I first came across Jake Fox when he was competing in the Gold Coast’s greatest showdown for buskers – Battle of the Buskers – hosted by Buskers by the Creek in October 2015. He was amongst fine company that night and now with a new album just about to be released, it seemed like a good time to catch up.
Jake has just finished the Bachelor of Popular Music program at Griffith University and has been included in the SEED program, but he’s not entirely done with study. He’s still completing a psychology degree.
“I started in 2013 and graduated last year,” he said, adding that the BPM course was a lot of fun. “I met all the people I’m working with at the moment. A lot of like-minded people. Not just musically, but outside stuff too.”
When I ask him to elaborate, the 24 year old says things like environmental concerns go hand-in-hand with music. “We all have sustainability concerns and stuff like that.”
His new album Free Spirit was recorded at the studios at Griffith and will be launched (with band) on 2 April with Wren Klauf, Pirates of the Tempest and Audsox in support. It’s his second album.
“This is more serious,” he says. “I’m trying to do it all properly. The first one was to get gigs and online presence and the second one, hopefully is to make an impact.”
Jake says the inspiration for his songs come largely from nature. “I guess I’ve got a more natural style, it just comes to me through things like surfing, adventuring, exploring. Also movies.”
“For me it’s mainly observing things. Songs don’t have to be exactly about me, but putting myself in the shoes of someone experiencing those things.”
We move onto talking about Jakes’ new album. He’s focused on getting as much social media coverage as possible with a couple of singles out ahead of the long-player’s launch. He said he’s only just getting his head around the album himself.
“I’ve just got the concept of it,” he said. “It’s funny that that happens after you record it all. It’s about beginnings and endings – losing relationships and then finding them again, life and death, the circles of life – all that sort of thing.”
“We’ve also tried to do a bit of different production with the songs,” he said. “To make the songs into a bit of a journey… all these diff sections and bouncing guitar parts off each other. It’s just a little different to the standard pop production.”
Jake describes his solo work as “cruisy, surfy, acoustic.” He said his band which comprises Shooty Tanahashi (drums), Elliot Hahn (also studying BPM), Rebecca Pentti (flute) and Niall McDicken (bass) is more “reggae-rock-funk.” McDicken also produced most of the album.
“At the launch, we’ll see what happens. We’ll songs off the album, get a bit funky. A lot of my style is trying to get those emotional slower songs out and get people into that. But by midway I’m trying to get people to dance and get into it.”
Free Spirit is out 2 April via Bandcamp and other sites. It’ll be available online for $15 or at gigs for $20. The launch, on the same date, features Jake Fox Band + Wren Klauf + Pirates of the Tempest + Audsox at Currumbin Creek Tavern.