A Conversation with Jade Alice

“…It meant that I had the creative control over everything. I got to choose where I played, how I presented the night, and even what I wore!”

Almost three years after winning the 2015 Melbourne Music Bank with her debut single, ‘Kickdrum’, Melbourne singer-songwriter Jade Alice is back to her best, having just launched her new single ‘Heartbreak Club’. The RSOM team were delighted to be able to speak with Jade again, who filled us in on what the last two years have been like – from university courses, to writing a bunch of new tracks, to travelling – and her hopes for the future. 

J: Hey Jade! Welcome back to RSOM, it’s great to speak to you again. It has; however, been two years since we last spoke to you. What’ve you been up to in this time professionally?
J: “It’s been quite a transformative two years because I’ve been finishing my music composition degree at VCA and so that has really influenced my writing. I’ve been writing so much new music for university, and collaborating with new producers and people outside of university too. I’m sitting on a lot of new material that I’m really excited to release now, and I think ‘Heartbreak Club’ was the track that I wanted to use to introduce the new flow of music that’s coming out.”

J: Oh that’s awesome! Anything else outside of music?
J: “I’ve been doing quite a bit of travelling as well; picking up some inspiration from the places that I’ve been going to. I turned 21 too, so it’s been a pretty eventful two years. It’s a short amount of time, but it feels like it’s been a fair bit of time since ‘Kick Drum’ was released.”

J: Writing for your university degree- that’s quite a different path from a lot of other recording artists. Some study music performance or production, but not composition. What’s it like to be actually studying writing and composition?
J: “It’s such a unique course. It’s still pretty new as well, when I started it was only a couple of years old. It’s under the stream of contemporary music at VCA, and you can choose different majors.  My class was very small and everyone was from a different background. Some people were classical writers, some were into musical theatre, and others were full into Electronic Dance Music. Everyone was so different, but it was a really cool mix because we’d all get the same project or assignment. For example, we’d get a snippet of a film and have to write music under it, and each person would bring back something so different and we’d all interpret things differently.

J: What did you learn from the course?
J: “We learnt a lot from each other, and collaborated a lot with each other. We were learning about different tools to use, and we got one-on-one industry mentoring which was able to help us with our writing. There was also a bit of producing and performing in there too, but it was mainly about learning about the writing.”

J: Do you think that the course has influenced our songwriting style and process?
J: “I definitely think that the songs I’ve been writing now, including Heartbreak Club, I wouldn’t have written if I hadn’t done the course. I wrote Heartbreak Club for it; I’m pretty sure as a part of my end-of-year folio. I had people in that course helping me and giving me tips for writing and production. I think the course helped me to refine my style and my sound. They supply you with the tools and teach you how to get across the message you want to get across, but in a more clear and effective way. I was refining what I already had, and improving my technique.”

J: What was the songwriting process for Heartbreak Club like?
J: “With Heartbreak Club, I sat down at the piano and was playing this chord progression over and over again, and I had a melody I was writing over the top of it. Usually, the melody comes before the lyrics. Often, when I’m writing a melody, I’m not really paying attention to the words I’m saying- sometimes it’s just random words over the top, which will be temporary until I write the new lyrics in. In this song, I was improvising words, but I didn’t change much of it at all. It was a really organic stream of thought that I was having, and I didn’t really know what the song was about until I reread the words that I was saying. I then had the demo done, went into the studio and created this sound with a big drum and a bunch of vocal layering. I got stuck on the chorus for it, and so one of my mentors at university came and helped me out for that part. Getting the mix right was hard because we had such dark, full on sounds with the drums, and it was a bit of a lengthy process trying to get the balance of having that big character, but not so big that it was messy and you couldn’t hear it.”

J: Do you think the Melbourne music scene has changed in the last two years, and if so, how do you think it’s affected your music?
J: “I don’t think it’s changed too much, maybe in the last five to ten years it’s changed more dramatically. However, I did my Kick Drum launch a couple of years ago, and the venue I did that at has been shut down, and they have been shutting down quite a few live venues.”

J: Why do you think that is?
J: “Sometimes it’s because of complaints in the areas around those venues, whether it be noise or whatever, but it’s kind of a sad thing that we are seeing some of these iconic venues be shut down. That’s something I’ve definitely noticed. There’s a huge amount of variety of live music in Melbourne regardless though; you can go out any night of the week in Melbourne and see a whole variety of bands and genres, especially in the city and out Fitzroy and Brunswick areas.”

J: Your most recent single launch, for Heartbreak Club, was at The Toff in Town, how was that and how did it compare to other venues you’ve played at?
J: “Everyone always comments on The Toff-  as soon as you walk in there’s such a cool vibe. I’ve always had such awesome experiences playing there in the past, looking back on when I supported other people there. There’s always been a really great energy in that room, so it was at the top of my list as the venue I wanted to have my next release in. This time; however, I was doing it all independently. All the organisation and promotion I took on myself.”

J: What was that like?
J: “Well last time, with Kick Drum, I had the Melbourne Music Bank team organising everything. So it was a very different experience this time around, but it meant that I had the creative control over everything. I got to choose where I played, how I presented the night, and even what I wore- I had these angel wings from the $2 store and coordinated outfits with my band! It was really fun, and we had this old TV screen with visuals on it, and we got to project the music video too. I got to choose my support acts as well, so it was a really awesome night!”

J: So you’re hoping to do some music whilst you’re over in Vancouver, but on coming back to Australia, what’s the future plan for you?
J: “As soon as I’m back, I’m working on top-lining, which is another form of production. It’s mainly EDM stuff, where I write melodies, and sing some beats and tracks over the top of them. I’ll also co-write with a bunch of producers who I’m obsessed with right now. It’s all being put on hold whilst I go away, but I’ll resume it when I get back. I’ll also be working on the next single that I’ll be releasing. Hopefully, that’ll be out by September. I don’t want to give away too much yet, as it’s still to be confirmed. Even a couple more singles before the year’s out would be great. My parents also have an ABBA tribute band (BABBA), and I’ll be supporting them for a few shows, as well as supporting a few other artists. I’m hoping to make a few more videos too! I think in terms of music, that’ll be what I’m working on when I get back.”


Check out Jade Alice on:
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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

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