With the band soon to arrive in the country for their first ever tour, we caught up with Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance of Jamestown Revival to find out a little bit more about the friends, their new record Utah, and what they might have in store for audiences as they make their way to Australia to play the Out On the Weekend Festival in Sydney and Melbourne, plus a few headline shows of their own.
Who do you see as your influences not only in terms of sound, but also with your songwriting?
Zach: In terms of sound we really admire bands like CCR, Neil Young & The Band, but we also draw the majority of our songwriting inspiration from guys like John Prine, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Neil Young and Kris Kristofferson. Just great storytellers.
What was the inspiration or spark behind your most recent record Utah?
Jonathan: Primarily, it was our move from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, California. It wasn't something we really planned - we just made the move and wrote the songs that came to us. Two years went by and when we took a step back and looked at the collection of songs as a whole, they really seemed to tell a surprising cohesive story.
You decamped up a mountain to record that record, what prompted that decision?
Zach: Primarily because no one wanted to record us. So we figured we might as well do it ourselves. And also we had access to this cabin 6,000 feet up in the mountains and it just sounded like a great adventure. Luckily, we have some talented friends who really helped us out.
How do you approach the songwriting? What is your dynamic when it comes to the writing?
Jonathan: We have a really hard time writing songs unless we sincerely have something to say. Zach and I get together most days with the hope of writing a song, but they only seem to come when we end up talking about something we both care about. I'll strum something on guitar and one of us will blurt out a one-liner, and away we go. Off to the races...
What do you think is the reason behind the recent resurgence in interest for genres like Americana, Country and the singer/songwriter?
Zach: I think people want some grit and honesty to what they're listening to. Maybe something that makes them stop and think for a second; that makes them feel more connected in a different way than social media does. Also, it’s the appeal of something that feels old but sounds new. You can only listen to the classics so much before you crave a new twist.
You’ve had a pretty massive year since the release of Utah, playing Austin City Limits, Coachella and more; how have you found life since Utah dropped?
Jonathan: It's been really amazing to tour through cities across the county and see people singing the words to our songs. It's something we've longed for since we started making music.I can only hope that whatever it was we did the first time around, we can manage to tap in to that again.
You’ll be heading down to Australia to play some shows, is there anything you’re looking forward to doing whilst you’re in the country?
Zach: We really don’t have any great expectations, just curiosity really. It’s our first time in Australia and we’re just excited for the opportunity and adventure.
What do you have planned for these shows?
Jonathan: Plenty of pyrotechnics and nudie suits.
With this tour, it’s going to be a mixture of festival slots and headline shows; does your approach to the set differ for either? And why?
Zach: They vary a little bit, in that a lot of times at festivals, you don’t have as much to sound check and prep. It’s a pretty hectic setting, so we try to simplify how many instruments we’re playing just to cut down on confusion and the chance that something might go wrong with equipment and such. Other than that, we tend to keep the same energy and approach.
What’s next for the band? Has work started on a new record/EP?
Jonathan: We've been writing relentlessly and putting together songs to tell the second chapter of this story. We're planning to get back in the studio at the top end of the New Year and release our next full-length album soon after. It's been a little while, but we're finally starting to feel like we're ready to do this all over again.
JAMESTOWN REVIVAL AUSTRALIAN & NEW ZEALAND TOUR DATES
October 17th - Out on the Weekend Festival, Melbourne | www.ticketscout.com.au
October 18th - The Tuning Fork, Auckland | www.lovepolice.com.au
October 21st - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne | www.northcotesocialclub.com
October 22nd - Newtown Social Club, Sydney | www.lovepolice.com.au
October 24th - Out on the Weekend, Sydney | www.oztix.com.au