RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AUSTRALIAN ARTIST JOHN LESLIE HULCOMBE
What got you into music?
Music has always been my passion and is what has sustained in through life. As an independent solo artist, I have managed to maintain control over the music I create. I do however highly rate the input of the talented group of musicians and production crew I work with including Peter Koppes. Peter was a long-time associate and founding member of iconic Australian band, “The Church”, who were recently included on Yardbarker entertainment’s list of top twenty-five multiple guitar rock bands of all time!
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
To be honest, I always cringe when asked what genre my music is. Many years ago, I sent a demo tape of to a big record company in New York. The reply I received was while the production was good my music fell between the cracks so they would struggle to find a market.
Give us a brief run down of your musical history?
Since returning to the music scene a little over two years ago I have released four tracks. They range from the country, rock, folk, “Town of Love” to the rocking “Born of the Fire”, to the pop-rock “Love Found a Way”, through to the dreamy psychedelic “Sanctuary”. See what I mean about genre?
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I try not to buy into politics to much but let my music do my talking. The pandemic has been extremely divisive particularly here in Australia and in any disagreement, I believe it good to give some consideration to the possibility you could be wrong.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Yes, a hot tub.
What useless party trick do you have?
Being a bit of an introvert, I have never really been one for party tricks.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I’m not sure about the most fun, but the most memorable was a gig with my old band “The Baptist” in an insalubrious part of Brisbane where I grew up. We were supporting a full-on punk band who were not initially too impressed by our grunge sound. It came to a head were one of the audiences through a beer bottle at me which unbeknown to me whizzed past my head. This was too much for the young karate expert on the door who tackle the assailant and dragged him by the hair all the way to the front door and dispensed with him.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I think my last answer covers that.
If you had to describe your music to an alien?
I would describe my last release “Sanctuary” as cosmic.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I have just received word the latest release, “Sanctuary” has been playlisted on 93.3 WMMR Philadelphia, which represents as far as I am aware the first time my music has been playlisted on a major commercial radio station. So, getting back to your question, I guess with “Sanctuary” the lyric content combined with the stunning instrumental track which features several great musicians including Jackie Barnes. Jackie is the son of and drummer for Jimmy Barnes, who according to “The Culture Trip”, is Australia’s biggest rock star.
Right now, what’s pissing you off?
As any musician will most likely tell you, the music business is full of highs and lows. I try to maintain a balance but not getting too excited by success or upset when things don’t go to plan.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Regrettably, as my return to music has coincided with covid lock downs I have not had the opportunity to take my new songs on the road. However, I am most excited to perform “Born of the Fire”, at 150bpm it’s got some real energy.
Can you tell us a little about your new single, “Sanctuary”?
The inspiration for “Sanctuary” came from an image taken of me many years ago on a boat as we travelled through the Indonesian Islands. I always thought it would make a great cover shot. However, I ended up commissioning a talented Brazilian artist to design the cover art and eventually the animated promotional video.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
The track is a psychoanalysis of the struggles of humane existence backed by a stunning instrumental track.
What was the recording process like?
The recording process took quite a few months and started with an informal meeting between key artists to work on the arrangement. It was at this meeting Peter demonstrated his guitar effects that produce orchestral and Gregorian Chanting, which became such a feature in the track. Also, at that meeting was Fijian/Australian soul performer, Andrea Kirwin, who plays guitar and provides harmonies. We recorded all the tracks at the Glasshouse Mountains Recording Studio which were then sent to Chicago based Jeffro Lackscheide who has mixed all my current tracks.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
I was apprehensive about producing a track that exceeded five minutes when the trend is for shorter and radio friendly tracks. Looking back now, the song would have lost its integrity if we had succumbed to the pressure. So, I guess staying true to the production process was the lesson.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
The track has exceeded expectations, so no nothing I would change.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
The plan for the rest of the year is to slowly build up a catalogue of recorded songs to combine into an album and rehearse with the intent of performing a live gig soon.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Don’t give up on your dreams and the feelings you have that make you special