Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m currently based in the Northern Rivers region, near Byron Bay. The Music scene is good here and there are a of professional muso’s and established musicians have been moving here a lot over the last decade. We were actually overseas in Bali for the last three years but we’ve come back now to embark on this next phase of my career and launch my book and my album.
How did you first start playing music, singing/guitar?
I grew up in Melbourne and I got a guitar at the age of 10, I used to play a lot with my Grandad.
I would listen to a lot of Triple RRR and PBS then in my early 20’s and moved into inner city Melbourne and that’s when my music career really started.
What’s been happening recently?
Last week I released a new single called ‘Ain’t My Problem’ which features The Teskey Brothers so that’s pretty exciting. The last single was ‘Whispering Voice’ which featured Kasey Chambers. I’ve got a Podcast called ‘Soulful Conversations’ which my first interview was with John Butler then I had Ziggy Alberts and Kim Churchill, Harry James Angus and Josh Teskey and a handful of other amazing people
My debut book ‘Surf by Day, Jam by Night’ was released this week where I interview Kelly Slater, Steph Gilmore, Jack Johnson and many others. I interviews 15 surfers and musicians and it’s everyday wisdom and habits that get people in flow states and live their best possible lives.
I have a company I co-own with my wife, called Earth Bottles and we’ve been going around the country doing beach clean ups and shows. Earth Bottles is a single use plastics company that is trying to eliminate plastics. We make water bottles, coffee cups and all sorts of reusable stuff so we don’t have so much plastic clogging up our oceans.
Your new album MOJO; drops on August 30, what influenced your sound and songwriting for
Most of Mojo was recorded in American and it’s my guitar blues album and to introduce me to American and the rest of the world. I’ve got some amazing guests on all of the tracks and it’s my ninth studio album.
To me it represents getting my Mojo back and coming out of a little bit of a mid life slump. I believe their are seasons in life and I feel like i’ve just come in to a new one.
Where and when did you write the music for the new album?
Much of the album was recorded in LA about 5 years ago which a lot of old school blues legends from America. I got it back 4 years later when I started trying to turn things around. I got a new manager who was able to track it down and we got the album finally and I ended up adding in Byron Bay some new tracks and some overdubbing and some amazing Australian special guests. So it was recorded between LA and Byron over the span of 5 years.
Who did you work with during the creation on Mojo?
We’ve got some amazing special guests on Mojo given that it was a guitar blues album, it was a huge honour to have Joe Bonamssa on a track. We got Harry Angus from The Cat Empire on two tracks who’s a really good friends, Kasey Chambers appears on one track, The Teskey Brothers who are on ‘Ain’t my Problem’ and ‘Waiting Around To Die’ which is amazing, we got Kim WIlson who is one of the best and more respected harmonica players in the world he’s on a couple of tracks then my good buddy Ian Collard from melbourne who is such an amazing harp player. Then I have Mahalia Barnes who kills it on three tracks on the album she bought some really special moments to the record. I’ve also got Terry Evans who is no longer with us and one of my all times idols and Eddy ‘The Chief’ Clearwater they are two old African American blues guys who are just lords. It was a huge honour to have all of these guests.
What programs/instruments were used to record?
It’s a very live sounding album and was doing with the traditional methods of going through really good old school analogue gear and done in a pretty standard classic way really with an emphasis on the playing.
How did you approach the recording process?
There was a lot of layering as I say some of those sessions were recorded five years ago in LA then added to in Byron later by me. Adding guitar oberdbus and solos, I really took the time to craft the guitar solos and give them a lot of meaning. It’s the first time i’ve done that giving as much detail as my singing voice on the album.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the creation of Mojo?
I guess the most challenging part of the album was A – it was lost for so long and I didn’t even know if was ever going to get my hands on it. Which was tough because I had talked about it some much since returning. After that it was spending the time and the money doing it justice and we really put a lot of time and effort into it and I’m really happy iwth these results.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’m looking around thinking about my next album and what I want to achieve, I’m going to be doing a lot of co-writing in America for the next record, I’m listening to a lot of Bluesy stuff like The Black Keys new album, Rag N Bone, Gary Clark Jr – really combining that modern blues pop sound. That’s something I’ve been into for a long time but I’ve left it behind on the last few albums. It’s really cool to see what’s been happening in that world, it’s not really a genre being Blues Pop but it seems there’s a few great artists in that area.
What do you like to do away from music?
I love surfing obviously and I love reading and listening to podcasts when I get the time. Along with Meditation, Yoga and Whimhoff breathing.
I’m fascinated with trying to maximise the happiness in my life and the life of my family, it’s not quite a simple as it seems. THere’s a lot of head work that can go into being content and cruisey which is how I like to keep it.
You have a massive Aus/NZ tour kicking off in early October, what do you most enjoying about
touring and playing live?
I think one of life’s unalterable equations is that you get out what you put in. I’ve never probably put in so much to my music in terms of the musicianship side, practicing my instrument and singing. So now when I get to the gig, it’s something I’m keenly anticpating. I’ve been having such a ball in the lead up to the shows and I cannot wait to get the album out and get on the road and tour it. They are far from empty words I’m absolutely frothing the idea of getting out there and playing these shows. I’m very suited to touring, I’m happy to travel and cruise and in my own world – I’m always learning and you can do that anywhere. I don’t like being away from my family but it’s all part of it.
What do you have in store for these shows?
We’re really crafting a show an actual show, rather than just off the cuff. A lot of my shows in my career have been off the cuff whereas now I’m excited about crafting this show and going in with a really solid battle plan.
What’s planned for late 2019 going into 2020?
The rest of the year with me is touring for music and the book. I’ll be doing a lot of in stores to promote the book.
We’ll also be going over to America to do some showcases in LA and New York and tackle that behemoth.