Fraser Jane Interview: “It Encompasses The Idea Of Excess Within A Relationship”

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fraser jane interview

Debut EP Out This Summer.

“Every once in a while, not very often, I hear an artist that is creating distinctive original music that makes my ears perk up and my foot tap, Fraser Jane is one of those artists.” High praise indeed from legendary producer Gary Katz (Joe Cocker, Steely Dan, Shaka Khan) for the Limerick born singer songwriter Fraser Jane. It pretty much sums up how Overblown felt when we heard her debut single ‘Enough’. The intricate, delicate and quirky alt-pop track calls to mind Imogen Heap and Bjork in its subtle melodies and subdued tribal beat. It demands attention.

We had a chat with the songwriter recently and delved into her EP plans, the concept behind the evocative video for ‘Enough’ and her love of geeky science podcasts.

O: Thanks for taking the time to speak with Overblown. Is Fraser Jane your real name?

Fraser Jane: Yea kind of! My real name is Jane Fraser.

O:. How did growing up in Limerick affect your musical development?

FJ: It was definitely very positive for me, we all seemed to learn music and harmony by ear, none of us studied formally or anything. Two of my close friends played guitar and we would just hang out literally in fields (when we were lucky we would find a field with a old shed!) and jam our own songs… or else sing Nirvana, Radiohead, Live, Smashing Pumpkins all that stuff. Then when I went on to sing in bands there it was again very instinctive, lots of ad-libbing and improvising and a general sense of freedom about it that I don’t often feel anywhere else.

O: Have you ever been to the Siege of Limerick?

FJ: Luckily I have never been involved in a siege in Limerick… as far as I can recall! But I have done the dance a few times..especially at weddings..people love busting out a few Siege moves at a wedding.

O: Where did the song ‘Enough’ come from? What inspired it and how was it written?

FJ: I was writing a lot of songs for a BA Songwriting course I was on (about 3 a week) and it came from there. Some songs are hard to finish and take a lot of chopping and changing but ‘ENOUGH’ was one of the ones that wrote itself. The inspiration came from a relationship I had been in that was pretty full on but I had been watching a documentary called ‘The Lightbulb Conspiracy’ which I feel ended up in the mix there too. I was at a Luca Bloom gig last night and he has a song with the lyric, “when is enough enough… when will I have enough stuff”. My ‘ENOUGH’ has a similar sentiment but it also encompasses the idea of excess inside a relationship.

I am a production based writer so I don’t ever really sit down with a guitar and work the song out from start to finish, usually the elements start to grow together – the drum loop, weird keyboard riff and bass were the main elements I built around. I had some people put their talent in there too; Tom Cooper on guitar, Danyal Dhondy strings and Paul Stanborough polishing & mixing.

O: You recently released quite an evocative video for ‘Enough’. Who created the video? What is the concept behind it?

FJ: I had a limited budget so I had to keep it simple i.e not have a big cast of people involved and multiple cameras, settings etc.. I had actually made visuals for the track that featured in a live performance so I knew what direction I wanted to go in, but that footage was just a montage of random YouTube stuff. I was looking for someone cool to work with in my home town and saw the most amazing hair designs by a guy called Stephen O’ Driscoll, who had just won ‘The Avant Garde Visionary Award‘ at the Irish Hair Awards 2015. I tracked him down and was really pleased when he said yes to collaborating with me. We brain stormed a couple of ideas but I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of styling because I was away in the time between the meeting and the shoot. When I saw all the pieces he had made I was literally blown away. Both he and Mandy O’ Loughlin (make-up artist) were responsible for the styling. I was in the best hands for camera work – a very talented and very good friend of mine Selina O’ Meara shoot + directed it all in her studio and ordered a ‘proper’ green screen for me last minuet because I thought just swinging by the shop and buying a few sheets of green paper would suffice!

We shot for about 12 hours with all the different looks, I left with all this footage on my hard drive was wondering how to make it a video. A friend recommended Benjamin Brookes who very graciously (and patiently) listened to my off the wall ideas and went about editing, animating, hammering & chiseling the footage into what is now on YouTube!

O: What are your favourite things to do outside of music?

FJ: Spend time with friends, go to nice restaurants, cinema, LOVE geeky science podcasts and BBC documentaries.

O: Do you have plans for an EP or debut album?

FJ: Yea plans are to put out an EP at the end of summer and a new video is in the works at the moment too.

O: Do you have any upcoming gigs?

FJ: Yea I will be playing a Songwriters Circle at Mode Notting Hill on the 18th April, I will be in the circle with Tim Elsenburg of Sweet Billy Pilgrim and a couple of others songwriters that are linked to The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. Full band rehearsals have already started and I will be out and about with that over summer.

O: What is your favourite musical instrument? Why?

FJ: I adore the cello, it has a versatile palette and its timber has a way of reaching into the soul.

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