Interview: Jane Tyrrell – Echoes in the Aviary

The hauntingly ineffable, multifaceted artist, Jane Tyrrell, has just unleashed her powerhouse solo debut album, Echoes in the Aviary. She explores a multitude of genres in this generous 11 tracks, showcasing her diverse and dynamic finesse with each song as they depict mini nostalgic films. Happy had the pleasure of chatting to Jane about how the album came together and what you can expect to experience.

jane tyrrell

This peaceful portrait of Jane Tyrrell is by Melbourne Illustrator, Lucy Roleff who says, “Jane seems to have that elusive combination of soft feminity and down-to-business confidence. I tried to portray this through the illustration with pastel and monochrome hues.” Check out more of Lucy’s wonderful work or her website here or on her Facebook page here

An album of individual tracks, all precious in their own right, which then come together in this explosion of euphoric harmony. Jane Tyrrell will transport you to alternate worlds from the rapid rivers of Wild Waters, primeval tropics of Echoes in the Aviary, rocky subterranean soundscape of Ships, the passionate undergrounds of jazz with Among the Bells, an electronic space odyssey with Shapeshifters, the ominous realms of film noir with Transcendant, to the ambient purity of the symphony orchestra in Stolen Apples. Jane’s soulful warmth never fails to take centre stage against backdrops of intricate indie and electronic fusions.

Jane Tyrrell elevates above with her reputable calibre, yet remains grounded by her truest self. This is Jane Tyrrell’s moment to shine and be her own woman, and she does so with grace and humility- simply sublime. Be welcomed into each track with Jane’s untouchable, smoky, powerful vocals that will permeate your core with it’s endearing fortitude. Witness Jane’s flawless transformations along this filmic roller coaster of emotion – please hold on, enjoy the ride and do not attempt to exit until the very end…it’s for your own good.

Happy: Everyone’s been raving about your anticipated solo career and album. After 9 years in The Herd and collaborating with other artists, why now? What was the spark moment for you?

Jane: Yeah I joined in 2005…it just felt like the right time to be honest. I juggle two careers, so I’ve been incredibly busy on a pure practical level. I’ve studied for 6 years, whilst touring and writing albums with the The HerdUrthboy, Firekites and guesting on a million records. So there really hasn’t been a moment until 2012 where I had this ray of sunshine and this bit of space and I just thought, I’m just going to do it.

I started singing professionally when I was about 18 and I didn’t go “Ok, my goal is to put out an album next year”.  That’s never been the way I’ve approached music. I guess I just waited for that right feeling and it’s good to do it now because I’ve met all these crazy musicians, been collaborating and  working with all these amazing people and now I have this great crew of people keen to help and get involved. 18 –year- old Jane would’ve been busking on the corner, trampled and begging someone to help record her stuff.

Happy: How are you finding single life?

Jane: It’s early days I suppose. It’s kind of empowering. It’s nice to stand behind stuff you fought for and you put all your money and time into. I feel really proud about it. Yeah, it’s really empowering, it feels great!

Happy: So tell me  about the process behind producing the album.

Jane: So I decided I’d co-produce it myself because I had this sound and this look. I just had the whole kind of vision there, but I wasn’t sure exactly how it would sound. I thought I’d just get a whole heap of collaborators involved that I loved writing with or I loved their music and have  never written with them before. So I just started reaching out to them. Starting with my favourite Australian band, PVT (pronounced Pivot), they’re awesome, they just blow my mind. I’ve worked with them in different guises over the years.

The drummer (Laurence) out of that band is kind of like my muse. I watch him play and listen to the way he plays and it just inspires the crap out of me, ha ha, to put it frankly. So I reached out to him and said “Hey, I don’t know if you’ve produced an album before, whether you want to co-write or how you want to hit this, but I’d really love to write some songs with you,” and he was really keen and we just got the ball rolling. It was that organic and natural.

Then his brother came onboard, Richard, and he’s really fantastic. He’s a multi-instrumentalist and so between the three of us we ping-ponged some ideas and got some sketches going. We sketched the songs together while they were writing their album, and then they got really busy. So I thought the next stage would be finding an engineer to develop these sketches with, and maybe someone I could write some more songs with. I moved to Melbourne and hooked up with someone that was recommended, Dustin McLean– he’s done stuff with Axolotl, and Diafrix. So we basically structured the demos I’d done with the Pikes (PVT brothers) and developed them further and I wrote a couple of tracks with Dustin. Basically my goal was to keep writing demos until I had 25 or so that worked well together.

I toured with Paul Kelly and J. Walker in that period and I chatted to them about doing something for the album. I came across one of Paul’s songs, Stolen Apple, which is a really beautiful song he wrote in 2007 and I suggested I do a cover of that rather than starting from scratch… so that cover made the album. J. Walker ( Machine Translation) wrote the song Among The Bells in the album. So then there was only one left and that was Pip Norman (AKA Countbounce) and he’s done a lot with Urthboy over the years and he’s also got a project called 5THS.

We got together and I thought he’d be the last guy I’d be writing with because we had so many demos and he is so awesome that he ended up being the third co-producer. So between Dustin, Pip and myself we pulled together what we had, picked the best and Pip and I wrote a few tracks together as well and there it was, a body of work that kind of worked together and we were like, “Okay, I think we got it, let’s get a deadline going,” then we just banged it out in 6 months.

Happy: What was that vision you had at the very beginning?

Jane: I could see it, which doesn’t seem so weird to me because of my other career in design and fine arts. I could see what it would look like and for me it was a black and white film noir, 20s-50s that basically became vignettes, so like little mini films- soundtracks to these little mini films, that was my idea.

Happy: Yes I can see what you’ve tried to do, because each track is it’s own little gem and has it’s own different story to tell…you’ve translated your vision very well!

Jane: Oh thank you! I also like singing in different ways. I get really annoyed when people are like, “So what kind of singer are you?” That just seems so limiting to you as an artist- I like to sing operatic, in jazz, soul, blues, I’m up for everything. I wanted to try and showcase that across the album and be a different character for each song and have different instruments. Hopefully they all work together- I just wanted to show that dynamic approach.

Happy: What inspirations went into the album?

Jane: I guess thematically my inspiration was my life, so things that were going on for me, poems or sketches of works that I had built up over the years. Also Agatha Christie’s Poirot TV series- it’s kind of nerdy and an old folks show but also kind of awesome, ha ha.  I was also getting into Game Of Thrones and just watching movies and imagining how I could create a song that would not intrude on the visual, but also enhance the visuals- I guess the goal is for them to be evocative. I was listening to a lot of my favourites like Goldfrapp, Fever Ray, Lykki Li, Paul Kelly and heaps of stuff that got me into music like Massive Attack, Gorillaz, Radiohead and Tricky– heaps of those Bristol tunes. It’s that sort of stuff that got the juices flowing.

Happy: What’s the story behind the opening track Wild Waters?

Jane: I think Wild Waters is probably my favourite vocal performance as in I just kind of tapped into something I’d never really mastered before and that was just a really honest and heartfelt song. It’s a lovely story, it’s a love song. It was a special recording and a special writing session and was the last song to be written for the album, so I’m really proud of it.

It’s about how sometimes you feel like you’re just being thrown around a wild sea scenario and sometimes it’s the person or object or experience that all of a sudden makes the waters settle, almost instantaneously.

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 Happy: What do you want people to take away from the album?

Jane: I guess I’d like them to listen to it a couple of times, and try and absorb it and enjoy it for the multi-faceted beast that it is. I never set out a goal… I guess as a solo artist you hope to sing and somehow sum up something that someone’s feeling and for them to get some relief or enjoyment out of it.

Happy: So what are you listening to these days?

Jane: I’ve been listening a lot to Alex Cameron who’s this awesome artist from Sydney and he’s got this arty twist to him as he gets into character to perform. I’ve been completely obsessed with Big Scary and #1 Dads for sometime, like I literally know every single note and lyric and moment on their album.

Happy: What’s your mantra?

Jane: What I live by is that if you’re constantly curious you’ll always challenge yourself and kick goals. If you’re not curious or being challenged then shake things up and do something very different. That’s worked for me anyways.

Happy: And one last question, what makes you happy Jane?

Jane: I love food. Happiness and health, feeling good and healthy and good food, riding my bike, family and friends.

Jane Tyrrell has announced dates for her official launch with a promise of “something really special”.

Friday 5th DecemberNewtown Social Club 

Saturday 6th DecemberNorthcote Social Club



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