"Who you are, how you think, what you do, and how you react
– all of these things are all up to you."
Jack River! Where did the inspiration for the name come from?
When I was 16 my two best friends and I made up pirate names, mine was Jack River. The others are Simon Woodpecker and John Scarlett. We still use these names when we’re hanging out, though the others didn’t exactly decide to name their whole professional career after a pirate name.
We’d love to hear about your recent and ongoing involvement with School Strike for Climate and what it means to you being part of this movement?
It is the most important and largest movement in the world. Since I was very young I have been passionate about the environment, and then grew up to understand the incredibly urgent position we are in as a human race. The movement is being run and co-ordinated by young people, this is extremely important as they are the custodians of tomorrow, but even more significantly – they have been the most effective group in making a global impact with their voices.
Not only does backing this movement mean that I believe that we must listen to the world’s leading scientists, divest from fossil fuel based economy and make rapid changes in relation to our country’s current emissions – at the heart of it, I want my listeners to know how much I care about their own views, their families and their futures.
I believe that we’re all able to do our part for a cleaner and brighter future. Little actions make a big difference! What are your personal contributions towards a green future, that we can take on board?
Being an Artist (currently), all of my income streams from touring, in fact I am writing from a plane right now. I take an awfully huge amount of flights and I drive a lot (living in the country). Foremostly I want to let people know I am not perfect at all, and I believe we must all act – but we can’t cripple ourselves with the thought of perfection otherwise we will paralyse ourselves!
Little things I do include – limiting plastic and packaging wherever I go. I eat 95% vegetarian, and buy only local meat and fish when I know where it has come from. I try to source clothes that are made and grown in Australia, or use sustainable fabrics – not perfect here either, and still looking for an alternative to sequins! At home we have a worm farm, herb garden, almost a veggie garden and obviously a rain water tank – I wish we were further along but it’s a start!
On a broader level though, I am spending A LOT of time having meetings with all different people within culture, politics and the movement toward a green future, to understand how I can play the most effective role. This is something we can all do, no matter what industry we are in. It is a process and I don’t have the answers, but every conversation counts and builds toward the right course of action.
If you cant do the above (though everyone can haha), find your local go-getter and support them somehow. There is someone in every community in Australia that is driving this movement and this shift, like Shapes In The Sand, we just got to find them.
Growing up on the Mid-north coast, did you spend a lot of time outdoors? If so, did this give you a special appreciation for nature?
Yep, I spent most of my time outdoors. The ocean is my safe place, my daily go to, and I feel very strange if I have to go days without it. I appreciate nature’s seasons, the constant regeneration, the chaotic system that just looks after itself, the mess and order all at once. I have thought more about nature and her patterns than anything else. We as humans are also part of that – even though we feel so foreign sometimes (or maybe we are aliens), and I marvel at our own selves all day long too. Our eyes, our brain, babies growing inside my friends. It’s all incredibly magic.
The preview of your new EP ‘Stranger Heart’ has us all excited for its official launch on Feb 14. How long have you been working on this one, and can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind it? A few little hints?!
I have been working on this for quite some time, amongst the touring of Sugar Mountain and across a very full on few years. This EP for me is a kind of mark of lyrical and sonic authenticity. Even if I am the only one that understands, I needed to let myself know after a really busy few years that it’s ok to feel chaotic – have lots of different feelings happening at once, lots of different themes, and different sounds in my head. That they all fit together to be authentically me. This EP bends from death to love to #metoo, it ranges from slow folk to racing alt pop.. All in all, it is my stranger heart.
Whats one thing you love doing when you’re at home and not writing music?
I love taking my dog to the beach and literally swimming and playing around with sticks and just marvelling at tiny things on the beach or the movement of waves.
2020 feels like its going to be an exciting year for many of us. Whats next for Jack River in the new decade?
Yep it’s a big one! I want to make a completely self sustainable home, with a green house for veggie growing, solar panels and an electric car, find my role in the movement toward combatting climate change here in Australia, spend way more time with my friends and family, make my next album, write a book and keep understanding how to be a better human being haha.