Jess Locke on recording Universe and her creative process

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

About to head on her biggest tour yet, Jess Locke has a massive month ahead. We had the chance to ask her some questions on her album, the creative process behind it and signing to Pool House Records.

Congratulations on your new album Universe, how does it feel to be able to set it free? 
Amazing! It feels like so long ago we were recording and I am so happy some other people can finally hear it!

Where were you when you found out you were being signed to Smith Street Bands label, Pool House Records?
I think I was in my bedroom... It wasn't like an official thing. Chris (my drummer) got a text from Chris (drummer from TSSB) and he was like 'Hey, we are starting a record label, you wanna be on it?' kind of thing.

Did you feel any extra pressure being their first ever artist signed to the label?
No. The whole thing is pretty relaxed. There's nothing really riding on me other than what I want out of this. No million-dollar advance I need to pay back... Obviously, I want to not suck but that's kind of constant feeling.

You describe your music as sad pop in your Insta bio, do you think this theme of music is explored more than ever now?
Ummm.. no, not really. I kind of use that term half-seriously. Like, yeah, some of my songs are sad, but I'm not committing to it as my aesthetic. I think I just say that about my music because it's impossible to describe what kind of music you play in a couple of words anyway. So I guess I wanted to get across that my music is pop, but it's not like pop pop. It's deep... haha. Um, but back to the question. No, popular music has always been just as sad as it has been happy. We just have more terms to describe it nowadays.

You mentioned that you wanted to capture certain atmospheres in this album, how did this idea first come about?
It didn't really come about in any specific way... I think I just meant that the record isn't held by any pre-determined theme, lyrically. Some of the songs were quite old and some really recent... so it wasn't like I sat down with a clean slate and started this project. It's more like a collection of songs. But even though the songs weren't directed in a particular way, I think the overall sound of the record was. I started playing with my current band just after I put my last record so this new record feels like the sum of what we have done over the past couple of years since then. So I guess that's what I mean by aesthetic... it's what's come out of these three people playing together and gradually shaping the sound of things over that whole time.

There's a real dreamy essence throughout, did you use any unique techniques to record some of the songs/sounds?
I think compared to my previous recordings there are more layers and more different guitar sounds going on. I have always been fairly minimalist when recording. And I think I still am. I have always been pretty into doubling things thought. Vocals and guitars. I just really like the way it sounds. So there is definitely a lot of that going on. But I have definitely also been experimenting more with pedals and stuff, lots of chorus and vibrato and a bit of fuzz and then just things like compression. Fitzy, who recorded the record, had a lot to do with the dreamy vibes. In terms of just knowing how to make things sound nice, but also getting creative with editing little snippets of guitar noises here and there to give things another dimension. We recorded a lot of the backing vocals in the shower to get a kind of spooky, echo vibe.

Do you feel that you accomplished what you wanted with this release?
Yes, I think so. There are always a million tiny things that you would change after making any record and it gets hard to think anything after you have heard it so many times. But I think I knew that going into this one... so yeah, I did everything I was expecting to do and I think it came out really well!. Overall, I am happy with it. And, more importantly, I learnt a lot and got a lot of ideas for making the next record. I kind of see this record as just a little piece in a puzzle that I am still making. And that's what I find exciting - seeing that puzzle grow and change over the years. So, yeah, I couldn't be happier that this little slice is finished and people can hear it! I am already thinking about the next bit.

Anything exciting coming up that you would like to share with us?
Well, we are touring the record all through November! This will be our biggest tour yet so we are very excited about that. Tickets for most shows are already on sale at

You can catch Jess Locke at the below shows:
3rd November - The Foundry, Brisbane
4th November - Crown & Anchor Hotel, Adelaide
8th November - The Phoenix Bar, ACT
9th November - The Lass O'Gowrie Hotel, Sydney
10th November - Marrickville Bowling Club, Marrickville
11th November - Beatdisc Records, Parramatta 
17th November - The Old Bar, Melbourne
23rd November - Four5Nine Bar, Perth

Written by Kristy Smolcic