Interview: Jimmy Davis
Last week Krissy and Stevi managed to steal a couple of hours with singer songwriter, Jimmy Davis. Road tripping from Melbourne to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Jimmy was kind enough to make a pit stop at our office. We chatted about the essentials ranging from collaborating with Allday to penis whistles and Winnie The Pooh undies. We were also lucky enough to be exclusively serenaded by this talented guy which we captured for you.
Thanks for venturing on over to join us in the office today Jimmy!
Not at all, it’s great to be here.
Born and raised on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Sydney doesn’t get to see all that much of you. What has brought you to the big smoke?
I’ve actually been living in Melbourne for the last year and on Monday the lease ended. I guess everyone just kinda spider-webbed out. I’m back on the road … camping out in my car and playing shows as I make my way home to the Sunny Coast. I’m passing through Sydney as after winning Melbourne’s Fast Track Talent competition I was offered the supporting guest-spot for their Sydney finals.
Congratulations on winning the competition/support gig, we’re stoked to have you visit the city!
We understand you recently purchased a van… aside from being able to find easy parking in loading zones, how are you finding it? Any incidents?
Whoever designed Sydney’s roads obviously didn’t expect to have to accommodate for the mass population here, the congestion can get pretty crazy. None of the roads make sense also, I’m wary of making wrong turns as I know that once one has been made then it’s another half hour before I’m able to correct my mistake and begin re-routing. I’ve accidently driven up a couple of those islands that are undesirably positioned in the center of the road, but other than that I haven’t had any incidents…. Sydney-siders are unharmed, so far.
Navigating about Sydney isn’t easy, we’re proud of you Jimmy. Speaking of being proud, congratulations on being featured on Triple J’s Hottest 100!
Aw thanks. I was lucky enough to collab with Allday and record back-up vocals that featured in 2 of his tracks that made the countdown. It was a pretty cool experience but at the same time it’s not like I was the featured artist…
Allday seems like a pretty crazy character, how was it working alongside him?
I actually ended up meeting Allday by chance. NYE 2013/2014 I was drinking vodka in the park, alone… because I have a lot of friends, and Allday just happened to walk by. I had to glance at his FB profile quickly to confirm it was him before introducing myself. I walked up to him and said, “I’m a singer and I want to sing for you”. He suggested I send off some of my work and two weeks after having done so he hit me up to record some vocals.
Allday has always been really nice to me but I always seem to say weird things when I’m around him. We’re pretty different people but I definitely enjoyed working with Allday,
Your lyrics are rather emotive and insightful, do you write from your own experiences?
Absolutely, yep. Although sometimes I generate bizarre concepts that I can relate to. I have one song, for example, that’s about morphing into a fish and finding the ocean before swimming away – I’d relate that to feeling like an outcast and entering a new, care-free lifestyle. I like to incorporate fun concepts into my lyrics, but at the same time I like to write from the heart.
Has music always been a huge part in your life, or did your passion develop at a later stage in life?
Growing up my life was quite a lot different actually. It was very sport oriented. My whole childhood was consumed with soccer, rugby league, athletics, running, weights. Eventually I started to get pretty sick, I lost a lot of weight after contracting glandular fever and coming down with Whooping Cough so the whole sport thing began to die down.
I’ve always sung, but haven’t always taken it seriously. I took guitar hero seriously though! I got so good that I use to be able to take my wireless controller outside and play the most difficult songs from memory. One day I thought, ‘what the fuck am I doing?! Why am I spending hours of my time learning to push buttons on a plastic guitar when I could be playing the real thing?’ … and so I picked up a guitar and began to find a lot of enjoyment in creating music.
Wow, your influences are certainly unique … serious illness and guitar hero…
Haha, I guess it was a series of events. My best friend Travis could play well and he definitely influenced my decision to create music also.
‘What the fuck am I doing?! Why am I spending hours of my time learning to push buttons on a plastic guitar when I could be playing the real thing?’
How did you kick-start your career as a musician?
I use to busk a little but haven’t in a while. I use to make a couple of hundred bucks in an hour session but I’d be a little overwhelmed. I felt like a beggar rather than a musician. Busking, to me, contained a charity-case vibe, I didn’t like the feeling. My first performance was actually an open mic night and even until today I love my open mic sessions.
Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
I have a favourite pair of Winnie The Pooh undies. I also have bright orange, velvet pants that are fun to wear. If I’m feeling nervous I dance a fool to make myself laugh and loosen myself up.
Tell us of a weird experience you’ve encountered while performing live?
Well, I was walking along Noosa beach, guitar in hand in and passed these girls celebrating a hens night and they were like “Music boy, come here and play some songs”, and so I did. Little virgin Jimmy had to play songs about penises in front of girls in their late twenties who were all blowing on penis-shaped whistles. It was quite intimidating. So much sex and I had no idea what it was all about!
If you weren’t playing music, what would you be doing?
I probably would have stayed with sport, I enjoyed rugby… I was an angry little kid so I enjoyed fucking people up. I have always loved writing though; maybe I would have continued poetry in a way. I like skating and motocross too, I do a lot of random little things… could have even ended up on a farm as I use to ride horses as well. I’ve studied sound engineering, I’d probably be doing sound and lighting for musicians and working in that field. I’d probably still be in the industry.
Multi-talented hey, can’t go wrong with a back-up plan as extensive as yours! What can we expect from you next Jimmy?
Since I’ve been in Sydney I’ve had a couple of meetings and I’ve actually been given one of the most difficult choices I’ve had in my career. I’m working with an incredible manager and he’s trying to pitch this new, risky idea to me which is a little out of my comfort zone. I’m in contact with another manager who’s offering contradictory advice and suggesting an alternate path. I need to consider the audience I’m looking to appeal to and make my decision carefully. Two opportunities, both are good and both have equal opportunity and drawbacks. I’m at a crossroad right now. Apart from that … keep writing, I’m always writing new material. I’d like to release an album this year. 2015 will be interesting; I don’t really know what will happen. I wouldn’t mind getting a band together this year.
I can play triangle!
I’ll consider allowing you a few solos, perhaps.
We can discuss it off record, haha. Thanks for joining us today Jimmy – safe journey to QLD tonight!
Thanks for having me!