Australia needs a little glitz and glamour in alternative rock again and Not A Boys Name is ready to deliver that. The long awaited solo project from multi-instrumentalist Dave Jenkins Jr hears him stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight with his debut single which is an ambitious and anthemic affair. Over the years he has toured with some of Australia’s leading musicians including Vera Blue, Daniel Johns, WAFIA and Samantha Jade and brought his unique groove and crazy talent to their live bands.‘Hazard Perception Test’ is a catchy track that is lead by gritty and punchy guitar riffs along with slick synths that creates a unique indie rock blend. The song confronts your insecurities and fears by finding the power to fight them.
I recently chatted to Dave Jenkins JR (aka Not A Boys Name) about the experimental sound behind this project, differentiating his solo sound from the artists he plays with and his debut performances at BigSound last month. Check it out;
TB: Your debut single ‘Hazard Perception Test’ is a bit of a DIY and experimental affair. So what was the experience behind the creative process of this track?
DJ: ‘Hazard Perception Test’ was the first song I wrote for this project. I’d been writing and recording for a long time on my own but I didn’t feel like I had anything worth showing the world. I was going through a particularly fruitless creative period and one day this idea just arrived on my door step. I raced around the house pulling out whatever equipment I could find and recorded it all at my kitchen table. The version you hear is the version I recorded that day. I tried to re-record it and fix things, but that never worked out.
TB: You’ve been working on your debut EP and recently premiered some of these tracks at your BigSound showcases. So sonically what can people expect from your future releases? And how do you hope to grow your sound?
DJ: The best thing about those BigSound shows was that it really pushed me to get the live show to a special place. There are some bombastic songs and they deserve to be treated accordingly. I think you’ll hear a little more confidence in future releases.
TB: Because you are so used to performing other peoples material in their bands did you find yourself a little confused in what you wanted your direction to be once you stepped foot in the studio for your own project or were you pretty clear with your vision straight away?
DJ: As soon as I wrote ‘Hazard Perception Test’ I had a clear vision in place. The other artists I work with have definitely helped to determine the best way to present that vision, but I don’t think they have ever confused it or been the source of any mental road blocks for me.
TB: What was holding you back from releasing your own material for so long?
DJ: I became complacent. I guess I felt successful by association. I was playing music with other people that were doing really well and for a long time I thought that I was somehow responsible for that. It took me a little while to get perspective and realise that I needed my own creative voice.
TB: BigSound was a big week for you as you officially introduced your new project to everyone. So how did these showcases go and what was the feedback you received from the crowds and industry people?
DJ: Bigsound was amazing. I watched so many great artists and met so many beautiful people. I walked away from those shows absolutely buzzing.
TB: This project kind of sees you inhabit a bit of a persona, so what would you say is the most vulnerable moment for you so far in your songwriting?
DJ: I think the persona is a way for me to distance myself from my lyrics and my lyrics are an attempt at controlling my life. Everything that happens in my personal life ends up in a song and it’s usually pretty obvious what I’m singing about. I’d love to be a little less literal but It’s cathartic and I really need that.
TB: I get a bit of a The Killers vibe from your live show, how would you best describe your live show to people?
DJ: I am definitely not offended by that comparison. I saw the Killers a few months ago and man Brandon Flowers has got something special going on. I think the Australian music scene is starting to come out of that toxic tall poppy syndrome it was experiencing a while back. People are ready for a little more excitement. Some glitz and glamour, and I am ready to embrace that.
TB: You’ve worked and toured with some of Australia’s best musicians, so what is one of the best piece of advice or a random tip that you’ve picked up along the way from one of them?
DJ: Never let anyone tell you what’s best for YOU. Trust your own instincts and stand by your decisions. Be aware of imposter syndrome and don’t let yourself get consumed by it.
TB: With BigSound just passing, who are some newcomers that you are personally loving at the moment that you think people should check out?
DJ: Jade Imagine, Merpire and Tyne James Organ. I also loved watching Olympia, and I Know Leopard, but those guys are old pros now.
TB: Lets play a little game where you answer these questions with the first thing that comes to mind…
TB: Most mornings I…
TB: The emoji that best describes me is…
DJ: The two champagne glasses
TB: My pre show pump up song is…
DJ: ‘Whip It’ by DEVO
TB: The messiest person I’ve toured with is…
DJ: Kirin J Callinan
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
NOT A BOYS NAME TOUR DATES
October 20 – Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney (with Olympia)
October 25 – Leadbelly, Sydney (with I Know Leopard)