Words by Milly Schultz-Boylen
It’s been a while since the sweet sounds of local crooner Jesse Davidson graced our ears, but with an upcoming performance at WOMADelaide and his anticipated debut album set to be released this year, we won’t have to wait much longer. We caught up with Jesse to chat about his new album and his evolution as a songwriter.
You’re playing WOMAD, are you pretty excited about that?
Yeah, I’ve never played WOMAD before and I’ve always wanted to. It seems pretty chill, there’ll be lots of hippie vibes.
You’re releasing your debut album this year. Are you going to be playing any new music at WOMAD?
Yeah, I’ve got 3 or 4 new songs that we’re putting in the set now so it’ll finally get the ball rolling.
It’s been quite a while since you released any music, have you been doing anything in the meantime other than recording music?
Yeah I went to the uni for the first time last year, which was interesting. Now I’m editing the student magazine at Adelaide Uni so I’m pretty busy.
What stage are you at with the new album?
I’m going back to London in late March/early April to re-record a bunch of vocals and try to finish it off there. There’s still no real plan for release yet. The only plan I have so far is to figure out how to release the single.
Did you record the whole album over in London?
I’ve done bits and pieces here (Adelaide) but the bulk of it was recorded in London last year. I’ve just been finishing off writing more lyrics and doing vocal stuff for a while.
What are some of the biggest influences on this album?
I don’t know, I was listening to Porches album around the time I was recording in London, so maybe that pops up a bit.
On your Lizard Boy EP, there’s quite a groovy, somewhat psychedelic feel, is this album going to be in a similar vein or have you taken your sound in a different direction?
There’s more broad instrumentation on the album. That EP was mostly retro synths and flat drums. It’s going to be little less “chill” and laid-back than that with some more intensity in the songs.
What’s it been like tackling a bigger project? Has your approach towards recording changed at all?
My friend had this home studio set up in London, which is pretty rare because usually with apartments in London you’re lucky to get a living room. But he had this massive downstairs area that was used as a recording studio - it had a home studio vibe. It was quite interesting recording in that space, other than a studio. I think it helped because we were a little limited in what we could do. We had to be a little innovative in how we went about things.
Do you feel like your approach to song writing has changed since you recorded your Ocean EP?
I think I’m starting to write better lyrics. I’m a bit older so I have a bit more life experience I guess. I still don’t really know how to write songs but I feel like I’m slowly getting to a point where I’m proud of the songs.
Are you writing them by yourself or do you write with other people?
I write it all by myself but usually I get input from our producer Jake Miller about songs and we workshop them for a while.
Are there any lyricists whose style you admire?
I really like Hamilton Leithauser. I really like the way he writes lyrics – they’re really simple but kind of smart at the same time. He’s not too overly verbose and he gets to the point.
Does the album have a title yet?
Not really. I was thinking of calling it “Jesse Davidson Plays the Hits” but I think somebody already did that.
Catch Jesse Davidson at WOMADelaide on Sunday March 12th.