A Chat With…John Lingard

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There’s been some time between releases but singer/songwriter John Lingard has returned. We caught up with him to chat about the new EP Taxi Home + Takeaway.

Hi John, thanks for the chat! Appreciate you chatting with me.

It’s been a few years between releases, research tell us you struggled a bit with writers block. How did you manage to overcome it? I’m my worst enemy when it comes to writing. I can get bored very quickly and I think If I were to collate every half finished song I have, I’d have a few albums by now haha. They tend to get lost in my iPhone voice recordings. I’m more self-conscious than I used to be when writing and also so much more judgemental. I feel like I still have so much to improve on and i’m constantly waiting for a better idea to come along and then end up just shelving idea completely. The way I managed to overcome it with the last bunch of songs I’ve written is just to shut down any preconception about what I think I need to write and just write something. Anything….then actually finish it. If it’s shit then at least i have a shit song, If I don’t finish it I have nothing. I’m still learning to get better at this… the trick is knowing what ideas to spend more time on. Spontaneity is key. I used to write songs in a day… It’s more about finding confidence in my writing and just sticking with a gut feeling.

You headed to Brisbane to record the EP with producer Stuart Stuart (Sheppard, Tkay Maidza). How did this come about? And what encouraged the decision to record in Brisbane instead of Melbourne? I met Sheppard last year after a performance of theirs. The song they played reminded me of one I wrote in 2008 called “Who is Your Heart Beating For?”. I was always fond of the song but never recorded it. Meeting Sheppard triggered memories of the song and I decided for selfish nostalgic reasons that I wanted to record it. I looked up the producer (Stuart Stuart) and wrote to him. We then started a conversation and I sent him a bunch of my more recent demos alongside WIYHBF. He got back to me with an interest and we went from there. He has an incredible pop sensibility so I knew he was the right guy for this group of songs. Stuart has a home studio in Brisbane and so I lived up there for two weeks whilst we worked on the EP. Being in Brisbane, living at the studio and immersing myself every single day and night on the EP was unlike anything I’ve done before. I highly recommend it to any artist who is thinking about recording. It doesn’t allow you to switch off. You are constantly thinking about the music and how to improve on it. There are no distractions. It allows complete focus.

You successfully raised over $7,000 through Pozible to fund the EP. How does it feel to have that kind of support? It’s incredible. As an unsigned artist , you have to constantly put yourself out there. Sometimes I find it terrifying . I hate putting myself out there haha… but I took the plunge and decided to see if people were interested in helping me out. Turns out they were and I actually went $1000 over target. It’s been so encouraging.

We both took part in the FreeZA Central Mentoring Program way back in 2011. How important is it for young musicians to have a mentor around? I’ve been mentored a few times now by some incredible people in the industry and each time I learn something new It feels like I’ve unlocked an achievement on xbox or something. Advice is priceless. It’s also something that no one can take away from you, which is its best attribute. Advice can also save you time… years even… years you should probably be spending writing or playing an instrument.

Can you tell us about your favourite Melbourne acts? I’ve just been listening to The Paper Kites. I’m really late to the party on that one… Raised by Eagles are kicking goals at the moment also.

And Melbourne venues? Northcote Social Club and The Palais.

I’ve seen you a play a handful of times, but it’s mostly been solo. Can you talk us through your current live set up? We’ve kept it pretty organic, drums bass and a couple guitars. My music sometimes tends to veer towards americana ever so slightly, I like stripping everything back to its bones. You can’t hide from that and it keeps me awake/on my toes. I’m lucky in that I have friends that are great musicians.. the guys that play alongside me are so talented that they make me sound good.

What’s in store for the remainder of this year, and early next year? Apart from a couple of shows already planned I’ll be spending more time playing than I have been of late. I’ll be venturing into some co-writing opportunities which is new for me and I’d also like to release some more music (writers block permitting). I don’t want to leave it 3 years like last time. If Taylor Swift needs another support… I’m available. Everyone else seems to be doing it. Just putting that into the stratosphere as well. You never know!

Thanks for your time! Thank you!

John Lingard plays The Workers Club on Sunday December 6th from 1pm with supports Thando and Heloise. Details here.

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