the AU interview: Jarrod Quarrell of Lost Animal (Melbourne)

Getting set to perform at Sugar Mountain Festival in Melbourne next month, and Golden Plains later in the year, is Jarrod Quarrell under his Lost Animal moniker. Sosefina Fuamoli catches up with the artist to learn more about the project, and find out what we might expect from the show at Sugar Mountain.

How have things been in the Lost Animal camp this year? What has the act been up to lately?

Things have been great. The first half of the year was quiet, we only played occasionally and were mostly concentrating on finishing the album. The second half has been largely about the album’s release and playing shows in support of it. The shows have been great and the response to the album has been very rewarding It’s been a year of great change and sometimes it feels like it’s been three years.

Where did the name Lost Animal come from? Is there supposed to be connotations or imagery related to isolation or restlessness?

It’s a running theme throughout my writing and it fit as a band name when one was needed. And yes, it has connotations relating to both those things and more. It’s pretty clear.

Can I ask what prompted the disbanding of St Helens? Being quite a prolific local band, quite successful at the time of the break up (to my knowledge, anyway), was there a twinge of regret once that band finished and the rebuilding through Lost Animal took prominence?

The beginning of Lost Animal was the ultimate catalyst for the end of St Helens. It was just the next thing. I saw it as a more sustainable outlet for what I want to do. St Helens was a five piece band and Lost Animal can be anything.

It is a little frustrating going from playing to good crowds to kind of rebuilding an audience but you just get on with it and it’s really pretty easy doing what you want to do. It just takes time. It feels like LA is at about the same place as St Helens was when I left.

I never felt regret that St Helens ended but I did feel like Hannah and I could have done more together, which we will.

Tell us a bit about Lost Animal – it was originally a solo project until recently, am I right? How did you come to enlist the talents of musicians including Shags Chamberlain for the live shows?

It started as a solo thing with me singing and playing along to backing tracks recorded onto a 4 track. It stayed like that while I was still in St Helens and doing LA on the side. The change came as the album was being recorded. Shags agreed to play on the album and then at one point he said he’d play shows with me, which is what I’d hoped would happen. We started using album tracks for backing around the same time. Nowadays we sometimes play as a duo or as a four piece with Luke Horton on guitar and Joel Carey on percussion. We’ve also had Kirin J Callinan play guitar for us the last couple of times we’ve played Sydney. It’s fun for me to drop in a new element.

Musically, would you say Lost Animal represents an evolution of where you were at, at the culmination of your time with St Helen’s?

Naturally. Evolution is constant.

How do you feel about the debut release Ex Tropical, now that it is all finished up? I know quite a few people were anticipating that one, in terms of seeing how stylistically, you’d changed from your St Helen’s period.

I feel great about it. I still like it, which isn’t always the case. People seem to like it. I’m happy.

How have you found performing the material off Ex Tropical since its release, are the crowds building more nowadays?

I love playing the album live. I have a lot of fun singing those songs, whether it looks like it or not. The crowds have been great. Since the first single launch we’ve been pretty much playing to full rooms, which is always good.

Performing as Lost Animal, did you feel/do you feel any more vulnerable and on show than you did before, because this is for the most part a completely solo project?

Yes, and that was the point. I wanted to, and still want to put it all on the line.

Lost Animal is on the Sugar Mountain festival line up in January. It’s a relatively new festival, how do you feel to be involved?

It’s really nice to be invited to play. It’s a great lineup.

There are some interesting local and international musicians, as well as an array of artists featured on the line up – I would guess it’s fair to say that something like this would provide you with ample opportunity to take a look about and see what you’re ‘up against’ or to gain some creative ideas and influences?

I don’t really think of either of those things when I watch a band. I either like it or I don’t.

Who/what band has been on high rotation with you recently?

Judee Sill, Miles Davis, Augustus Pablo, Twerps, Peak Twins.

What have you got planned for Lost Animal in 2012, at this point?

Sugar Mountain is our next show and our first for 2012. We’ve got a few international supports coming up and we’re also playing Golden Plains. Hopefully the album will be out on vinyl by late January/Febuary. Apart from that I’ll try and write the new album and we’ll look into some overseas shows in the new year.


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