he is a self-taught “clumsy” pianist and has been playing a lot of guitar recently. The multi-instrumentalist is aware of a certain “elitism” in classical music and the belief that classical musicians are better than those who are self-taught.

“If you’re smart, you’re quick to realise that isn’t the truth,” Colwell says.

However, he believes the training has given him more options when adding sounds to a track.

Colwell attributes his work with vivid live as helping to put him on the map in Sydney. He describes his experience working with Yeah Yeah Yeah’s leading lady Karen O as “absolutely incredible” and ” surreal working with someone you’ve admired”. With the help of Karen O and his involvement with her “psycho opera”, ‘Stop the Virgins’, he has learnt the importance of sacredness in music and¬†believes some things should be saved for special occasions.

“Culturally, as Australians, we don’t tend to look at things as sacred or spiritual,” he says.

“We’re constantly sharing things, constantly letting people have things for free, our ideas and our photos, parts of ourselves.”

He feels connected to artists who are not swayed by popularity, favouring a more obscure style. Jack has covered songs including Beach house’s ‘chamber of hearts’, a recording which he intended to send to an ex-lover, and Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of love.’ He cites Kate Bush as one of his inspirations. He also sights Nick Cave; which explains the Cave-esque sound in some of his songs.

Jacks latest release ‘Far from view’ is his interpretation of a break up song where shame and heart-ache boil down into a “swampy, shoe-gaze rock song”. It begins with an orchestral intro, followed by the “swampy” violins and guitar which transport the listener into the rawness of those feelings.

“I certainly think that there’s a sense of desperation and escapism in my music,” he answered when asked if there is a particular mood he wants to convey. As someone who suffers depression, Jack feels his music puts himself outside of his sadness.

If real artists are the ones that create using truth and emotion, then Colwell is some kind of master.

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