“I’ve realised how important it is to stay true to yourself”: JEFFE on the year gone by
With two released singles under her belt, a tour across the UK with HONNE, locally touring with No Mono and playing a run of her own shows (including an appearance at BIGSOUND), Sydney’s JEFFE has had a hell of a 12 months.
Considering this time last year, she was releasing her debut single, it’s been a whirlwind of a year for her and best of all, she’s only getting started.
She debuted last year with her single ‘WHOEVER YOU LOVE, I’m COOL’, a forward-thinking electropop number detailing emotional detachment. It was this that catapulted her into our consciousness, with her ability to create this music that exists so outwardly in both electronic and pop realms.
She followed that one up with ‘Undecided’, a decidedly more electronic number than her last. There’s a quirky-ness to the way she puts cadences in her words together and this track best displays that. By embodying complex rhythms with the undulating electronic sounds in the background, there’s a beautiful soundscape painted on this one.
There’s no doubt as to why JEFFE‘s fast becoming a name to watch, so ahead of her debut headline shows coming up, we sat down with her to chat about the year and what she makes of all of the chaos. We’ve also been given a sneak peek into what she’s been up to in her travels, with an exclusive photo gallery from her time with photographer Lucy Perett in LA.
Hey JEFFE! Congrats on a huge year. You’re currently over in the UK supporting HONNE! A year ago, would you have believed that you’d be here now?
Hey! Yeah it’s pretty crazy! A year ago I release my first single (whoever you love, I’m cool) so I definitely didn’t think that a year later I’d be touring around Europe and the UK, playing to crowds of up to 5000 people. It was super last minute as well so I wouldn’t have believed I’d be doing this even a month ago!
What has the experience been like, taking your live show from Aussie stages to international stages?
The crowds we’ve been playing to over here have been incredible. Playing to these kind of audiences night after night has definitely made me feel more comfortable and confident on stage. It’s a very uplifting feeling to know that people who live on the other side of the world are enjoying my music and finding it relatable.
You’re about to head out on your first ever headline tour! What has it taken to put your live show together? Can you talk us through the process?
I worked with a guy named Joel Farland who does a lot of MD’ing. We sat down together and went through how it would work best being able to add as many elements as possible to the live show. He introduced me to the Roland SP-404 and that changed my world. So now I can just chop down the stems from the original recording and chuck them onto different pads on the sampler to play them throughout the set.
Touring with big acts like HONNE and No Mono must have been really exciting, particularly as those acts have a lot to teach, I feel. Has touring so intensely and also touring with more established artists helped you with your songwriting?
I’m not sure I’d say it’s helped with my songwriting as much, but it’s definitely inspired me on so many different levels. It’s great to be surrounded by people who are established to a point that I don’t really understand yet. Just hearing everyone talk about things that I’ve never even considered, from lighting arrangement, to using in-ears… it’s definitely got me thinking about how I can make things bigger and better for myself.
You’ve got two released singles under your belt with ‘Undecided’ being your 2018 release. Since releasing this single and undergoing such a transformative year, have you found that the way you make music has changed?
I think it’s pretty difficult to not be changing constantly. Since first releasing ‘whoever you love, I’m cool’ I’ve definitely changed musically. It feels almost as if I’m growing more into the music and it’s becoming closer to me.
It’s exciting though, I love where the music is progressing to and I can’t wait to see where else we’ll go.
‘Undecided’ is such a rare pop moment. It really hones in on the complexities and intricacies of the genre and feels like a truly authentic projection of yourself. Can you tell us a bit about what you were feeling when you wrote this track?
I wrote ‘Undecided’ when I was going through a time where I felt really confused about the path I was on and I had to make some decisions that I wasn’t sure I was ready to make. The song is basically about being unable to commit to anything and just wanting to stick to the norms of day to day life.
As both an artist & a person, what has 2018 taught you?
2018 has been a massive year of growth and learning. I think the tour with HONNE has been the most eye opening for me. I’ve realised how important it is to stay true to yourself, it’s a tough industry and if you don’t look after you mind then you can’t do your best work. A healthy mind is the main catalyst for success and a free flow of creativity.
What can we expect from you in 2019? Are you working on a longer-form body of work?
Dave (Hammer) and I have been writing a bunch of songs so we’ve got heaps to share with you in the next year! No dates set in stone just yet but I can tell you it’s gonna be soon!
JEFFE HEADLINE TOUR
Thursday, December 6
The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood
Get your tickets here.
Friday, December 7
Rooftop Garden @ 107 Projects, Redfern
Get your tickets here.
Saturday, December 15
The Milk Factory, Brisbane
Get your tickets here.
All photos by Lucy Perett
Words by CAITLIN MEDCALF