Local indie-folk act Jack Davies and The Bush Chooks are set to release their newest EP Shadows and Sounds of the Night on Friday, October 8, and to celebrate they’ll be hitting The Regal Theatre on Thursday, October 14 as part of this year’s Suburban Vibes in Subiaco. The release follows on from a big year so far for the group, including a string of sold-out shows around the country, a fully sold-out solo residency for Davies and an appearance at SOTA Rewired Festival in June. KWANWOO HAN caught up with Jack Davies to find out about the new EP and why he’s excited to be releasing it with the band’s biggest headline show yet.

Congrats on the launch of your new EP. How long has it been in the works for and how does it feel to finally release it?

I guess things started early this year. The songwriting process goes back a bit further, but it’s hard to exactly remember when most of the songs were written, but they were probably written at the start of this year, some of them last year, and some of them in the middle of the recording process. It’s probably a year long process if you include all the writing, so it feels really good to have it all down and get it out. A bit of a relief and kinda exciting that we can focus on working on the next thing now.

And looking back a little further, where did your journey as musician start and what was it that drew you to songwriting in the first place?

There are probably a lot of different things that got me into wanting to play music and write songs. My mum’s partner was a musician so I started playing guitar when I was four, but it wasn’t until high school I really got into the spoken word stuff around Perth. There was some really great events on that I really enjoyed going to and that got me into writing, and I realised that naturally those things go together, playing guitar and writing stuff.

Then I started busking at this cafe near the road where I lived, and pretty much ran from there. Originally I was playing Rodriguez covers pretty much and started making my own songs, really enjoyed doing that. Kinda just slowly moved from busking to playing small shows to playing more and more gigs, and here I am now.

Were you trying to do anything different musically on this record from your previous releases? And how did you go about capturing your ideas on record?

I guess through the EP, especially compared to the last one and our first one, we’re trying to move in a direction that feels more interesting to us. Because obviously we came out of folk orientated songs and lyrically that’s something we really want to stick, but musically we have grown a little bit with each other through jamming and just playing a lot.

We wanted to try to use different sounds and melodies, so this one is just dipping our toes into the water a little bit, trying out some different song structures. In terms of recording stuff, we’re a little bit different from that essentially. That’s what we wanted to do, something we haven’t done before. Just wanted to move forward in a way that’s our own direction that’s specifically folk songs or indie rock songs…something we haven’t done before or know much about. We’re kinda excited to delve into the unknown a bit.

And how about lyrically? Is there a central theme or idea you feel ties the record together?

I didn’t think of that too much before we recorded it, it was just a bunch of songs. But then looking back, there’s definitely one. The songs are centred around feelings of self-reflection, anxiety and life passing. That’s kinda why I called it Shadows and Sounds of the Night, because the last song is about hope, fear, anxiety, the ups and downs, and all of the things life passes by. Shadows and Sounds of the Night is about fear essentially and that’s probably the overarching feeling of the lyrics, time passing and anxiety coming and going.

It must be exciting bringing this to the stage at The Regal Theatre as part of the Suburban Vibes in Subiaco series. How did you come to be having a launch show at such a venue?

We got an offer for the show and it lined up perfectly with the release. It’s such a beautiful venue and it’ll be pretty rare to put up a show there. We were kinda, “hey, let’s set this up and make it our launch gig.” It kinda just lined up pretty well, so it was a bit of luck I guess.

What are you looking forward to most about the show?

I think with the big theatre stage, we’re gonna try do a whole stage design and get some beautiful lighting. It’ll just be a really big open dramatical space. Often in a venue it’s quite gloomy, tight and dark. It’ll be special to play somewhere that has an open theatrical space feeling about it. That’s what I’m most excited about. it means there’s a lot more possibilities, everyone having their own space and get some cool props.

What’s next for yourself and the Bush Chooks? Any more live shows or new music we can look forward to next?

We’ve got a bunch of shows lined up we’re waiting to announce, including shows over east as well. But obviously we’re waiting for the COVID situation to see what’s going to happen. We’re working on an album at the moment, and a bunch of random solo stuff that we might be putting out around Perth at another point in time. Hopefully a lot of gigs and an album at some point.

Anything else you want to mention?

One more that might be cool to mention actually. The cover art for the album. It’s by Rina Freiberg, she’s a painter. We spent a day at Victoria Hall playing with the whole band, she sat and did live paintings for a few hours and made a bunch of different portraits. We ended up picking up one of those and used it as the cover. That kinda goes with the whole self reflection and anxiety the EP is based on.