‘A lot of great art comes out from trying circumstances’: Bones and Jones on touring Love You

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‘A lot of great art comes out from trying circumstances’: Bones and Jones on touring Love You

Bones and Jones
words by Cody Brougham

With a freshly released album and a huge national tour starting this week, everything seems to be coming up golden for Victoria’s own Bones and Jones.

While the stories of recording in an old apple orchard refrigerator and life on the surf coast may seem like an Australiana fairytale, the band have shown themselves to be one of the most consistently hard-working bands in the country, releasing music every year for the past five years and culminating in their newest album Love You. We spoke with lead vocalist Jasper Jolley about the new release and preparing for tour, as they hold onto the ethos of always moving forward.

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“It’s been good so far, I definitely feel with those things that you make as soon as they’re done the clock starts ticking, and you start to be a bit more eager to have it out. We’re just really keen to start playing the shows so it feels a bit more real.”

With many of their previous albums being written and recorded during the pandemic, the new album is a departure in the sense that many of the songs feel as if they were written with the live show in mind.

Track three, Be The Best Man at My Wedding, is a perfect example of this, with the driving backbeat and dual vocals begging for a singalong, and the band’s regained ability to road-test new material shines through.

“The record itself and production is all within a year, and a lot of songs are new but there’s also a lot of songs that were getting played pre-pandemic. It’s a bit of playing catch-up, trying to jam some songs on that we’ve really liked playing live but also trying to keep ourselves interested in new songs.

“The bed and everything on this record is fully live tracked, we’ve got a lot of energy when we play live so it’s just trying to translate that to a recorded song. I learnt to record to tape before running into any DAWS, so there’s always that process of fully petting everything together live, warts and all.”

Much has already been said about the band’s recording space. Located in an old refrigerator room in an apple orchard, the band have deliberately eschewed conventional recording studio spaces in favour of the more idyllic setting.

“It kind of gives us a bit more freedom, everyone can come down after work or on a weekend and we can just plug away at new songs, and if the ideas are right we’ll pull out some microphones and try to get a good demo down.

“I suppose financially it’s pretty great, you’re not running your band account dry on someone else’s time, and even just that studio psychology during takes when everyone’s getting a bit grumpy or wants to have dinner there’s no use trying to pull something that’s probably not going to happen or probably isn’t your best work.

“It’s just a lot about freedom and also just having a spot to go next door, we don’t have to all be together but people can stop by and tinker with things as we go.”

One aspect that struck me immediately about the band was despite the obvious country and blues roots at the core of the songwriting, a strong sense of rural landscapes and natural beauty always seems to flow as an undercurrent to the instrumental. I mention to Jasper that Victoria in particular seems to have a love affair with Australiana, with modern acts looking towards previous great Australian artists such as The Go-Betweens and Paul Kelly and shedding their fears of having to be accepted into a multi-national industry.

“There is a lot more of that guitar-driven Aussie singer-songwriter thing going on at the moment, bands like Floodlights are absolutely killing it, and even bands like Amyl and The Sniffers are kind of continuing that like pub rock Cosmic Psychos sound, and for some reason it also seems to resonate pretty hard with people in Europe and America.

“I think there’s nothing to be afraid of, and you can definitely write your most earnest songs about your environment and where you’re from. There’s always shit for young people to get off their chest so I think there’s definitely a lot of stuff that resonates with a wider group of people at the moment. A lot of great art and stuff comes out from trying circumstances.

“I definitely enjoy more straight up singing about the issues that are affecting you, even if I’m writing a song and trying to construct some sort of storyline, our songs can definitely relate to a more broader cultural issue that might reflect on you. Like our song Castlemaine, I wrote it to try and put a bit more Australiana in quite an Americanised country genre, but it’s also about someone trying to flee from a domestic violence situation.

“It’s all quite embedded into the lyricism and trying to build things up from there. Songwriting is for yourself first and foremost, and it doesn’t particularly have to resonate and not everyone has to understand it, but it’s just building up that art form. It’s definitely just like affordable therapy.”

The band are set to take their “affordable therapy” out on the road for one of their largest tours to date, starting with the Corner Hotel in Melbourne this Friday and heading out on a further 16 dates, including their first outings in a number of lesser-visited cities that might get missed on many bands’ typical run.

“We’re really keen to go to WA, we’ve never played in Western Australia before. We’re playing Darwin festival as well up in the Northern Territory which is going to be really sick, I think we’re all pretty keen to finally go up and play music up there. I think we’re just really keen to hit the road as hard as we can to be honest.”

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