Transforming into a three-piece band with Alyx Dennison and Bonnie Stewart, Jess is thrilled to share her recent EP with new audiences. “I was in Brisbane recently playing solo [for the Songs That Made Me project], so coming back with a band is really exciting.”
With her Brisbane show at the Powerhouse's free Livespark series, Jess is excited to perform. “I love the idea of performing at a monthly, free concert. The music is upbeat and I think it will be really fun playing on a sunny afternoon.”
As Jess is a new mum, the trio have been slowly touring the east coast of Australia. “I have a little bubba, so the starting and stopping means that I can focus a bit more on each location,” Jess says.
‘Dragon Year’ focuses on three specific themes: motherhood, conception and pregnancy. “I started writing it when I was pregnant with my first child and finished it when I was pregnant with my second one,” Jess says.
“The song ‘There Are Voices Out There’ is written from the perspective of a foetus and is sort of from a sci-fi, weird aspect.”
Jess collaborated with Alyx and Bree van Reyk (who is also a new mum) on the EP. “Alyx had a really big part of the recording in terms of collaborating and creating music and Bree was heavily involved as a creative producer.”
While producing the EP, Jess was faced with a number of challenges including raising funds. “I came across many, many challenges. I ended up crowdfunding through a campaign that was really successful, but hard work.”
Jess recently performed beside Deborah Conway, Clare Bowditch and Hannah Macklin as part of the Queensland Music Festival for the Songs That Made Me project. “That was amazing,” Jess says.
“That was probably one of the best tours I have ever done. It was inspiring working with them and seeing their incredible stage craft.”
With almost 20 years experience in the industry, Jess always wanted to be an artist. “I wanted to sing even when I was very little.
"In high school I was interested in blues and jazz and I started playing the electric guitar.
“I went to jazz school, but I didn’t start singing again professionally until I was in my mid 20s.”
Jess describes Pheno's sound as ‘art-pop’, completed with hooks and catchy riffs with a touch of experimentation. “I really want to make music that makes people dance.”
As part of her upcoming trip to Queensland, Jess will also visit Eumundi (Sunshine Coast) to present a free workshop for kids. “Katie Noonan has this course called The Eumundi School Of Rock. I will be going to present a little, free workshop for kids.”
Pheno ShowsSat 25 Nov – Imperial Hotel (Sunshine Coast)
Sun 26 Nov – Brisbane Powerhouse
Sat 9 Dec – The Street Theatre (Canberra)