The Australian Government isn’t the only entity that puts people through a rigorous cross-examination to prove their loyalty to a bunch of stars and a Union Jack. Each week at M+N, we make an Australian act kiss the flag by asking them questions about their favourite local acts: who they’ve been listening to recently, their underground heroes, or whether they prefer Kylie or Dannii Minogue.
Taking the test this week is Melbourne-based Sydney transplant Jade MacRae, whose synth-pop guise of Dune follows past collaborations with Pnau and The Sleepy Jackson. She’s launching the jittery self-produced single ‘Shoestring’ next week in advance of a debut EP in 2013.
a. How did your time at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music help prepare you for what you do as Dune?
Well, if nothing else it certainly instilled a sense of discipline – I went to high school and uni there. The high school routine was beyond rigorous, plus I lived a long way from school so I spent many an hour on the bus. Hard work aside, it was a pretty magical place really. I often feel, though, that too much musical education can stifle one's creativity in some ways. But what has been learned cannot be unlearned!
b. What’s the live version of Dune like?
In my dreams it's me on vocals and synths with a drummer, bass player, guitarist and a second keyboard player who also plays percussion. To the side we would have the choir and the other side the string section. In real life it's me on vocals and synths and sampler, with a drummer and a bass player. We all do a fair bit of multitasking.
c. Why did you self-produce ‘Shoestring’?
I was the most affordable producer I could find! I couldn't afford to work with any of my preferred producers so I just did it myself. I have always dabbled in production but never taken anything all the way myself until now. Another reason for doing it myself was that I really wanted to try and make a sound that was my own, without other influences.
d. When’s an album or EP coming?
EP is all done and will be out later this year. I'm currently working on the next EP instalment, to be released next year.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
Melbourne is home for now. But I grew up on Sydney's northern beaches in Newport, where everyone except me was blonde and blue-eyed and had names like Amy, Wade and Corey. Spot the odd one out. Beautiful place though.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
There are that many good bands and artists in Melbourne per square metre, it’s ludicrous. Ainslie Wills and Hayley Cramer are two very talented local ladies with big lungs and great songs. Bertie Blackman too. Thrupence is sounding sweet and soothing. I like Architecture in Helsinki too. I haven't seen them in a while, but Jackson Jackson are one of my favourite live acts.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
My local is Revolver. What's it like? Everything from wonderful and delicious to downright disgusting.
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
Crowded House, Chisel, INXS, The Easybeats, Custard, You Am I, Silverchair, Regurgitator, Nick Cave.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
John Farnham - Whispering Jack on vinyl. EEEEEK! I was only six years old - forgiven?
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
I hate choosing favourites! Uuuuuuurrrrgh … paralysed by choice, Crowded House I guess. I'm no good at picking just one.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Paul Kelly ‘To Her Door’ - I don't know why but it just sounds so Aussie to me. That classic Oz piano sound. Also hard to not choose Icehouse ‘Great Southern Land’.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
They're not all that new but I'm a big fan of Ball Park Music - such great melodies and classic songwriting. Jonti makes things sound so warm and beautiful and is such a free spirit and creative thinker. The Preatures - again great songwriting - I think I'm in love with Isabella Manfredi; she is so mesmerising. Also, Ngaiire is one of the best singers I've ever heard. She rips.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
Gotye - I'm thinking a breakup duet of some sort? Hahaha. Nah, I'd love the opportunity to work with Tame Impala - we would make something swampy, psychedelic and epic, with wild synths and layers and layers and layers of vocals.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
I'm pretty lame; I don't get out much! But I saw The Owls play recently - young stoner rock lads from Newcastle. They were great.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
Well, Australia has a pretty small population, and music is not as much a part of the culture here as it is in other parts of the world - but hopefully it will continue to grow. I think a lot of local artists head overseas purely to try and access a bigger, more receptive audience. It is really tough to make a living out of music here - and it is really tough to make music when you have to do something else to make a living. All depends on what you class as success, I guess.
Part 4. Multiple Choice
a. The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent?
If I must: The Voice.
b. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
Again, if I must: the dirty bird, Red Rooster.
c. Northcote or Brunswick?
Haha, Northcote for me.
d. Potato cake or dim sim?
God, I'm in for both but if I had to choose, the humble potato cake wins out for me in the end.
e. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
I feel mean having to choose, as I do like them both. Kelly wins. He's got that cool uncle.
f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
Blanchett all the way. I'm a fan.
h. Neighbours or Home & Away?
Is there a lesser of two evils here? I pick Neighbours - it's Melbourne vs. Sydney here, and right now Melbourne wins for me.
i. Cheezels or Twisties?
Twisties for me - Cheezels are just that bit too big for the mouth.
j. Kimbra or Gotye?
Hahaha - both talented, aren't they? Kimbra gets my vote here. The girl is killing it. I have a lot of time for those who can pull off their sound live; so many people around these days can't. Kimbra is the dope shit.
‘SHOESTRING’ LAUNCH DATES
Thurs, Aug 30 – Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Fri, Aug 31 – Beresford Hotel, Sydney, NSW