Interview: Spacey Jane on Connection and Community

Friday, October 4, 2019

“What’s going on and how are we even allowed to do this?” — Spacey Jane may be bewildered by the added attention on them, but no-one else is surprised. The last couple of months have been a whirlwind for the WA-based up-and-comers. From playing Splendour in the Grass, supporting Charly Bliss, BIGSOUND, finishing up a headline tour, the list goes on — to say that they’ve been busy is an understatement. Yesterday, they announced their biggest headline tour yet and are planning on finishing up the year in a big way. During their stop in Melbourne last month, we sat down with Spacey Jane to chat about what they’ve been up to and how they’ve been handling the attention.

Amongst the busyness, the band have undergone some changes, with previous band member Amelia leaving to pursue a career in medicine and sexual health advocacy. Peppa, Spacey Jane’s newest addition, arrived just before the band were swamped with shows and festival spots, “I feel like I definitely arrived at a great time. It’s a dream come true overnight, it’s really amazing,” she said on joining the band. Peppa’s first show was during their supporting slot during Charly Bliss’ Melbourne show in July as part of Splendour in the Grass.

Playing Splendour in the Grass was a major moment for the band, and since then, it hasn’t stopped for them. But if you think they’re bored of it just yet, you’re mistaken. Caleb said, “We haven’t reached a point where it's a drag though. I’m sure that time might come. Maybe once the tour is done and we get to sit down an process it, we’ll be like ‘holy fuck’.”

They’ve enjoyed the intimacy of the shows that they played on their recent tour, and with their current trajectory, the rooms will start getting bigger. “We love playing intimate shows. We’ve been able to meet so many great people and people who enjoy the music and are fans. We enjoy being part of the community. It’s something we always try and do,” said Caleb. Though the band joked that if the shows ever got too big, they might consider playing under a secret name.

Last month, they played BIGSOUND, which is an experience they enjoyed immensely — though the industry-focused event might be overwhelming for many, they joked that they want to go every year. Caleb said, “I don’t think we had any negative expectations, but we heard it was like an industry thing, but I don’t think we knew it was going to be so community-based and that we would meet so many great bands. We made a lot of friends and I think a lot of good things will come from it.”

Being a West-Coast-based band means that they don’t always get the opportunity to meet other people within the community. However, they enjoy living in Perth and the music scene over there. Kieran notes that Perth’s music community is a “beautiful melting pot of different ideas,” also adding that “Everyone in forced to interact with each other and we all bounce off one another, so it can feel like a little family.”

Being based in WA also means that they’ve been able to spend time practising and refining their craft. “One of the awesome things about Perth is that you can’t easily come and go. In Perth, we had to get really good first and had the opportunity to play a lot of gigs. We had to work hard and practice until we reached a point where it was worthwhile taking the shows east,” said Ashton. Caleb admits that Perth’s music scene is less genre-focused, “I feel like there are less genres in the city. Maybe there was a time where psych-rock was the huge thing, but there aren’t ten bands doing the same thing,” Kieran adds that artists in Perth are “individually celebrated".

They might joke about racking up frequent flyer points and being able to use airport lounges (thanks to their tour manager Jez), but they aren’t letting it get to their heads — the focus is still very much on creating music that resonates with people. If anything, the added attention means that their music is connecting with more people, which they value more than money or hype. “We’re thankful for the recognition, but I know personally for me, I’m focussed on two things  — playing shows and writing music. Making music that connects with people is the whole purpose of why we do this. I know it’s why I love doing this, it's such a unique opportunity,” said Caleb. He also talked about the first time people started singing along at their shows, “The first time I saw people singing along at our shows, I was like ‘whoa, this is mindblowing'."

Their streaming numbers have risen rapidly, with the band reaching over 145,000 monthly listeners on Spotify — some of which are coming from overseas from places like the UK and the US. Kieran said, “It’s happening in small degrees, Australia’s our main one, but we’re getting plays in the UK and the US. I don’t even know how that happened. We also made a playlist in America called ‘Rockin’ Vibes’.” Caleb adds that the rise in numbers is just another sign that their music is connecting with people, “I think it’s just another version of connection and engaging with people. If they’re listening, then maybe they might come to the shows too. Connection is everything to us.”

At the end of the day, in-between all the craziness, Spacey Jane are just a bunch of mates who love spending time with each other. Caleb said, “They’re all my best friends and the closest people I have. This band is my passion.” Peppa summed up the band’s entire mission, “Spacey Jane is an outlet for everything that happens in life, and we get to dance and make other people dance too. It’s just good times all around.”

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (folio)

Live dates:
November 22nd - Prince of Wales, Bunbury
November 23rd - Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle
November 28th - Paddo RSL, Sydney
November 29th - Miami Marketta, Gold Coast
November 30th - The Tivoli, Brisbane (All Ages)
December 1st - Solbar, Sunshine Coast
December 4th - Uni Bar, Wollongong
December 5th - Transit Bar, Canberra 
December 7th - Howler, Melbourne 
December 8th - The Espy, Melbourne 
Sasami (US) and Vacations will be joining their East Coast dates. Click here for more information on the tour. 

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