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Sloan Peterson talks new EP, skateboarding and nature

Dan Webb
Sloan Peterson is the moniker of Sydney songstress Joe Jackson. She made waves in the local scene last year with the release of her debut EP Midnight Love. Now, as she reveals to Sungenre, she’s poised for a follow up.

You have an obvious love of The Beatles. Does their influence on your music apply solely to songwriting, or does it extend as far as trying to recreate similar production techniques in the studio?
I think with this upcoming EP we’ve definitely taken a new turn. I worked with Chris Collins who also did my first EP and also another guy called Tom (Rawle) who was in Papa vs Pretty. And so I always wanted to recreate that on the first EP but I think I was still new to music and I wasn’t sure how to exactly I guess make that a bit of a production value vibe as well – it was definitely more songwriting. Whereas with my new EP I’ve kind of been a bit more elaborate with it, with the mixing and whatnot. We actually even used, especially in “Our Love”, the Mellotron samples that The Beatles actually used in the Sgt. Pepper album. So it’s like samples or plugins from the actual strings from that album. So there’s definitely in the second EP a lot more production value of The Beatles in that. And definitely in my songwriting, like I find myself being stuck in this formula of I guess verse, chorus – always trying to keep something a little bit catchy in it. And simplicity. I like the idea that most of the songs are about love and whatnot. And I think I definitely kind of stick to that. There’s so many other influences as well, that’s probably just my strongest influence, that’s for sure.

I find myself being stuck in this formula of I guess verse, chorus – always trying to keep something a little bit catchy in it.

You mentioned that there’s an EP coming out. When are we likely to see that?
I don’t know yet! That’s a big surprise to me. So we just released “Our Love” recently which has been really amazing and we’ve had some really good feedback. And I actually have done a part two video clip of that called New Direction. So we made the part two video clip. We’re thinking maybe of releasing that straight after the tour in October. And then I’ve got seven songs, so a seven track EP. We haven’t spoken about a release date yet but I’m assuming probably next year. Start the year off with a bit of a bang in terms of getting that out. We did have a chat about maybe releasing singles and keep doing that a little bit, because every song we kind of loved so much we couldn’t decide what we wanted to feature. So that’s something that’s definitely still in discussion.

It’s interesting that you’re releasing EPs rather than working towards a full-length album. How relevant, if at all, are full-length albums in the digital age in your opinion?
Well we were going to do an album, like I had enough material. But I think we’re thinking more of a strategic plan of you know, these days, like society – we’ve got such short attention spans, it’s really hard to engage people, even with EPs a lot of the time. Obviously that may reflect also on the band maybe (laughs). But a short EP just seems to be a little bit more easier and fun in a way. It keeps things a bit more interesting. I feel like I’m growing within each time I’m writing my music. And so when I had started this EP there were still songs on that that were kind of from my past writing experience mixed in with a couple of my newer songs. But then I had some other songs that were just so different that we were like, you know what, let’s keep all of these songs that are a bit similar in one group as a seven track EP and then we’ll work on an album after that one. Because my last EP was called Midnight Love, we actually have that song, “Midnight Love”, on this EP. So we’re going to do a volume one, volume two kind of vibe.

I feel like I’m growing within each time I’m writing my music.

Now as a big Beatles fan, be honest. How many times have you watched Paul McCartney’s Carpool Karaoke?
I haven’t actually watched it ever (laughs). There goes your theory, big Beatles fan over here (laughs). But Paul McCartney karaoke – I haven’t even seen this! I’m not very good on Facebook or anything like that. I’m really bad with like keeping up on Facebook. So if there was anything that was on that, I probably would have missed it completely (laughs).

You recently tweeted that retail therapy really works for you.
(Laughs) I’m glad someone’s reading my tweets. I find this thing kinda dangerous in a way. I just write things so absent-mindedly, cos otherwise I won’t write anything. There’ll be like a year will go by and I won’t write anything. And then I’m like ‘oh that’s right, I’ve got to do that thing again’. And so then I’ll just kind of have all these thoughts and anything that pops into my head I’ll just end up writing it. But it’s true! It’s a guilty pleasure. But I’d had a really kind of hard day at the time. I tried taking myself out to nature and I went on this big hike and went skating for a while, and then I went to the shops to get a coffee or something. And then next minute, like six hours had gone by and I’d forgotten every single problem I’d ever had in my life, was down about $200 and I didn’t even care. I was like ‘this is just working, this is working for me’ (laughs). Oh god.

Do you find upon reflection that you’re most happy in the moment of transaction, rather than during the consumption of the goods you purchase?
No. I think the transaction is probably more so the painful part (laughs).

I understand how gruelling touring can often be. Besides retail therapy, what are some of your coping techniques?
I’ve definitely just gotten into skating this year. So skateboarding is definitely something that I really love doing and it’s just like a mindless thing. You’re kind of just so concentrated on thinking about staying on the board that nothing else is in your head. Which is really great, I love that. I’m very big into nature as well. I kinda grew up on a couple of acres of land. So I need at least once a week to be able to get out and go for a hike or go out to the Blue Mountains or just kind of be out of the city. I really struggle. Like when I first moved here from Brisbane, I moved to Cronulla, and that was quite nice. It was still out, it was quiet at the time when I moved there. It was just isolated in a way. It’s got a lot busier now. And now I’ve been in the city for a couple of years and I can just tell the difference. It clutters my brain and kind of makes me a very different person to what I want to be, I guess.

I find myself always getting caught up in the moment or excusing people’s behaviours and then kind of getting hurt… cos I’ve given a bad person the benefit of the doubt.

You mentioned your move to Sydney. I understand you made the move at a young age, following some difficult years in high school. What advice would you give your younger self if you had the chance?
Don’t let boys get in the way probably (laughs). Definitely I’ve been always like a lover, always wanted to be very mothering, nurturing. But I guess I would give my younger self the advice of like just don’t take shit from people that don’t deserve second chances or don’t deserve that, you know? I find myself always getting caught up in the moment or excusing people’s behaviours and then kind of getting hurt or getting into this situation time after time cos I’ve given a bad person the benefit of the doubt. And I definitely still struggle with that, probably now. So it’s probably just good advice to me still (laughs).

What more should media organisations such as ourselves be doing to close the gap on gender inequality?
I guess I’m finding what media are doing is doing their job, pretty adequately myself. Like I feel like I’m pretty updated with what’s going on. A lot of men that I speak to in a way, they’re pretty aware of what’s going on. And they’re all doing – who I know at least, their part to make sure that they’re not in a wrong position, do you know what I mean? So to me I feel like there’s been a pretty good well awareness these days. If not a bit oversaturated, to a degree. Sometimes it’s a bit like the media jump on things and it gets a bit exasperated sometimes. Sometimes. Other times it’s much needed, obviously. But I think the media’s definitely doing a great part in making awareness to everybody, that’s for sure. I’m not sure I even have a comment on that one.

If you could collaborate with any artist, in any medium, past or present, who would it be and what would you ideally create?
Probably Elvis or yeah, maybe Elvis or – like Beatles is just too obvious. Otherwise…

I understand you’ve made a lot of home videos as well. Is that something you’d consider?
Yeah, I was just thinking Wes Anderson as well. Like I’d love to do videos and whatnot, but it’s hard to go past something when I do really love music. So it’s hard to go past if you had an opportunity to create something with a musician from the past. But Wes Anderson’s definitely a massive influence on me visually. I love everything he does. Or John Waters. Oh there’s too many (laughs). Let’s just stick with Elvis. I would do like some classic ass duo, like Nancy Sinatra style, with Elvis. Like beautiful, love, cheesy as hell duo (laughs).