Interview: Not a Boy’s Name talks about “Hazard Perception Test” and his BIGSOUND debut

Dave Jenkins Jr’s new indie rock project, Not A Boys Name, is off to a flying start with the release of an impressive new single “Hazard Perception Test”, and a video to match. A song about resilience and learning how to navigate negativity, “Hazard Perception Test” is punchy and melodic. The video, directed by Matt Sav, is a weird and wonderful visual representation of the track. I spoke to Not A Boy’s Name about the single, BIGSOUND and what’s next for this project.

What’s the inspiration behind “Hazard Perception Test”?

I went through a period where everything in life felt like a simulation. I’d walk down the street and a car would back out in front of me, two men would walk by holding a sheet of glass, red lights were taking way too long.. that kind of thing. It reminded me of the touch screen test that you take when you get your driver’s licence. I just started saying “this is like the Hazard Perception Test” in those situations.. thus, the song.

This song was written in a day, is that your usual approach when making a song?

I work very quickly.. and if I’m not inspired by a song in the first half an hour I usually dump it and start again.

The video is pretty trippy, talk me through the process of filming the video? What was it like?

The goal with the video was to create a kind of surrealist video game. I had the initial idea of walking on the treadmill while an assailant hurled things at me. Matt Sav (director) took that idea and injected it with all of his quirk and eccentricities. The shoot itself had an air of danger to it.. I fell off the treadmill a couple of times, I got set on fire.. there was also a lot of broken glass on the floor. Standard music video stuff right?

Tell me about working with director Matt Sav?

Matt is a true creative wonder and a lovely human. I’d give him a 5 star uber rating, except for this one time he dumped me at a bus station in the middle of nowhere because he was late for soccer. 4.5 stars for Matt.

You recently played at Bigsound, as one of your first ever shows under this guise. Had you played it before with any of the other projects you’d been in. Did you know what to expect?

I’ve been up to Bigsound a few times with other acts, but never as a solo artist. I must say the anxiety levels are a lot higher, but so is the pay off when things go well. I am so lucky to have an awesome band and team around me so I never TOTALLY freaked out.

How do you feel the show(s) went?

The first show was a little surreal; we got off an aeroplane, put on some sparkly jackets and jumped straight onstage. I was in my head for a lot of it but by all reports it was a good time. The second show was superb, it was in a big nightclub so we had full use of their lasers and LED screens. Which was nice.

We were lucky enough to be at what may have been your first ever show for this project in Sydney at Waywards – how important is a show like that before you go and play a festival like BIGSOUND?

That was the moment I realised that my live show needs to be special. Not just a bunch of people standing onstage. I went back and reconfigured it all after that Waywards gig. Wait till ya see it now!

You’ve worked with a bunch of great Aussie artists in the past; how did your experiences with them influence where you went with this project?

One of my biggest inspirations for starting this project came from the work I did with Daniel Johns. I’ve written and recorded a bunch of songs with Daniel and his energy never ceases to amaze me. He doesn’t stop! Not until he physically and mentally has to. He’s the guy that instilled in me the importance of finishing things. Don’t walk away until something is DONE (and done well). 

How did this project start? How far back does it go?

I’ve been recording stuff since I was a little kid. I used to play around with cassette recorders, old PCs..basically anything with a microphone input. I had this folder on my laptop for years called “Solo Record”, but it wasn’t until I wrote Hazard Perception Test that I felt like I could actual release something.

What was a catalyst for officially launching the project and getting the music you’ve been working on out into the world?

I recorded Hazard Perception Test last year and it was the light bulb moment that gave birth to this whole project. It was the first time I felt confident enough to play my solo material to other people, and when I did..good things started happening.

Can we expect any more new music soon?

Yes! I have so much new music ready to go. There’s another single on the way.. I just watched the first cut of the video and it is absolutely bonkers.

What are your tour plans?

I’m supporting Olympia at the Lansdowne on October 20, and a few other sneaky supports that are yet to be announced.. After that probably a world tour??

Some questions by Larry Heath

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