THE EPONYMOUS DEBUT ALBUM FROM
JESSAMINE HAS BEEN THREE YEARS
IN THE MAKING, BUT AS THE BAND’S
NAMESAKE AND FOUNDER JESSAMINE
FINLAYSON TELLS MICHAEL SMITH,
SHE’S LEARNT A LOT ALONG THE WAY.
It seems incredible to think that Nitocris broke up
a decade ago, but, apart from a one-off reunion
gig in September 2009, they decided to call it a
day in 2001. Lead guitarist Jessamine Finlayson went
on to form The Fyrefl ies (which also initially featured
Nitocris drummer Andrea Stanway) but, after nearly five years together, that ended and Finlayson strapped on an acoustic guitar and hit the road as a solo singer/ songwriter.
“It was good not to have the pressure of a band for a while,” Finlayson admits. “It was nice to just plug in and play, but it kinda got a bit tedious and a bit lonely after a while, so I got a band together and they’re all really good friends of mine and it’s really good.”
On the kit is former Fyreflies colleague, drummer Nerida Wu, but the self-titled album that the band, Jessamine, has just released began long before there was even a band, when Finlayson took up an offer from engineer/producer Tim Powles, drummer with the church. “I’d met him a few years ago and he’d said he’d be interested in doing something, but then I’d gone into Fyreflies and when I decided to go solo I just rang him and he said yes,” she laughs. “He’s a busy man, so I was lucky to have him for most of the album. Tim played on it too and a friend of his, Andy Sharpe, played bass. I had the songs – some of them were old, some of them were new – and then we kind of reworked them a lot while we were in the studio. They sound completely different, which is cool and we had the time to kind of play with things and go away and come back. It was very different from the usual set-up, bash out some songs and leave. I learnt a lot from Tim – he’s very educational.”
In the end though, only eight of the dozen songs on the album were recorded at SpaceJunk. And that was adding to the three years it took to put the debut album together, even with the luxury of all that extra time Finlayson was able to have in the studio because it was Powles’.
“When I got the band together, we went back into a different studio and just did four songs live to include on the record. That was just a time thing for Tim – it’s not always easy to get everybody when you want them. The band that I’ve got now are also starting to contributewriting as well, so it’s not as much pressure, which is good.” Joining Finlayson and Wu in Jessamine are guitarist Damien Foxton and bass player Ben Sherwood. They’ve been gigging around since November last year, so it was important to have something that represented them on the record. As to the songs, there are a few key words that crop up in quite a few of the songs – lies, enemies, days, weeks and night.
“I know I know I know, I’m actually trying to steer away from that word, lies. I think it’s just good to rhyme,” Finlayson admits, collapsing into her hearty, guttural rock’n’roll laugh. “Also I’d had a bit of a tough time for a while there as well and probably poured a lot of it outon the songs, but I know the lies thing comes up quite a lot. We have a bit of a joke about that so I’m actually trying to stay away from that at the moment [laughs],trying to find a new moniker.”
(source => Drum Media Sydney, 30/08/11, pg44.)