What is your name and role within Milk Buttons?
My name is Jackson and I sing and play guitar.
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I am based in Collingwood, Melbourne. The Melbourne music scene is awesome! There is a heap of amazing venues. People are generally so supportive of all kinds of music. One of the things I like about Melb is people are pretty open to all kinds of music, and all kinds of experiences. It’s a cool thing.
You’re both based in two different cities, how do you manage to work and collaborate with each other?
I suppose it adds some challenges. It would probably be a lot easier if we were in the same city. We have our own lives and stuff going on and Milk Buttons is something we are both pretty patient with. So we just do trips between our cities when we can and when it works for both of us. It just means when we get together we have to make the most of our time together and we can’t really stuff around. Plus, the internet and file sharing has given us options too.
How did Milk Buttons form?
Cameron and I have been friends since we were teenagers. To be honest, I have lost count of all bands we have started with other friends over the years. For whatever reason they would kind of just fizzle out. I think at some point we decided to do it just as a duo and just get our friends to help out live and yeah, that is Milk Buttons.
How did you first start playing music together?
The first time I remember playing music with Cam…We were the last two up at some party, sitting, playing, around a smoky barrel. I think I may have taught him how to play some Beatles tunes. Then years down the track, Cam would teach me cool stuff like diminished chords and how to count in weird time signatures.
Between the two of you in prior projects you’ve played
festivals such as Splendour In The Grass, Groovin’ The Moo and Falls Festival; supported the likes of Kimbra, Father John Misty, Big Scary, Bernard Fanning, The Besnard Lakes and Tortoise. How has all this experience helped with now being in Milk Buttons?
In my old band ’Mosman Alder’ I had the opportunity to play with some cool acts and meet some amazing people. I suppose I have learned not to take myself too seriously… and just appreciate whatever comes. I did learn at falls festival to always have spare daisy chains for guitar pedals. My guitar kept cutting out when we played that year. It was a very stressful situation.
Your second EP will be released at the start of 2019, please tell us about what has influenced the sound and songwriting for this EP so far:
We had actually written a bunch of songs with the intention of making an album. These songs were much more laid back and gentle. We had a couple of rock songs that didn’t really fit with the other tracks so we decided to kind of build an ep around their sound. I suppose musically we were influenced by bands like Autolux, MBV, Blonde Redhead and Neil Young’s stuff with the crazy horses.
How do you usually go about writing music?
Songs usually start with me alone on an acoustic. I just muck around until a chord progression stands out, or a riff, and then usually the melody follows. From there, I try to pull a narrative from whatever feeling the music is giving me, it might remind me of someone, or a place, a memory, or something completely weird. I will tend to record it on my phone/comp and come back to it later when I have a fresh perspective. The arrangement usually takes a really long time and I can get very confused. With Milk Buttons, I often get Cam to help me out with the arrangement, or if I get too confused I will just give it to him to finish. He has a good ear for arrangement and composition.
Who or what influences your sound and songwriting?
I guess it depends on the song. Some songs have been very explicitly influenced by a particular artist or sound and sometimes it’s a little more subconscious or vague where it’s coming from. I have always liked artists that draw inspiration from a lot of different places and aren’t afraid to change it up. So in that sense, I have respect for artists like Beck, Alice Coltrane or Kendrick Lamar.
What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018 going into 2019?
We have a couple gigs come December for our new single ‘Some Impression’. For 2019, We will release the EP and do an Australian tour.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I recently purchased Bill Evans album moon beams. It’s been what I have been putting on to unwind and its super lovely. Other than that, I have been listening to ‘Nas’ in anticipation for the show next year with Lauryn Hill.
What do you like to do away from music?
I am an Art and Music teacher at high school and its something really enjoy. Lately, I have been getting back into painting in a big way too. I love art galleries, it’s probably where I feel most at home and often most inspired.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
There’s a bar down the road from where I live in Collingwood. It’s called Lulie. Its super chill and they have nice pizza, free pool and play old rock n roll. So, I hang there every now and then.