I think I’m turning Japam-ese, I really think so! Originally forming in 2014, Japam is a local heavy rock band from Adelaide. Having previously received some attention via Triple J Unearthed for earlier demo tracks, the boys were busy over the past few weeks preparing for the release of their new single Wolf Harass, which debuted on Sunday.
Hard work, lengthy jam sessions and countless sleepless nights has led to their first gig two weeks ago and exciting plans for a possible 7 track mini-album in the near future. The band is made up of Ryan Lucivero on vocals, Ben Whitehorn on bass, Andreas Murphy and Seb Hudson on guitar and Jack Thomson on drums.
Nicole took a trip to Japam and grilled guitarist, Seb on writing music, expressing emotions and why he loves what he’s doing.
How did you guys get started?
Basically I wrote heaps of songs over the years and have always been a ‘bedroom guitarist’. I used to post my songs online and my friends would often suggest I start a band. Ryan needed a backup guitarist for a gig and I filled in and it worked really well. Then Ryan suggested Jack as our drummer and Ben as our bassist. It was originally just the four of us and we needed a second guitarist to add layers to our music. Through trial and error Andreas came along and fitted in perfectly.
Tell us about your new single!
Wolf Harass is a song I wrote for myself 8 years ago when I was going through my metal-loving phase. It’s definitely one of the heavier songs we’ve played. Ryan found it right at the start while digging through my SoundCloud and he wanted to use it. I was hesitant but when he showed me his vocal demo it sounded so good.
From what I understand the song is lyrically inspired by a confronting, yet profound psychedelic experience which led our singer Ryan on a path of greater understanding and helped him overcome some demons. We’re all big supporters of Mental Health Week, which ends on Saturday, having either gone through tough times ourselves or know people who have. I personally hit the bottle too hard for a while instead of confronting some things that were wrong, so to hear Ryan put that into a song was really moving for me.
We put the video up on Facebook to announce we were playing our first show but people thought we were releasing the song and it got heaps of views, so we wanted to jump on it while it was hot. We headed straight to the studio and released it as fast as we could. I’m really stoked with it. We are getting really good reviews and I’m totally overwhelmed by all the support from our fans.
The music video is very unexpected. Have you received any feedback about it?
We only did one take each and took all the gold out of it to make the music video. All these people were like “I don’t like metal but I really like that video”. It takes so much attention away from the song, it almost makes the heaviness kind of happy and it sums up us as a band. It’s exactly what you’d get at one of our shows!
What drives the band?
A moment that stands out for me is seeing Jimmy Eat World at Soundwave about 5 years ago. They were playing a soft acoustic rock song and I turned around and there were thousands of people behind me and girls were crying. It was a surreal moment where I realised there was one guy on stage who had written this song and he was affecting that many people. If I don’t make a cent off writing music but I can get through to a few people and let them know that in their toughest time, someone else has felt the same before and we are all in this together, that there is a bigger payoff than making any real cash off this.
Japam isn’t 5 guys. Japam is us and every other person who has helped and listens to us. If you come to the show we try and get in the crowd with you, we throw around beach balls and we act like dickheads. It’s not just us on the stage; it’s everyone there. We are a massive family!
What inspires you when writing music?
Ryan usually writes the lyrics based on the music I give him. For me it comes from a gut feeling. I’ll sit down sometimes to write and they’ll be nothing because I’m probably not feeling anything. It always comes from some kind of emotion and I think that’s our strong point in writing because we are a very emotional band. It can be tricky sometimes as a band to deal with each other because we are so headstrong and passionate about what we are doing.
What do you want Japam to bring to the ‘heavy rock table’?
Metal is getting boring. It’s all been done before. There’s some very innovative bands who are doing heaps of cool stuff with shredding and time signatures but I still think it’s kind of boring. So I wanted to take it back a step and start bringing melody back into it and big heavy riffs. We’re heavy rock, not heavy metal and we are really pushing our own sound and trying to bring something back that people have been missing. It was a cooler time when rock music was all over the radio in the early 90s. I want to bring back that feeling and remind people that people still write really great passionate music with heaps of feeling!
Where has Japam played gigs so far?
We played our first gig Saturday 26 September at Enigma in the City with Colibrium, Favour The Brave, Skythief and Flower Punch. I was overwhelmed with the massive amount of support from fans! People bought shirts and everyone got into it! It was so bright and loud that I couldn’t see past the stage or hear a thing. So when we finished playing our first song all I heard was silence and I got so scared and nervous that nobody liked any of our songs. I spent the rest of the gig trying to get everything right and put on an impressive show. When I saw videos that people had taken everyone was bobbing their heads and yelling and I had no idea.
3 words that you think sum up Japam…
Lads – we’re just a group of lads and we love what we do and we’re doing it for all the other lads out there. Passionate – we work so hard. Stupid (laughs).
What’s the best quality about each band member?
I love working with Ryan because he is on the same page as me with the music and creative side of things. I can give him a demo and I don’t need to explain anything to him about what I want and he will give me something back and it just works! That guy just gets it! He’s a really good writer. He’s also seriously organised. Both Ryan and Jack organise bookings, shows and the press.
Jack is a phenomenal musician in his own right. He’s been playing on the Adelaide music scene for about 10 years now. He loves drumming and he’s so passionate.
Whitey is the coolest guy I’ve ever met in my life. He brings so much energy to the band and he moves and captures the crowd.
Dre is so happy and chilled out. He’s passionate and he can shred. He’s a way better guitarist than me, almost to the point of jealousy (laughs). He basically has his own cult following from the other bands he’s been in. He was in a band called Soft White Machine once and they toured with Birds of Tokyo!
What would they say about you?
I can be a little bit of a dictator only because I am so strong in my mind and go with my gut with what the song needs. But I hope they think I’m a nice guy and not too difficult to work with.
Any band perks?
Just being in a band is sick. It’s so much fun and it’s hard work. Anyone who thinks that you just start a band and everything falls into your lap is totally wrong. There has been so much work going into this in the past year. We only popped up now but we’ve put a year and half worth of work to get to where we are now. But the payoff is massive! You do it because you love what your doing. You do it as much for yourself as for everyone else.
Where’s the next gig?
We are planning some rural shows soon, but our next Adelaide show is at Crown and Sceptre Hotel on King William Street on 12 December with a few other local bands.
Where can we find your music?
You can download our music for free on japamband.bandcamp.com/. The music video for Wolf Harass can be found at http://bit.ly/1jFefID.
Like us on Facebook to keep up to date with gigs and music releases: facebook.com/japamband.
Japam would like to thank the overwhelming support they have received from fans during the release of their debut single. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Image credit: Japam Facebook Page.