JP Klipspringer is the recording project of Melbourne songwriter Jack Poulson. He’s fast becoming one of my favourite local songwriters, and just last week he released his debut album Brutal Politic. It’s a real treat that this is my final interview for 2016.
Hi Jack, it’s been a while! How’s things? Hey Sabi! I know, right? I actually saw you walking up Brunswick Street a little while ago. I was inside Basil Leaf and had a mouth full of pho, so I thought against leaping up to say g’day. Once that tofu’s in my mouth, it’s staying there.
Congratulations on the release of your debut album! You launched it at the Toff in Town this weekend just gone. How did it go? Thank you! It was a really great launch. We were stoked with the crowd, and as it was our first headline show in over a year, I’d forgotten how good it is to play to a completely full room of people who know your songs. I’ll never get over that feeling, and I owe so much to my followers and friends. What people. And what great taste in local music they have.
Slowcoaching and Tammy Martin supported us on the night. God they’re good. I’ve been listening to their stuff non-stop for a while now and they are such good people. All round good vibes on Saturday night, and I’m really happy we nearly had a sell out so we could spread the love to as many people as possible. Hopefully it’s the start of a good reception for the record.
The recording process spanned from February 2015 to August 2016. What were your earliest memories of writing for the album? The album includes two songs from my 2015 EP Drip Dry, and I remember working on some pre-production with Steve Mowat for the track Watch the River, maybe even in late 2014. Pre-production is always so fun as the possibilities are endless at that stage, and when you’re working with a guy as talented and capable as Steve, it’s even better. That song was actually written on a stinking hot day in America in mid 2014 (in the backyard of a very bohemian Airbnb place I was staying at), and set me on track to get the album done.
You teamed up with a range of co-producers Stephen Mowat (WILSN, Seth Sentry), Rohan Sforcina (Oh Mercy, Gold Class) and Simon Lam (I’lls, Kilo). Was this the plan from the start? Or was it a result of a longer recording process?
I think the latter. I’d worked with each of them in the past on various things, and I knew they’d all suit these new songs really well, so I decided to make it a big family affair rather than stick with one engineer. It also took a bit of pressure of the guys and let me do things more slowly over a longer period of time. It’s great cause now I’ve made more than one bestie out of the process.
For me this is an album best listened to from start to finish, but for those listeners who may just want to hit play on one track, what one would you suggest? I’m really happy you say that, cause that’s something I was quite conscious of achieving. Recording the songs over a year and a half and with various engineers meant we may have lost some of those connections and aesthetic storylines, but we worked really hard on making the songs flow and I’m very happy people appear to be appreciating that. Picking one track is almost impossible, but I’d say Words For Me (the album opener) is the best song I’ve written so far. Bubbling Boiling Wine is a bit of a grower that settles the record down after a poppy start, and I Blame Carl Weathers probably has the strongest ‘single’ credentials. So there’s three songs for you. Off script a bit, there.
Where do you find inspiration outside of music? As cheesy as this will sound, everything on this record came from either a conversation, an argument, a dream, a break up, travelling, politics, architecture or football.
Can you tell us about your favourite Melbourne acts? Slowcoaching and Tammy Martin are my current favs. Slow Dancer is an unstoppable songwriter and guitarist, The Peeks put out a great album earlier in the year, WILSN is on the up and will soon take over the States when she makes her move, Mcrobin is doing really great things and Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird are great. They also have a left-handed front man, so that wins points from me.
And Melbourne venues? To play? The Toff is the best. The sound on stage and out the front is superior to almost anywhere else. To watch an Australian or touring band? The Corner is very special and can’t be beaten. So many good times and big nights had there. To watch a big touring band? There’s something about the Palais can’t be matched. The old Palace (before it got taken out) was my previous favourite (great sound, great size and you could get a beer from any spot), and the Forum also comes close. To watch a friend’s band? Probably Ding Dong, cause the after parties are always amazing there and there’s no need to leave until 5am.
Will this album be followed by a tour of any kind? I have a solo show in Sydney at Leadbelly on Thursday December 1, plus another solo set at Some Velvet Morning in Clifton Hill on Sunday December 4. We’ll have a run of band shows again in January and February. We’ve got some regional Victoria shows lined up for that, plus band trips to Sydney and Hobart, so please keep your eyes peeled!
Brutal Politic is available on Bandcamp now.