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Jack Grace breaks down the influences on his debut album, 'Turn To Something You Know'

4 August 2021 | 3:25 pm | Parry Tritsiniotis

To get to know the record's sonic roots on a deeper level, we chat to Jack Grace about the some of the main inspirations behind the record. 

Newcastle Bred, Paris based Jack Grace recently released his elliptical debut album, ‘Turn To Something You Know’. Featuring previous singles, ‘A Ribbon’, ‘Redemption’, ‘Daydreaming’ and ‘The Pavement’ the record ties the new sonic world created by Grace into a personal, 11 track vignette into his life.

‘Turn To Something You Know’ was created with deep rooted inspiration combining with a new and refreshed context. Classic songwriting is inspired by life experience through the lens of growing up in small towns and outer suburbs, and his own experience of moving from the vast rural landscapes of Australia to the cultural metropolis of Paris, losing and ultimately rediscovering a sense of self. “Around the end of my first year in France I had a moment where I realised I had inadvertently ripped the rug out from under my identity,” he recalls. “I went about trying to rebuild it and I made this record while I did that.”

It’s on this album that Jack Grace manifests his experiences into a solely unique sound. The classically trained pianist cites a melting pot of influences, from American songwriting greats Dylan Springsteen and mavericks like David Byrne and Arthur Russell to early ‘00s post-rock and slow-core bands Low and The War on Drugs, via the electronic experimentalism of Massive Attack and Portishead and, more recently, Oneohtrix Point Never.

To get to know the record's sonic roots on a deeper level, we chat to Jack Grace about the some of the main inspirations behind the record.

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Cat Power - Manhattan

This is one of my favourite Cat Power tunes off one of my least favourite Cat Power albums…. but my least favourite Cat Power album is still in my top 50 so I guess that says something. I love everything about this -  but I guess if I had to single something out it would be that its rare to find a track that nails real and programmed drums this well and at the same time…. so much conviction…. so there’s that. 

TOE - The Latest Number

I toured with Toe in the U.S at the end of 2018.  They played this song every night.  I had this moment on that tour where i was standing out front with the crowd in Philly drinking a tinny and I realised I had to come clean with myself and say “hey you love post rock- you need to embrace that” - this was the track in their set that triggered it … it sent me down a rabbit hole of listening to a lot of things that I hadn’t listened to for maybe 10 years or so. That really set the album on a course. 

Tobias Jesso Jr  - Without You  

On first listen when I heard Tobias Jesso Jr I wasn’t very interested. I’ve never been one for records that throw back so overtly,  but on a 2nd and 3rd listen I got this nagging sense I was missing something. Theres this beautiful coldness and detachment in the voice. It’s these huge statements with some kinda strange indifference or in-authenticity . I was talking to my friend Simmo  (who mastered my album) about it and he said that it sounds to him like he’s singing a song that was meant for someone else. That’s one of those special observations that stick with you. I channeled that. 

Low - Breaker

For me Drums and Guns is one of the all time great albums. I love everything from the prod , mix , obviously  the songwriting, the way Alan and Mimi’s voices work together, I gel with Judeo-Christian imagery, the intensity and just the general weight of it. It’s slow core at its best.  It’s also another record that comes from a part of the world that seems to produce so much of my favourite music. After the last tour I did before covid hit I went and visited a friend up in the very north part of Wisconsin just across the lake from Duluth (where Low are from) and it hit me that I don’t just love the music from this part of the world but I love the people and the place and it felt strangely familiar. My Pop was a pastor in the Mid-West and i was bought up in rural NSW reading literature and hearing stories about life there but hadn’t really put two and two together until I was there in the flesh. 

Junior Boys - Over It 

I put on some Jesse Lanza one day when I was hanging with Hamish (who produced the album with me) and he suggested if I hadn’t already I should listen to Junior Boys. He’d heard some of my demos at that point and probably thought it made sense for me to check them out on a few levels.  This is one of those tracks that you hear that rides a line in a space that you haven’t really heard done exactly like that and it helps you join dots and ride your own line.