Jonathan Boulet Talks Making “Fun, Dumb Rock & Roll” On ‘Gubba’
Written by Alice Bopf on 23rd July, 2014
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Sydney-born singer-songwriter and certified jet-setter Jonathan Boulet is proving himself quite the chameleon of the music world. He followed-up his deliciously smooth debut with a vibrant and explosive sophomore effort, and now on new album Gubba, he’s getting experimental.
Gubba is the result of the artist’s very own ‘Berlin era,’ on which Jonathan embarked after a European tour and a string of well-received performances at last year’s SXSW. After relocating to Germany, Jonathan began rebuilding his sound from the ground up over the course of a year.
We recently caught up with Jonathan during his visit to London, where he tells us he is eagerly anticipating home stages and many loud noises to come. We also touched on why Jonathan took an experimental route on his new album, as well as the meaning behind the title Gubba.
Watch: Jonathan Boulet Presents Gubba
Hey Jonathan! How’s London treating you?
Jonathan Boulet: It’s lovely and warm… it feels like a true summer, like back home.
The last we heard from you, you were jet-setting off to Germany, where you evidently did some experimenting of the musical kind and now you’re back with a totally different sound. Why did you feel the desire to mix things up so much, and how did you arrive at the new tunes?
JB: I think it’s always kind of been there, in a way. I think those sounds have always been around, always poking their head through other music that I’ve made. I guess I had the perfect opportunity to jump straight into it and do it properly.
That makes sense. After the last album, We Keep the Beat, Found the Sound, See the Need, Start the Heart, there was such praise for your work. Did you feel a newfound confidence in your experimentation with music?
JB: I feel I’ve always been fairly confident in my music, actually. By the time the previous album was released, it felt quite old to me – the release date was almost a year to the day that we finished working on it. For me, I’d already been thinking for a long time about where to go next. By that stage I was feeling ready to go further, do more extreme stuff.
Speaking of, the new album, Gubba, came out today in Australia. For those who haven’t yet heard it, what can they expect?
JB: Fun, dumb rock and roll [laughs] I don’t like to pigeonhole things too much.
I think that’s fairly evident. Even in the early days, your music covered a lot of ground when you consider genres.
JB: This is true. Maybe too much ground? [laughs]
Never. The name Gubba strikes me as short album name compared to last time. What’s the story behind the name?
JB: It’s actually an Aboriginal slang term for “white man,” and came about in the past 200 years or so. It came from the term “government man” I believe. It’s kind of funny hearing people react to it this time around: “Gee, where’s the rest of it?”
Listen: Jonathan Boulet – Hold It Down
Your last album was a crazy thing to experience live. We’ll be seeing you soon in anticipation of Gubba. What are you most looking forward to when coming back to Australian stages?
JB: This time around we’ve got a much simpler setup. It’s still loud, don’t get me wrong. It’ll certainly be louder than it was before. [The band and I are] pretty excited to see all the faces melt off [laughs]
Are we going to be seeing the extended setup, similar to last time? The last tour you played, there were two sets of drums in action, one of which had nothing short of acrobatics at play to keep up with the beat!
JB: No, not this time. We’ve stripped it back to just three of us, rather than the six. A lot simpler. I wrote the new album by myself, and with the wonders of technology these days, you can pretty much have a one-man-band if you wanted to.
Lastly, and dare I say most importantly, recent photos of you are missing one extraordinarily majestic beard…
JB: I think I’d milked it of all its magic, so I had to shave it off [laughs]
Jonathan Boulet’s latest album, ‘Gubba’ is available now. Jonathan will embark on an Australian tour this August – full details below.