The Passage North’s Jack Anderson discusses new single ‘Villages’, upcoming EP ‘Descendants’, and living in New York.
Bowral Indie rocker Jack Anderson, also known as The Passage North, is currently working on his new EP Descendants; his second release, that he aims to unveil to fans in October.
The Passage North released a new single Villages, last Thursday on July 7; a track that showcases both his ability to convey raw emotion through powerful lyrics, using an acoustic guitar and a voice that soothingly sings a story entwined with the lulling licks within the song. Jack Anderson is truly a bard through the tracks he writes.
Currently recording Descendants, Anderson hints that the new EP will be a little different sound-wise compared to his debut EP Beginners, which he released last year; saying that “people will be surprised”.
While there are no set tour dates to promote the upcoming release as of yet, until he moves to Melbourne in the next few months, Anderson assures there will be gigs to look out for soon. “I’m currently working a lot and organising stuff for when I get down there”. He reveals, “keep an eye out though!”
Starting his music project, after rising from the ashes of his previous music career with former band Rivet City, Anderson has done a lot since he began performing as The Passage North. From open mic gigs, to teaching homeless children music while living for a time in New York.
Talking to Jack Anderson, he recalls his experiences of living in New York, and reveals all you need to know about his upcoming EP and new single Villages.
Q: Jack Anderson; you started your indie rock music project The Passage North, in early 2015. What have you enjoyed about performing your music to fans and audiences over the past year until now?
Jack Anderson: There’s been a lot to enjoy about it, along with a lot of challenges. Good with the bad. I think the thing I’ve enjoyed most is when people notice little things…It’s one thing when people say they liked a song, and another when a certain lyric or guitar part, that would usually go unnoticed or blend in, sticks out to someone; that always means a lot to me.
Q: Your music has laid back and chill vibes expressed through the steady riffs of guitars and velvet vocals. I can easily imagine myself listening to your music whilst sitting at a beach café drinking coffee. How did you create your unique sound; what were you inspired by?
Jack: I like the sound of this café. Well the string of singles that are coming out at present I tried to put a real focus around the song as it was first imagined; as in just guitar and vocals. The rest of the instrumentation is there to complement that foundation. Aside from the musicians I listen to, in terms of inspiration I’m trying to be really upfront with songs; they’re pretty honest. On Father John Misty’s latest album, he puts the good and bad parts of himself on display in the songs… and that’s the point, everyone’s got good and bad aspects. It’s something I think more songwriters could try for.
Q: How did The Passage North begin?
Jack: I was just about done with music before it started. I was playing in a band called Rivet City (who I still miss playing with), but our drummer moved to England to teach and everyone had careers to focus on; so we decided to call it a day. After half a year of hardly picking up a guitar, I started writing a bunch of new songs, and I wanted to have some demos of them before I moved on to something else. The engineer I was working with, Josh Walker, did a phenomenal job on them so we decided fill them out; and the tracks turned into my first EP Beginners.
Q: You mentioned that you have a debut album set for release in October. What can you reveal about the album, what is it about?
Jack: That’s definitely the plan! I’m saying October to make sure I keep working on it; if it’s not then it’ll be this year for sure. At this point I’m still laying down a lot of songs and there’ll be some decisions to be made about what direction it goes. Beginners and, For Now are very laid back; there’s not a whole lot of experimentation, but I think people will be surprised if they’re expecting the same as those.
“The new tracks are definitely closer to home; about dynamics between my family and friends”.
Q: You recently released your new single Villages on Thursday, July 7. What would you say the track is about?
Jack: It’s funny; I wrote this song less than a week before I left New York after living there for half a year and everyone was like “this is about a girl”. It makes a lot of sense if you look at it that way; but the more I think about it, to me it’s about leaving a city full of friends I still have a lot of love for, and that I might not be back for a long while.
Q: You spent most of 2015 living in New York, teaching at a camp for homeless children. What was that experience like for you, and do you feel your time there helped the children you came to know?
Jack: Ah jeez, tricky question to keep short! Writing music is such a selfish expedition a lot of the time (“this shitty/good thing happened to me and it’s so sad/good”, you know?), but to be able to use what I’ve learnt or taught myself, whilst song-writing; to bring some joy and knowledge to kids who needed it was amazing.
Music is cathartic too. Even just whacking a drum is good for you. One part of my lesson was dynamics; and the start of it was just “we need to know how loud this drum is, so everyone hit it as hard as you can for 10 seconds!”
Q: What bands or artists are your music inspirations and why?
Jack: There are a lot. I look up to Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Van Morrison as songwriters that I take a lot of inspiration from and keep going back to. I love Chance the Rapper for his positivity…he uses his art as a real tool for good. I’ll listen to new stuff from Local Natives; any Justin Vernon project, and Manchester Orchestra back to front until I’m sick of it too.
Q: You also played open mics every night too. What were your favourite venues to perform at in New York?
Jack: Paddy Reilly’s on 29th & 2nd, which my friends and I practically lived in would have to be my favourite; so many good musicians and great staff. I played my last show in the city there. Also, PATH Café (which has since shut down), in West Village that had a mic run by Niall Connolly, who is a great songwriter and person. He gave me one of my first shows in the city.
Q: What are some of your favourite memories while living and performing in New York?
Jack: The people…I mean that’s a boring answer…there are so many things about New York that are really impressive, but it was the people I met; I made a lot of friends for life there. Also Anna Sophia Robb (the actress from The Way Way Back), saw me busk in Brooklyn once, but didn’t give me any money; pretty cool.
Q: How is the recording going for Descendant and what was the writing process like?
Jack: Well the recording is still in its early stages; though we’ve been demoing a lot of stuff. The writing process has been really interesting. Every track, save for a couple of them, will have been written since being back home. The new tracks are definitely closer to home; about dynamics between my family and friends and there’s going to be some political stuff on there too.
Q: What are two of your favourite tracks off your new album and why? What are they about?
Jack: I Wrote This Song at the Vatican is one I’m really excited about. We’ve still got to add a few things to it; but it’s a really cool sound and it will surprise a lot of people. I’ve used a delay pedal to make these percussive sounds on my electric guitar. The Shore is going to be big too. I wrote it when I was living in Brooklyn and was having a shocker of a week. We demoed it earlier in the year, but I’m going to make some changes to a few instruments that will change it a lot.
Copyright © Music Mayhem with Mandy 2016
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