Brisbane five-piece band, The Jensens, have certainly not let COVID hold them back. The indie pop rock band have just dropped a new single Paper Walls along with a super funky music video that captures their groovy energy. If this track leaves you wanting more, their new album, Hammer and Blush, will be released on May 21 next year. They also have some COVID-safe single launch shows planned for Queensland in November and December!
Forming in 2013, The Jensens are no strangers to the music scene or the stage. They have opened for bands such as Last Dinosaurs, The Vaccines and Kingswood, and played at iconic festivals like Splendour In The Grass and Grampians Music Festival. The band’s singer and guitarist, Nathan Kendall, has taken the time to give us some industry insight and advice. Let’s hear what he has to say!
What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
Music plays a very deep role in both my parents’ life. Most of the friendships they made and social gatherings they were a part of around the time I was born, were all derived from, or a result of music. Much like they are for myself and my own friends now. So as a boy, I was not only encouraged to play music and given the tools and the opportunity to do so, I was also taught about its mystical powers and its potential for joy. When it came time to consider a career path, there was, and still is, only one option in my eyes. I think music is probably humankind’s best invention and I want to be part of it.
Besides making music, what have you done to get to where you are?
Being a lover and obsessive of music. Constantly listening, especially to sounds and styles that I typically wouldn’t enjoy, to see if it doesn’t spark some excitement or inspiration. Films, documentaries, books, podcasts. Good stories and good conversations. Exploring human creativity and seeing what you like, figuring out what you want to say and how you want to say it. On top of that, I’ve been lucky to make some incredible friends who are an endless source of insight and inspiration. I also try to give myself a good chance at being creative with lots of exercise and meditation.
How do you approach developing timelines for your career?
This is something that’s taken us a long time to figure out and is something we’re still trying to perfect. On the one hand you definitely want to give yourself some solid deadlines, because it forces you to keep the whole thing moving, and also teaches you when to stop tinkering with a song and just put the damn thing out. But you also want to give yourself enough time to try out new creative ideas, otherwise you might just end up rehashing old ones, which is easy to do when you are under too much pressure. Ultimately, I would say for us, the key is preparation. Having all your content ready to go before you even begin to make a timeline. Not just releasing whatever song you have ready to go, because you’re worried it’s been too long since the last release and your fans might lose interest. I think real fans are excited to see what you’re truly capable of. So, putting in the extra time, money and effort to get as much content done as you can, before jumping into the release of the first single off an EP or album, puts you on the front foot.
What’s your advice on staying professionally active during COVID times?
This is a great opportunity to become a better musician and experiment with your writing. For me, a lot of the time, when I was deep in the rat race, I was wishing I just had a bit of extra time to practice my instrument, learn some new scales, get better at mixing, or even just cover a song I really love, just to play someone’s music other than my own. It’s obviously not the kind of spare time I was envisioning. But once gigs and tours and release schedules start to go back to normal, and we all come out the other end of COVID, it’s possible I could actually be a better musician than I was before, which is exciting and keeps me motivated. Not to mention that the Zoom revolution has made getting online lessons extremely easy, be it mixing, singing, guitar, whatever. And you’re giving money to other creatives in need.
For further guidance, our Artist Development course has some excellent advice for emerging artists and industry workers.
What is the most significant challenge you have conquered in your career?
Finding my voice as a songwriter, although I’m still figuring that one out and hopefully will be for as long as I play music. Once I reached the age where I embraced the full scope and diversity of music, I realised just how much of it there is. And when you sit down and think about every song that has ever been written, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed. But it’s helped me to remember you don’t have to be everything to everyone. There is an audience for every kind of artist and the point of putting music out into the world should be to find them and make a connection.
How should people educate themselves on current industry issues?
I think it’s important to be as involved in your local music community as possible. Apart from the major ones, issues in the industry can vary greatly depending on where you’re located. For the major issues though, I think having a couple of online sources that you trust is very handy. It’s a billion-dollar industry, involving however many millions of people. So, to really stay educated on the issues, you need the help of organisations that are dedicated to staying educated on the issues.
You can also stay educated on some of the issues by checking out our Contemporary Industry Issues course.
How have you integrated modern technology into your content process?
Zoom has been indispensable. Especially for The Jensens, as our managers live in Sydney and Melbourne. Dropbox has also made it incredibly easy to send mix revisions back and forth between us and our mix engineer. We’ve also been a part of a couple of different live stream concerts. One in the studio and one live at a venue, shot on a 360 camera, just before COVID shut everything down. It’s been incredible watching musicians and multimedia companies come together and create quality shit in lieu of all gigs being cancelled.