Aloha Jarrod! Hardly Art released your debut album, Ex Tropical, in the U.S in late January. Although Lost Animal is your project, you collaborated with Shags Chamberlain, as well as producer John Lee, on your album. Do you consider Lost Animal to be a duo (or more) or a solo project with ever-changing contributors?
It’s a solo project with trusted and valued collaborators.
Music reviewers like to pinpoint the influences of the artist in question. When I first heard “Say No to Thugs” and “Lose the Baby”, I thought of a vocal cross between Bob Dylan and Marty Willson-Piper. Do you regard these artists as influential to your vocal delivery and/or outlook?
I can’t deny Dylan’s influence on my vocal delivery.
You’ve noted that, lyrics-wise, Ex Tropical is a purging of the heartache and heartbreak that you’ve experienced in your life. Is that all out of your system now as a focal point for your lyrics? Or do you feel it will come back to haunt you on future songs?
Who knows? I’m sure there’s much joy, heartache, loss, gifts, life in the future.
When you were younger you lived in Papua New Guinea for a few years and you’ve said that the island’s environment shaped the sonic style of Ex Tropical. Was your locale a paradise like all the TV travel channels say it is?
It was a paradise unlike anything I’ve ever seen on TV.
What were the most unusual fauna or flora that you came across in Papua New Guinea? The most unusual animal I’ve seen was a Fire Salamander I spotted under a log. Good thing I didn’t pick it up because it releases a toxin when handled.
The Bird Of Paradise springs to mind. It’s Papua New Guinea’s national bird. There were many exotic things about that time and place, the names of which currently escape me.
I can hear an ‘island’ influence in the laid-back, rhythm-centered grooves on some of your songs. Did you try to faithfully recreate what you heard or did you put your own spin on the island-vibed rhythms?
No, it wasn’t a recreation but a vibe, a feeling.
You immerse your tunes in instrumentation like marimba and horns, as well as the more traditional piano and guitar. What attracted you to the globular notes of the marimba and pushiness of the horns?
The sound, the feeling.
From what I’ve read, you’re a primarily a keyboardist. Why did you choose to learn to play that instrument as opposed to guitar?
I play guitar. I played guitar years before keys.
One song in particular stood out to me on Ex Tropical. That would be “Don’t Litter” with its slinky, noir allure, horn accents, seductive beat, and your duskier, sorta sinister vocal tone. Could you go into the backstory of this song?
I’m glad to hear that. It’s my favorite. It popped out really quickly with not much pre-thought. I just went with it.
You released your first single “Say No To Thugs” with an accompanying video. Are you planning on shooting any more videos?
There’s a video for “Lose The Baby” that came out recently. More are in the works.
What’s this I hear about you utilizing a drum machine on Ex Tropical? Do you use it when you play live too?
We use programmed drums live, from a laptop. We occasionally play live with a percussionist.
I see from your Facebook profile that you had a prime slot at the All Tomorrow’s Parties – I’ll Be Your Mirror event in Melbourne this past February. How did that go? Were you able to catch My Bloody Valentine and/or Crime & The City Solution in action?
It went really great. I had a whole bunch of fun. Yeah, I saw MBV. Loud.
Since there was such a lengthy gap between the original release of Ex Tropical in Australia and New Zealand and Hardly Art’s distro, what have you been up to musically in the interim?
I’m currently writing and I’m about to start demoing the second album.
Lastly, can you please list your official site?