Q & A with Jamie Hutchings
Jamie Hutchings plays at The Bison Bar in Nambour as part of his national tour in support of his fourth solo album, and first in seven years - Bedsit.
Bedsit was self recorded by Hutchings live to a 90’s era 16 track tape machine on the outskirts of Bathurst in early 2016. It features little else but Jamie’s voice and guitar, Reuben Wills’ double bass and occasionally Jamie’s younger sister, renowned painist Sophie Hutchings. The performance will see Jamie draw deep from what is now a deep body of work, from Bluebottle Kiss, Infinity Broke through to his current solo material.
Because this is a pretty special event, we enlisted the help of the biggest Bluebottle Kiss fan (and personal friend of Jamie Hutchings) we know - Josh Lee (drummer, Hope Springs, Face Race etc)
First things first... What got you into music?
I liked listening to it, I used to hear songs in my head when I was a kid but I did not play guitar, although once I started playing drums in school bands I would always hear the song in my head, so I started hacking away at the guitar not even thinking about being a front man. I just really wanted to write songs. When I started writing songs I wanted to write songs like the music I was listening to, but I would think if it was just a little bit different; a little bit more of this and less of that, it’s kind of like wanting to create your favourite dish. You kind of put all the elements together to make the music you would be excited to listen to yourself.
You have had relatively good success in your music career with Bluebottle Kiss receiving high rotation and touring Australia playing the major festivals and even playing South by Southwest. I’m sure you have had many highs and a few lows in your time playing music. So what keeps you driving to make the music?
Yeah I kind of feel empty if I don’t write music, I feel like a bum, I don’t know, it’s like being really starving and waiting to get something to eat (laughs) I just get hungry for it, if I’m not creating something new I feel dissatisfied. I have to be patient a lot of the time, there is heaps of other things in life that you have to invest in as well but it’s always there in the back of your mind. It gives my life extra meaning.
Do you need to get a response when you’re releasing music for your fulfilment, is it good to get it?
Yeah for sure. I think it makes you better as well. I know with singing at the start I did not have a natural singing voice and I was a very shy person. When BBK started preforming, I improved so quickly because I was doing it publicly, it really fast tracks because of the pressure from preforming. Also the feedback from the audience encourages you and gives you an idea of what is working.
With your new music, there seems to be a new trend of people buying physical copies of vinyl over CD or MPS. Is this why you release your new album on vinyl?
There is definitely an audience for vinyl. I recon about 50% of people really like the vinyl but people still buy the CD’s at the shows, and people still download my stuff.
Speaking of your new album “Bedsit”, the title seems apt, like being in a 1 bedroom house and life being very raw and easy. The album seems to be recorded in a much stripped back way with plenty of room, you can even hear sirens in one of the songs. Did you want it to be stripped back, were you going for that minimalistic sound?
Yeah, it’s kind of just unfussy the way I recorded it, I reckon once you record to tape it always sounds great anyway. The way I record to tape is really loud and that has a particular sound that verges on distortion which is an older sound. We recorded some of it in a shed, there is not a lot of noise maybe some bird noises. I also recorded in my flat where you can hear the siren, I don’t try to manufacture the sound, there is one song that you can hear a car in the quiet bit of the song it’s kind of like having an extra instrument.
Your lyrics in this Album are more about storytelling, do you write these stories from your own life experiences or more observations, and have you ever woken up with your feet covered in blocks of ice?
It’s metaphorical, I don’t like handing over a diary entry, buy they’re kind of symbolisms. It’s me kind of putting a smoke screen up - I’ll do it through story rather than just telling it straight.
What have you got planned for the feature with your music and bands?
This tour will take me though all of April, then I will be doing a Parlour gig back home. The other 3 bands I’m in have been invited to France to play a folk festival. There is still a few songs from the bedsit outtakes that I could make into an EP maybe. And maybe start writing more songs for Infinity Broke.
Cheers Jamie for taking the time to talk to me.
Jamie will be preforming live in Nambour at The Bison Bar on April 21.
If you would prefer to listen to this interview with Jamie Hutchings, listen to the clip below.