Jude Perl is preparing to release her debut EP 3am, which is the culmination of a few years of songwriting experiments and working with different musicians. Fantasising about the supreme animal ensemble is no reflection on the Melbourne funk-pop singer’s satisfaction with her current band.
“We haven’t been playing for that long but it is a tight knit group of people who see each other all the time.” There are, however, some fairly precise conditions for who can join Jude Perl’s band. “They just have to be not douchebags, basically. I played in funk bands for a couple of years and I learned the very, very hard way that it’s all about gut feeling. If you meet someone and you get a crappy feeling it’s probably not worth pursuing that relationship. If you get a really good feeling usually something really good comes out of it. So, that’s my main barometer.”
Girls and Boys, the first online single from the EP, lyrically looks at the foolish hypocrisy of love games. Perl elaborates on some basic things she thinks girls and boys need to learn.
“It’s mainly just the double standard thing. You know when girls are out in a group and a guy makes a move or something and they’re like, ‘Ew! What a creep’, but if another guy that they liked did exactly the same thing they’d be like, ‘Oh my god, he’s so cool.’”
Perl believes that people who frequently complain of being mistreated may need to learn from their past mistakes and stop putting themselves in vulnerable situations.
“When people think that sex is just about meeting people and having a good time – even people who are really sure that’s what they want – they end up getting hurt. It’s like, ‘Well, yeah maybe you shouldn’t do that all the time’. That’s kind of what I’m trying to say. I’m much better at saying it in a song!”
Perl lists Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and Michael Jackson as her major influences, which indicates a clear attraction to the groove-based sounds of Motown.
“I just love stuff that makes me want to dance. I remember really distinctly when I first heard Stevie Wonder. I just lost my mind and thought, ‘How have I ever not listened to this stuff before?!’ It’s just so infectious, making you want to dance.”
When Perl started writing the songs that comprise 3am she wasn’t yet thinking about making funky dance music.
“All of the songs, except for Girls & Boys, I wrote about 2 years ago. I was at Uni studying jazz and I was trying to make them all jazzy and clever so people would listen to them and be like ‘oh wow that’s really clever how she did that.’ Then I was playing them and it was not very good for me. I ended up realising that it made more sense for them to be less complicated and more funky, because that’s what I really like.”
Taking cues from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, Perl seeks to make the live show more than merely a re-enactment of what happens in the studio.
“I think it is important, especially if you’re playing dance-based music, to have a bit of that ‘show’ aspect. If it’s more introspective music, something a bit more folky, it’s so much about the story. Whereas I think funk music by nature is very much an ‘expressing yourself by moving’ kind of music.”
BY AUGUSTUS WELBY