The Grace Darling is unusually quiet for a lunch-time session. As I walk into the pub, I scan people’s faces but there is no sign of him. I’m early anyway, so I take a seat not far from the entrance. A few moments later, I’m joined by local musician Jack Robbins (aka Forever Son.)
Jack Robbins brings a charismatic warmth and vibrant energy to the interview. We’re deep in conversation from the start, and it takes me a good few minutes to realize I haven’t hit record yet.
Growing up in Anglesea on Victoria’s Surf Coast, Robbins made the move to Melbourne a few years back. “Moving to Melbourne has been amazing for the music, but I miss the ease of being able to go have a swim, or surf when I had a couple of hours to spare.” Swapping his surfboard for a guitar doesn’t seem like such a bad thing when he’s constantly creating new music.
Robbins first picked up a guitar at 13, and he says writing songs followed not long after. “I liked that you didn’t have to know what you were playing. You do what you think sounds good, you link a couple of things that work together, and you’ve got your own song. And you can play it better than anyone else, because no-one has heard it.”
It’s important for Robbins that his music speaks for itself, he wants to take away the sounds-like comparisons and just let it organically grow. It’s something Double J presenter (and local legend) Henry Wagons did when he spun ‘San Jose’ on his program, “It was really nice that someone had listened to it, that had no connection or didn’t know anything, and just listened to it and dug it for what it was” adds Jack.
Wagons went on to preview Forever Son’s new single on his program the night before our interview. “Crumb Kitchen is the second track I wrote for the album, and it was kind of the one that happened the fastest. I finished this one before all of them. It happened really easily.” The song comments on Robbins’ frustration with media invading our day-to-day lives with propaganda.
It’s no surprise, then, that Robbins doesn’t care much for television, although he has a soft spot for Seinfeld. “I only just recently started watching Seinfeld” he adds. “When I was recording, I was watching one episode a night, I just needed to wind down. I was recording the whole thing in my room, it got real weird by the end. I’d be in the room and I’d record for like 8 hours, then I’d go downstairs and make dinner, then I’d go to bed in the same space, like a meter from where I was recording.”
He recorded almost all of his forthcoming debut album in that room. He goes on to describe the set up as super basic, with his own sound-proofing and a hard rubbish desk that he modified. There’s a sense of accomplishment as he details the process, and also an eagerness for others to hear the six months of work. “I just can’t wait to release it. I’ve got a bunch of new ideas already, and I just want to start again. I just love the creative process, that’s the best bit.”
I quiz him on his favourite Melbourne acts, “There’s so much good songwriting in Melbourne, I’m really looking forward to Crepes releasing their album. Their first five track EP (Cold Summers, 2015), I’ve listened to a million times. I just wish there were more songs on it.” He reels off a list of others, “Zoe Fox, Leah Senior, Jade Imagine, Baby Blue, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Sagamore and Dan Kelly.”
I glance at my phone to check the time, a reminder my lunch hour is about to end and I’m due back in the office in a matter of minutes. I use my last question to ask about his live show, and whether he has plans to take this album on the road. He nods in agreement, and confirms he’s got a band together with two friends. “I want us to recreate as much of the album as possible. It’s not out of control, I tried to keep it reasonably simple when recording. It’s just fun creating all these other bits in a live setting.”
We wrap up the interview and say our goodbyes, parting ways on Smith Street. As I make the walk back to the office, a thought crosses my mind, it’s hard not to be inspired by someone who’s so passionate about what they’re creating.
Forever Son’s debut album, Ten Months, will be released on May 26th 2017 via Dark Barn.