Big news. Jade Imagine are about to hatch a love letter to low-fi, slacker-fuzz-dream pop bathed in the glow of ’70s surf-music with their debut EP What The Fuck Was I Thinking - out April 28 via Milk! Records. Not only that, the band have today dropped a new video clip for single 'Walkin' Around', and announced a slew of live dates across April and May.
Already, the EP’s first two singles ‘Stay Awake’ and ‘Walkin’ Around’ are earning big props: Rolling Stone pegged ‘Stay Awake’ as “a shimmering summer-invite track”, putting us right back in mind of surf, sun and sky.
The new 'Walkin' Around' video was directed by Clancy Walker (who's previously directed for Sea Shepherd in Antarctica and made video clips for rapper Allday) with cinematography by Sean T. Barnes (who works regularly with the Underground Lovers). Jade McInally, Jade Imagine’s front babe and brains said, "It was filmed on a street in Coburg that was randomly chosen by Clancy because there were a strip of good looking, unassuming shopfronts."
Jade Imagine have announced a long list of live dates throughout April and May to launch the EP, playing with the full band in-check. They'll play a release day in-store at Polyester Records on April 28, at the Corner Hotel with Cash Savage and the Last Drinks on May 6, The Tote with Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever on May 12, and headline EP launch shows at The Gaso in Melbourne on May 19, in Brisbane on May 25 at The End and in Sydney at the Golden Age Cinema on May 27. Supports for the two headline shows are soon to be announced.
McInally cut her band teeth with her own electro project Tantrums in 2004. Since then she’s fleshed out scene favourites like Jess Cornelius’ Teeth and Tongue and backed the best on bass (you can catch her onstage with Jess Ribeiro). With some urging from mates in the know, at the end of 2015 McInally flexed her songwriting muscle, deciding it was time to play ringleader to her own band of musical-mischief makers again. “I’m a songwriter, and it took me so long to realise that,” McInally says. “I need to be writing, because that’s how I feel good.”
Picking up a loaner guitar from Dan Kelly, McInally set about writing all of the tunes for Jade Imagine’s six-track debut EP What The Fuck Was I Thinking. “I think that guitar had some kind of good juju in it,” she reflects. “It’s got some amazing vibes. I picked it up and it made me feel like I was sitting on a beach somewhere,” which touches on one of McInally’s obsessions. McInally is almost always California dreaming, albeit via Melbourne. “In my mind, all of my songs are about missing the coast and wanting to go surfing everyday, even if they’re not actually about that.”
After a spot of bedroom recording, McInally sent a bunch of demos to Dave Mudie (drummer with Courtney Barnett). Mudie not only gave them the thumbs up, he took the liberty of laying down some drums and steered pre-production. Buoyed by the outcome, McInally acquired her band members, Pied-Piper style. The fluid line-up revolves around Liam “Snowy” Halliwell (The Ocean Party, Ciggie Witch) on bass, producer/guitarist Tim Harvey (Emma Louise, Real Feelings) and Jen Sholakis (East Brunswick All Girls Choir, Jen Cloher) on drums.
Despite the fact that McInally’s out front and had the bones of the songs for What The Fuck Was I Thinking under her belt before the band came onboard, Jade Imagine’s no autocracy. “I’m kind of a chill personality when I’m playing music with people and I don’t like to tell people what to play: I’m a vibes guy,” McInally explains. “I just like playing with people in rehearsal and when we come across a cool sound, it’ll stick and I’ll point it out, but I’m not one to say, ‘you’re playing that and you’re playing that’. All of my bandmates are so distinct in their style and playing, so I never got them to join the band with the intention that I’d get them to play differently.”
Recorded over a six month period at Mudie’s house and in an epic-DIY effort in McInally’s bedroom (it involved a lot of blankets, other people’s mics and a “control room” in the hallway) with both Mudie and Harvey driving production at various points, What The Fuck Was I Thinking is melting pot of mid-sixties Cali’ vibes, the Church (McInally’s favourite band), surf music (of course), T-Rex, Fleetwood Mac, the Triffids and the Go-Betweens. “Whenever I record with Tim [Harvey] we have a little session beforehand and listen to songs from other bands and talk about what sounds we want,” McInally reflects of the experience. “It’s all very measured with him. For instance, on the drums for ‘Walkin’ Around’, Fleetwood Mac was a reference, but so was Neu and that definitely doesn’t come through. With Dave [Mudie], it’s more, ‘like let’s throw some things at the wall and see what sticks’, in a good way.”
What the Fuck Was I Thinking comes out on Milk! Records on April 28. It's available to pre-order now on limited edition milky white vinyl via Milk!.