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Interview with Steve and Grant about first Jack Frost album Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 January 1991
Interview kindly transcribed by Marcelo F. Guevara

TITLE:  Song Duo Seek New Music Horizons
SUBJECT:  Jack Frost (1st album)
AUTHOR:  Kathy McCabe
SOURCE:  Time Out (Sydney, Australia??)
DATE:  ??

One thing you can count on about good songwriters is they are never prepared to rest on their laurels.

The Church's Steve Kilbey and former Go-Between Grant McLennan are perfect examples.

And while both are prolific writers, they have never sacrificed artistic integrity for the commercial dollar.

Now the pair have joined forces to form new outfit Jack Frost, through which they hope to explore new horizons on the musical frontier.

The collaboration dawned when Kilbey returned from touring the US with The Church in July.

After a quick flick through his phone book, he happened along McLennan?s number and gave him a buzz.

?Let?s write a song together,? the Church front man said.

?Come over and bring your 12 string.  I?ll bake the cookies,? McLennan replied.

Kilbey tried to offer the explanation that he?d seen Grant?s photo on a country town Wanted poster for crimes against songwriting.

But after the success of so many Go-Betweens efforts, one finds that a little hard to believe.

?Steven thought he would make me legitimate,? McLennan joked.

While the pair knew each other?s work simply from albums and had bumped into each other at a few parties, the idea to collaborate sprang from out of the blue.

The first rainy afternoon they met up to try to write together produced two songs ? the second effort, Didn?t Know Where I Was made it on to the Jack Frost album.

?It was effortless to write together.  It was raining as well which meant we really couldn?t get out of the flat,? McLennan said.

Steve added:  ?That is true.  If you are writing a song on a hot summer day with the sun pouring in it doesn?t seem to be as important.?

Over the next three weeks, the pair wrote a total of 14 tracks, found a cheap but not nasty studio and recorded and mixed the album.

While patches of the material strike a recognisable chord, Jack Frost?s music is indicative of neither the Church nor the Go-Betweens.

In fact on several songs it is hard to tell their voices apart.

?I think it?s quite good the way our voices mix.  In moments when I am not so conscious it even confuses me a little bit.?

Kilbey said the pair used several different techniques to arrive at a sound quite different from what they were both used to.

?I am very much a methodologist in approaching music.  I believe in trying new approaches to writing songs, which Grant was very open to,? he said.

?Like starting a song with just bongos or just a title or just an idea or atmosphere we wanted to build up.

?Grant and I and the engineer were very much into picking up the reins of coincidence or chance and following a song wherever it wanted to go.

?When you have a set group, everyone falls into a set pattern and it?s now I do my bit, then you do your bit and so on.

?But with Jack Frost there was no set thing with who was going to sing and who was going to play which instrument.?

Both play most of the instruments on the album, except what Kilbey calls the ?real? instruments like oboe and cello.

While they had no idea if they?d even get on, the pair are now firmly set again on the music treadmill ? playing live, doing interviews and filming videos.

Already they have played with They Might Be Giants in Sydney and will appear at Brisbane?s Livid Festival this weekend.

They hope to go to the US and UK early in the New Year for the album?s release.

But Sydney audiences will have to content themselves with their recorded sound for now.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 06 February 2005 )
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