INTERVIEW: Jack R Reilly

After the demise of his previous band, the raucous post-punk foursome God Rest The Good Doctor, Kiama’s Jack Reilly says his new solo venture is a very different beast.

“It’s me and trying to be as honest as I possibly can be. That’s the crux of it,” he says of his new acoustic project.

“This is a real outlet for me to just be me. It’s a huge challenge for me It’s really nerve racking for me, but it’s a lot of fun.”

After GRGD came to an end earlier this year – with a farewell show at Sydney’s World Bar, which he calls “probably the best night of my life” – Reilly began putting together acoustic, folk-tinged jams of his own. Since that time, he’s clocked up support slots for Yellow Fever, Owl Eyes, Love Connection and (probably most surprisingly) Blackie from hardcore legends  Hard-Ons, and is readying his debut EP.

“It’s sort of been swimming around in my head since about February. The actual production details came about really quickly; I picked a date and a studio, sent an email and away I went.”

Reilly says the EP is split into two halves; three simple acoustic songs, coupled with three songs featuring a bassist and drummer. Working at Silver Sound studios for the whole band takes, and recording the solo acoustic tracks with Sean Conran (a.k.a Obscura Hail), Reilly says he just picked “the songs that seemed right” to include on the release.

“I picked the songs I feel most represent me. The next release, whenever it happens, I might go through more of a process with the construction of the release of a whole; but at the moment the focus is really just getting myself and my music out. ”

The first single from the EP, ‘Panic and Alarm,’ was released through Radar today; and to celebrate, Reilly is heading out on his maiden trip to play Melbourne. While admitting that booking an interstate tour so early in the life of this project was a risk, he says the trip is more about the experience than any real expectations of cracking the big time.

“I honestly thought that if I didn’t do it early, I wouldn’t do it at all. I’m still quite a novice when it comes to organizing shows out of the area, but the only way I’ll ever learn is to have a go.”

“I’m super keen for the trip, actually. I’m playing with a band called Playwrite who rule, seeing people I haven’t seen in ages and road tripping with my best friends. It’s gonna rule!”

What do you think about the new venues appearing in town?
I love them. I love all the venues that allow shows to happen. I love promoters who put on local shows. I love the people come and enjoy local music, it’s all good. It’d be nice if the venues and promoters were given more support, but yeah I love it all.

How do you see the state of music in Wollongong, generally? How is the scene going right now?
Generally it’s great. However, I think there’s still a lot of focus on the way things used to be. Also with all the discourse I’ve witnessed, I’ve noticed people are really keen on highlighting the problems. I honestly think that all the problems I keep hearing about would cease if the people just stopped the debate and went to shows. This is one of the few situations where I think discourse hasn’t helped as much as it should. I think the solution is simple. If you want to see any sort of scene flourish, you have to go to shows.

What can be changed, or improved, to help support music in Wollongong?
The scene would improved If more people went to shows. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes with that actually happening though, Promoters have to make the nights affordable to get people through the door, but profitable enough for the events to continue. Bands have to be proactive with bookings, promo and management as well as providing an excellent show (with whatever they’re doing) and punters should take the risk and see a band they haven’t heard of.

Jack R Reilly releases ‘Panic and Alarm’ today, available exclusively through Radar Illawarra. Listen to it here
See Reilly on August 4th  at Yours and Owls; alongside Siprioca, Obscura Hail and Yetis


One Response to INTERVIEW: Jack R Reilly

  1. Rob Carr says:

    Hey all,

    Great article once again, radar is continually doing a lot to help local artists spread the word. It is also great to see more discussion happening about the state of the music scene.

    To respond to two points Jack made, as was recognised through the discourse that was generated at the forum recently, “just going to gigs” is not really an effective solution.

    One of the problems here is that the scene is not just about live shows – it is also about the expression of music culture through media (such as radar), labels, bookers, venues, Steel City Sounds, students, young people, recording studios, video makers and so on.

    Moreover there are a wide range of problems that extend from poor investment and infrastructure. I did a survey with people who attended the forum and who noted these things, the results of which I can forward to radar readers (my email is below).

    On the other hand I do agree with Jack when he says ‘discourse hasn’t helped as much as it should’.

    The first stage is recognising the problems, to nut them out and gain a consensus on what needs to be done. We began this process at the forum.

    The second stage would involve to begin to organise a response. This response could be twofold – either form an advocacy group to work towards addressing infrastructure problems (such as lobbying for these things, getting funding and working with Council etc.); and/or greater, more strategic efforts via independent businesses (by local zines, labels, venues etc.).

    Ideally both would be the way forward. I’m happy to partake in another forum to talk about “solutions” and maybe from this we can develop a more organised response.

    Best wishes,
    Rob Carr – organiser, State of the Music Scene Forum: 2011

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