"There was more room to experiment"
The new release by Julia Jacklin – Pre Pleasure, due to be shared on August 26, has seen the established singer-songwriter branch away from her previous methods of writing music.
Pre Pleasure features a stronger emphasis being placed on drums and bass, as well as instrumentation that has originated from other means outside of Jacklin’s usual guitar chords and rhythms.
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“Paying more attention to bass and drums, instead of guitar and voice, that’s one thing,” says Jacklin. “There is a drum machine on this record, two of the songs have strings, strings are nice, they sound uplifting, there are chimes, a lot of chimes, love chimes, more piano. I think [piano] can have more of a light, twinkly sound. Probably more bass and drums making the songs like you can kind of dance to a lot of them if you want, not that people do.”
The alternative approach to writing songs has stemmed from Jacklin’s awareness of often feeling stuck in a rut when it comes to utilising the guitar as a writing tool for her music.
“I didn’t write a lot of songs on the guitar because I felt like the guitar is great, but I’m not a very good guitarist,” says Jacklin. “I’m an okay rhythm guitarist, but I don’t have heaps of versatility. I feel like you can get stuck in the same strumming patterns and the same kit, you just end up writing the same stuff all the time.
“Every time I pick up the guitar all I want to do is play E and A chords. So, I wrote a lot of it off guitar, but mainly on keys and in my head and then kind of build around it, it started with the melody and words and then put the instrumentation on top.”
Admittedly a larger budget and engagement with a band while in Montreal, Canada also lent into pursuing a new way of writing and presenting the music that Jacklin had in mind for Pre Pleasure.
“There was more room to experiment,” says Jacklin. “Because they know how to do things I haven’t used before. I haven’t had that stuff around where there are a bit more people around and a bit more budget.”
The inclusion of band members to work with, who each brought their own individual musical influences and backgrounds, also shaped the album in a way that Jacklin wanted.
“Laurie that plays drums is a very versatile drummer, percussionist, super solid,” says Jacklin. “Not like a folk-country drummer that I’m used to. She’s more versatile, very versatile. You can throw anything at her and she can do it. She’s trained, pretty technical.
“Ben who played bass on the record is very jazz, he’s not like a rock-based player, he’s very jazzy. But I think Will the guitarist brought the rock energy. He’s a great guitar player, not very technical but just all heart, all soul kind of thing. Like not soul genre wise, but spiritual wise. Then Marcus can kind of play a bunch of different stuff.”
The conglomeration of this eclectic band is resonant throughout the entirety of the album, but especially felt in the opening tracks that, as Jacklin intended with the album, establish a more joyful instrumentation.
“I think the only thing I tried to do and stay within the process was just making sure the record didn’t sound too depressing. This time I just wanted more joyful instrumentation. Things that were more uplifting to listen to and to play. That was kind of the one thing I went into the process of this wanting to do.”
Although gravitating towards a more joyous sound stitched into the instrumentation on Pre Pleasure, Jacklin describes this newfound pursuit as something that felt right for the new album, and not an explanation for lamenting on past music.
“I don’t think it’s been too depressing,” says Jacklin. “I just didn’t want to do that again. I love what I’ve done in the past, I have no regrets, that’s what I did at the time, that’s what I wanted to do at the time, and this is what I wanted to do now.
“To have a point of difference and being conscious of what it’s like to tour music in terms of what we do these days. So, wanting to make sure the set had songs that were enjoyable to play. I Just wanted to have a few more joyful moments in the set moving forward.”
Despite the juxtaposition of Pre Pleasure with past releases, Jacklin has maintained her personal approach to writing the new songs. This is affirmed in her commitment to writing as much music as is needed and using energy to refine that.
“I’m just one of those people who writes 10 songs for a 10-song album,” says Jacklin. “I’m not writing heaps and heaps and whittling it down, I’m just working on whatever is going to be recorded, there is a few scraps, I don’t usually finish the song until it’s fully recorded. I’m not very prolific, I haven’t written that many songs in my life really.”
The new sound established on Pre Pleasure is something that Jacklin is looking forward to sharing in a live setting.
“I’m excited to tour and be with friends again, I’m looking forward to working again. We start the tour on the day it’s released which is cool. Courtney Barnett has curated a festival in America somewhere, that’ll be on the day of the release, which will be cool.”
Pre Pleasure will be released August 26 via Liberation Records.