Jay Fraser is a blues/roots musician from Australia currently based in London. In 2011 he released his third album, Buildings Of Dreams, and a new EP, Sketches Of A Renegade. Tyler Quiring was able to get the scoop on the new EP and Fraser’s future plans.
What’s your musical philosophy? What does music mean to you, and how does it interface with your personal life?
I don’t think it’s as much a philosophy as an attitude or some kind of quest. I’m on a quest to write and play music with soul and abandon, I’m looking to wake up. I’m always looking for music that has an edge to it that can prick the consciousness or throw me some how. Music consumes a lot of my thinking, so it and its makers greatly influence my world view. I don’t consider there to be a separation of music and my personal, spiritual or secular life, it’s a constant thread intertwined in all facets.
What is the biggest inspiration to your music?
I definitely look up to other artists who inspire me not only with their music, but with their anecdotes, by their attitude and by their example. I’m always inspired by artists who do it their own way, who do it for real and don’t leapfrog unicorns for anyone. Inspiration has many positions; experience, knowledge, uncertainty, desire and raw emotion are definitely all serious ball players in that game, too.
On Sketches Of A Renegade, was there a message you were trying to send or a theme you were trying to explore?
It speaks of the individual, by the individual themselves; of who they are, who they want to be, where they’re going and against what odds. It essentially sketches a picture of a soul who has been hung out to dry by the world around them (Devil’s Play). They are then lost, perhaps in some ideology, mentality, addiction or subscribing to a world view in an attempt to belong but find themselves completely alone (The Dark Wood). Then comes a self realization of the good fortune to be alive but at the same time realizing peace of mind doesn’t come easy (The Taunting of Del Toro). Finally, comes the tale of their emancipation. Whether dreamt or real, the character in the final song inspires me and I’m paying homage to those who have or are breaking free in some way (Breaking the Reigns).
Is Sketches Of A Renegade any indication of what your future albums will be like?
I don’t know. Sketches is my 4th release and with each release subsequent I’ve attempted to take it up a notch from the previous record both in the writing and performance. I have some ideas as to what I’m interested in doing but in the end I let it rest on the songs that come and the situation at the time of recording.
What’s next for you? Any big plans?
I hope to play some shows in Europe this year and eventually do a tour in the US, probably after the release of next record in a year or so. In the immediate future I’ll continue playing shows in London and around the UK. I’m also excited about various collaborations that I’m currently involved with; playing live with other musicians and also co-writing and recording projects. Apart from that, I’ll continue writing for the next album and try not to get lost in the white noise.
Interview by Tyler Quiring