INTERVIEW: Jockstrap | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Jockstrap’s I Love You Jennifer B may well be the greatest pop album of 2022, but it’s also much more than that. Between the creative force of multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Georgia Ellery and the phenomenal production of Taylor Skye, the expansive and elaborate record is a genre-bending extravaganza that reconstructs pop formulas beautifully. As one of the year’s most inventive and lavishly uninhibited projects, Jennifer B touches on a plethora of sounds, ideas and emotions, stringing these worlds together, making something utterly human. 

Although they’d been working together since 2016, the album has been a long time coming, and it was largely put together in Skye’s bedroom, he reflects: “I think neither of us see ourselves working better with an audience or for an audience. We bring what we can separately, we’re both tenacious drafters and re-drafters and the process itself is very reflective. I tend to dive deep into myself, but with Georgia, it’s always just the two of us.” 

Ellery, whose wonderfully delicate voice guides us through lyrics touching on sexuality, love and identity, uses the lyrics of Jennifer B to “express myself in ways I don’t in real life.” Quipping simply: “I like music, so it’s a nice way to format those emotions.”

It’s clear that both artists love music, and the album is a glorious celebration of sound. The wild and eclectic myriad of influence that floods the album never dilutes the passionate purity at its core, as Skye concedes: “I do it regardless of how I feel, realistically I don’t always know what’s happening when I make music, it’s just fun. It’s  just happy.”

Every human has arcs of ups, downs and vulnerability – I like to hunt for that in my music. We’re led a lot by our emotions

Happiness is the core of Jennifer B, despite the emotional journey it takes to get there. “We’re both different people, but artistically we both make sure what we have to say is on the music.” Ellery explains. “Every human has arcs of ups, downs and vulnerability – I like to hunt for that in my music. We’re led a lot by our emotions, we make emotional music, we like music that stirs something, as that means it’s connecting.” 

And while Jennifer B undeniably connects across  a spectrum of emotion, at its heart it’s an elated record brimming with joy. Skye confesses: “When you look at ABBA or Stevie Wonder, everyone gets it. I sometimes get embarrassed admitting to liking the pretentious, experimental stuff, it can be bullshit. When music is heartfelt, happy and good, it’s untouchable.”

Ellery explains that her vivid writing drawing heavily from the works of Kathy Acker and Maggie Nelson: “It’s not just the openness, but the vulgarity of it all. Their violently unapologetic writing is so vivid, visual and visceral, it’s progressive and liberating, allowing me to connect to my sexuality. I think I added that to the album, as subtle as it may be.” 

To counter the brash influence, Skye talks of the films of Matthew Barney. “I’m drawn to anything that thinks like a baby, I’m constantly trying to get back to that childlike mindset. I like something  that’s adult in its construction, performance and execution, but is childish and wanderlust in its conception. Stravinsky’s music comes to mind there too.”  

The duo’s combination of genuine excitement, palpable storytelling and meticulous odysseys into unbelievable soundscapes truly capture the heart of their friendship. 

Jockstrap play The Cluny, Newcastle on Thursday 9th February.


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