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She Walks Through Dusk and Jacob Vincent interview each other

Firstly, if you haven’t already listened to Anything But This Again, the new single from She Walks Through Dusk, stop what you’re doing and go listen to it now. The track is another brilliant offering from the Hobart outfit, further building upon their dark-but-infectious brand of music.

Fresh off the new single’s release, they caught up with Brisbane-based singer-songwriter Jacob Vincent to chat all about new material, their respective creative processes, and heaps more.

With a new single fresh under their belts, She Walks Through Dusk caught up with singer-songwriter Jacob Vincent for a chat.

Jacob Vincent interviews She Walks Through Dusk

JACOB: She Walks Through Dusk have just started to release music, but formed back in 2018. How did the band come together?

AMELIA: It’s all thanks to Imogen actually! She and I have been friends since we were kids, and we always used to fantasise about performing together. Fast forward 15 years or so, Imogen asked me if I would accompany her on piano at a singer-songwriter session in Hobart. After doing a few more gigs as a duo we decided that the songs she wrote would benefit from heavier backing, so Imogen asked a few of her friends (including our drummer, James) to join us and form a band. Over time our lineup has evolved to reflect our sound and direction, with Kat joining on guitar and Ryan on bass. I feel like we have now really found our groove, and we are ready to move forward as a band and start to share our music with the world in the way that it was originally envisaged.

JACOB: With plenty of gigs over the past couple of years is there one that stands out?

AMELIA: My favourite gig would actually be our single launch for Anything But This Again. We performed at the Brisbane (a venue in Hobart known for local live music) and the energy was really great. Our last single launch gig (for If You’re Silent) had to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions, so it was great to be able to get out there and perform in front of a live audience again.

IMOGEN: I agree. We’re much more comfortable performing on stage now than when we first started, so our most recent gigs have felt the best. Although I guess you could say the first-ever gig we played as a duo, where I forgot the words and Amelia forgot her solo, stands out in its own way.

JACOB: I hear sensibilities reminiscent of Queen and ABBA on the new single Anything But This Again. Coupled with the heavier instrumentation similar to contemporary Australian acts such as Stonefield and Waax. It’s a really unique sound you’ve created. What artists would you say have most informed in the band’s sound?

IMOGEN: We all love Queen, so I’d definitely count them among our biggest influences. We actually do a cover of I Want to Break Free at our live gigs, which is always a blast. Personally, I’m a big fan of 80s rock and hair metal like Guns N’ Roses, Alice Cooper, and Bon Jovi, and even pop acts like Michael Jackson, so I reckon there’s a strong influence there. And there’s a lot of awesome female-fronted rock acts doing stuff right now, Australian ones like you mentioned and international ones like The Pretty Reckless and Diamante. They’re probably what I gravitate to most nowadays.

AMELIA: I guess all that I would add is that when we decided to incorporate the synth into this track, I felt quite emboldened by the current resurgence in 80s inspired pop music. Mainstream artist like The Weeknd and Dua Lipa are really leaning into that sound at the moment, which certainly inspired me to play around with it a lot more.

JACOB: Coming from a very solitary songwriting process myself, I’m always interested to hear how a band approaches their craft collaboratively. With multiple songwriters in the band, how does a She Walks Through Dusk song come together?

IMOGEN: It’s usually a solitary process for me as well. Most of the time I’ll write the lyrics, melody, and chord progression for the song on my own and bring it to the rest of the band once it’s done. Then we work on the arrangement together. Sometimes I’ll already have a strong vision of how I want the instrumentation, but other times I’ll have no idea. That was the case for Anything But This Again. We ended up completely reworking it multiple times before Amelia came up with the synth line, and then we built the rest of the arrangement around that. I think it ties the song together really well. Recently, we have been trying to do some group songwriting sessions, where one person has a small fragment and we build off that. We haven’t quite mastered the art of it yet, and two of our band members speak English as a second language, so lyrics can be a bit tricky, but we’re slowly getting better at it. We expect future releases will probably feature a lot more co-writes.

JACOB: It’s a really interesting time to be in the music industry with limited opportunities to play live at the moment, but it must feel great to still be releasing new music. Is there an EP or album on the horizon?

IMOGEN: There is! We’re currently working on our debut album, which we’re hoping to release towards the end of the year. It’s going to be a loose concept album that tells a coming of age story. Like our first two singles, the album will deal with some heavy themes, but ultimately, it’s a story about healing. Before then, we’re also planning on releasing two more singles and hopefully our first music video. So there’s lots to be excited about.

She Walks Through Dusk interviews Jacob Vincent

IMOGEN: Do you want to start by talking about some of your musical influences? As an alt-rock band, we like to take ideas and inspiration from quite a diverse pool of artists, and I’d imagine that as an alt-country artist, you’d be the same. In addition to country artists, are there any out-of-genre influences that you think help define your sound?

JACOB: I’ll listen to anything once. There’s lots of Dylan, Springsteen, and Neil Young listening going on, probably much like the majority of singer-songwriters. I certainly see my music as not reinventing the wheel, it’s really just three chords and a slightly exaggerated version of the truth. But there are a few songs in the pipeline that I consider pretty genre-less, and there is some homage to the likes of The Black Keys and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. I just love ballads and guitars really.

AMELIA: You mentioned before that songwriting is a solitary process for you, can you expand more upon how you go about it?

JACOB: Sure. Personally I just try to write something every day. Often it’s not a full song or even a song at all just something to ‘wake up my writer’ and I’ll go through my day seeing things through a bit different of a lens, and voice memos are my best friend when I’m out and about and a guitar isn’t close by. The songs I consider ‘good’ always come at unpredictable times, but I guess my approach is just to show up to write every day, really embodying the romanticised idea of a writer. I’ve recently expanded on my home recording set up so I’m playing and engineering all the instruments as I’m writing and demoing new songs. That’s been a fun new challenge too, upskilling in that now hopefully leads to some self-production further down the track.

AMELIA: Whilst your previous single, Emily, is a touching tribute to your late great-grandmother, your latest release, Maybe In Ten Years, paints a raw picture of a relationship falling apart prematurely. What role does music play for you when it comes to processing such personal moments in your life?

JACOB: I definitely find songwriting to be an incredibly cathartic and mindful exercise. I wrote Emily before I’d ever considered recording or releasing music, and truly feel I’m engaging in the art form of songwriting for me alone. The songs I am releasing now were recorded almost a year ago, and for the first time in my life, I felt a bunch of anxiety around whether or not to release them. I didn’t want the reception to them to have an impact on my happiness and really be at peace with the possibility you can invest a lot of emotion, time, and money into something and it wouldn’t define my happiness or the intrinsic reward of completing a project. So I’ve consciously taken all the pressure off myself and the music. I’ve got no publicist, no management, my girlfriend has taken all the photos, I’ve done all the cover art, and social media is run by myself. I just want to be a lifelong songwriter really, and if people listen that’s awesome, but if no one does it won’t keep me from writing a bunch more songs.

IMOGEN: What would you say has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?

JACOB: It’s been a very brief career so far, with a total of one gig with a full band which was a bunch of fun. But I really put boots on the ground and played lots of open mics last year. Almost religiously I’d go to two a week, playing whatever original songs were being workshopped and had a large rotating list of covers. Recording at Kasey Chambers’ The Rabbit Hole Recording Studio on the NSW Central Coast was a great experience. An artist you’ve listened to and been a fan of for 20 years, sitting down for lunch or dinner with you for a week is pretty surreal, and the people we had in for those sessions really made it a great first taste of being in a studio environment.

IMOGEN: You’ve got an EP, Cold & Blue, coming out early next month, can you tell us what we can expect from that?

JACOB: Yep Cold & Blue is out August 7. The title track is a pretty sparse acoustic ballad, that we recorded by candlelight after a few drinks. I really wanted to have a loose and organic vibe to the sessions and think that shines through across all the tracks. Quietly there is a second EP to be released from the same sessions. It’s a lot wilder and louder than the first one, so I’m pretty excited to see how that is received. Plenty of music to come in the next few months!

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July 16, 2020