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Rock Club 40 chats with SARAH McLEOD (The Superjesus)

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When The Superjesus joins forces with Baby Animals for the ‘She Who Rocks’ tour this May, it’s going to be a mighty rock show and one that singer Sarah McLeod has been hoping would happen for a long time. But while this will be the first time that The Superjesus has played with Baby Animals, it is not the first time for Sarah, as she reveals in our recent interview. “I did a show with Baby Animals in another band of mine called Screaming Bikini a year or two ago but never with Superjesus. I can’t wait! It’s a killer band. Absolutely awesome!  There’s a good level of healthy competition there. We’ll try tooutrock each other,” she laughs. “I’ll walk on stage and give it all I’ve got!”

Sarah is excited about the two bands touring together. She and Baby Animals’ drummer, Mick Skelton, are long-time friends and have been playing in bands together for years and, as a fan of the band, Sarah has always hoped that one day her dream of The Superjesus touring with Baby Animals would eventuate.  “It was a couple of years ago when I did that show with my other band, Screaming Bikini, at a  place called The Annandale in Sydney  and she (Suze DeMarchi) was lovely to me  and I thought this might actually be a possibility. And then we started throwing ideas around. We tried to do it last year but our schedules were just way too booked up and we thought we were never going to pull it off but out of the blue, we found a two month window where we were able to do it. I was still not sure it was going to happen up until a couple of weeks ago when finally it all got locked in and we’re finally doing it! We’ve been talking about doing this for years. Finally, it’s happening!”

After The Superjesus ended, about ten years ago, Sarah released a solo album and then a single before moving to New York for a year and then living in London for a year and L.A. for a while. “I was just writing with different people and doing a lot of recording and I was doing lots of different types of music. I was doing rock; I was doing dance; I was doing hip hop; I was doing acoustic. I even had a job for a little while in Brooklyn as an in house guitar player for rap guys. These rappers would come in and these guys would look at me and go ‘McLeod! Riff!’ and I’d go ‘Right!’ and I’d come up with riffs on the spot and then the rappers would rap over it. I did that for about eight months. I love to throw myself into strange situations and be a better musician in the end.”

When she returned to Australia, Sarah toured with her acoustic guitar, playing solo gigs and continues to work as a solo artist and in other projects. “And then I put out an EP which was all 50s and 60s inspired because that’s mainly what I listen to at home, to be honest, rather than rock. I’m just totally into Motown and old 50s shit.”

The seeds for a Superjesus reformation were sown when the band’s drummer, who was living in Washington at the time, came back to Australia for a holiday. “We had a jam and it sounded cool.” One thing led to another and now, says Sarah, the band is working on a new record.

“At the moment, we’re still writing it,” she tells me. “We write and write and write and, because everyone’s in different places, (nobody is in the same city), we all write and then we give the songs to everybody and then the only songs that get recorded are the songs that everybody’s unanimous on, which is really harsh. If you’ve written something and everybody likes it except one person, then it’s on the cutting room floor. So it’s taken ages to get to the point where we all unanimously like the same song. Every time there’s (as we call it) four white lights then we record it, all individually. The drummer records his bit and sends it to the bass player; he records his bit and sends it to Tim and I; we record our bit and that’s how we’re building it so we’re building it without ever being in the same room. It works great. We’re looking at releasing a single before the Baby Animals tour and we’re looking at releasing an EP rather than a full album in the second half of the year.”

And will this record have the same sound as previous Superjesus records or can we expect a new direction from the band?

Sarah considers the question for a moment. “You know, I’ve been trying to work that out myself. I’ve been listening to our past records and, from Sumo to Jet Age to Rock Music, our sounds have changed drastically with each record. When I think of The Superjesus sound, it’s so different but I generally think of the first record as our flagship sound. I don’t look at ‘Gravity’ and think ‘That’s what The Superjesus sounds like.’ I’ll look at ‘Down Again’ or ‘Saturation’ from the first record and think ‘That’s what we sound like.’ I’m sort of going for those darker numbers but, every now and then, we write sort of a pop one which would sound well at home on Jet Age and it works really well so it’s hard to define exactly what The Superjesus sound is. I think when we all play together, whatever the sound is, it’s us because it’s us playing it.” She pauses then adds, with a laugh, “Luckily!”

 

by Sharyn Hamey

 

 Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2015. All rights reserved

For full details of the She Who Rocks Tour, including how to book tickets, click here

For details of all Sarahs’s other shows, click here

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