PRICK & DING #14:JACK WALLEN

Each week Fresh On The Net invites an artist or band to answer a short series of questions in Prick & Ding: the two and a half minute interview. It's convenient and quick - like enjoying a tasty microwave meal!
THIS WEEK: JACK WALLEN

Jack Wallen is a singer/songwriter from Cornwall.

A few weeks ago Jack submitted his live recorded song Sympathy For The Devil to the Fresh on the Net Listening post and the tone of his voice & the spirit of his song struck a chord with me as did the likes of Jamie T a few years ago so I was more than happy to approve it for that weeks Listening Post. I was in turn well pleased when the public also saw something special in Jack too by voting him into that weeks Fresh Faves and pushing him on to BBC 6 coverage.

I could not put it better than when (In reviewing Jack’s song) Tom Robinson said of Jack– “there’s something about Jack’s performance here that carries absolute conviction. A sense that he HAD to make this music or he would explode with frustration. As for recording quality, it only becomes clear this is a live recording when we hear an audience burst into whooping applause at the end.  These are early days – Jack’s writing will develop and settle and his melodies will grow more distinctive because he already has the three qualities many aspiring artists never achieve in a lifetime: Character, Charisma, and utter Conviction“.

He writes pop songs with a mature heart & a young spirit, and if Sympathy for the Devil (below) is a measure of what Jack can in a live setting then the future looks real good.

I think Jack has a lovely approach to making music which he puts so well on his biography on his webpage.Its immensely refreshing to find someone striving to just continue what he loves doing rather than chasing a pound or fame for the sake of fame.

I always practise what my brother once told me-Creativity first and let the rest work itself out & Jack is doing the self same thing which deserves my respect and hopefully yours.

I ain’t going to make big predictions for Jack’s future,I don’t need to,let the music do the talking.I think it can be anything he wants it to be – on his terms.
We at Fresh on the net want to wish him all the best on his journey,keep in touch mate.

JACK WALLEN – Sympathy For The Devil by Jack Wallen

Find Jack online:-  Website, BandcampFacebook , Twitter & Soundcloud,

1.  What are you up to at the moment?
Well, right now Tom Waits and Jono Mccleery are fighting for attention on iTunes while I try to plan a UK tour for the end of August. Not a big deal, just trying to get as many spots on as many supports or acoustic nights as I can. I’m a teaching assistant in a secondary school in Cornwall, which means that it’s impossible to play far away during term times. When the kids were off in June my double-bassist and I drove around the country playing wherever would have us, and I’m going to try and do the same this summer. I think that’s the big picture really, play out the life of the E.P as best I can, and grab people’s attention one by one if I have to.

2.  Favourite childhood memory?
One favourite is too hard isn’t it? I remember being sat in my Dad’s car after school on numerous occasions, blasting out huge ballads like November Rain and Don’t Speak by No Doubt. I was probably around 6 or 7 if I remember rightly. I think we all still need a good care-free power ballad bashing every now and again to de-stress. I also have amazing memories of being told hilarious stories by my Grandpa. That’s always taught me to approach everything with a sense of humour, it makes for a nicer experience.

3.  Hero?
Does it have to be one? Or can it be an Avengers style team-up? Dave Grohl has always been a hero of mine, I loved rock in my teens. John Martyn is a bit of a hero to me, because he epitomises someone that never made it “big” but was so celebrated by his fans and peers, which was a testament to his like-ability and his character on stage; why would he need anything more? I also love to see artists enjoying what they do. People who are happy are pretty heroic.

4.  Villian?
Eugh. I suppose it would be too easy to say politicians. Although to be honest I try to ignore it all, but then that doesn’t help either, because people moan at you for not doing anything about it. But then when you do something, they moan at you for getting it wrong. Moaners! They’re the villains. People who can’t just let things be, but have to have a gripe at everything they see. While the politicians fuck everything up, and the moaners moan, I’m going to be sharing music with strangers, and meeting new people, and loving what I do.


5.  What/who makes you laugh?

I laugh to the point of embarrassment with some of my friends. Especially when I’m overtired. It feels really good to laugh, I don’t think that anyone does it enough. And all of the usual things as well, comedy on TV, stand-up, innocent people subjected to misfortune… And when I see my Dad, he converts me back into a ten year old. He’s an idiot, but I can’t help but laugh.

6.  Describe what you do?
I balance a full-time job, family, friends and a beautiful girlfriend with writing, gigging and generally trying to kick-start a music career. I love it all, but ideally I’d like the music to become my job. I’d love to write as much as possible, but my other responsibilities make it hard to be prolific. Every song I write has to be a successful one because they’re so few and far between. But I think I’m doing ok so far.

7.  Who’s hair would you like to have for just one day?
I think Amy Winehouse’s bee’s nest thing would look great on top of my chubby face and beard…
 
8.  Best musical experience to date
My first ever real gig was supporting James Morrison in front of 1500 people, that was some buzz. But that’s always my answer, so I’ll go with…Mr Wolf’s in Bristol during my June tour this year. It was my first BAD gig. It was the monday night of the Jubilee weekend and the punters were smashed. I had lads on a stag do trying to sit on me while playing, and my double-bassist kept getting his mic stolen by a lumberjack with a mullet who was clearly high. After the gig we sunk a few bottles, and I felt like I’d accomplished this amazing feat. I’d survived my first proper bad experience, and I was still looking forward to the rest of the tour. That felt good, to know I wasn’t ready to quit and go home.

9.  What artist inspires you?
I haven’t been a Tom Waits fan for as long as I’d like to say, but he’s already quite inspirational. He’s so well respected, and has a huge persona that goes along with his music. I know I’m nothing like him, but for people to respect me the way they respect artists like him would be a dream. John Martyn was the same, as was Levon Helm. People that leave behind, or continue to create a legacy are huge inspirations.

10.  What does Fresh On The Net mean to you?
The last couple of weeks have meant a lot, and that’s due to Fresh On The Net. I simply submit one song, it gets accepted for the Listening Post, it gets featured as a Fresh Fave with a lovely review, I get played on the BBC Introducing Mixtape on Radio 6 Music. During this time, I get some amazing feedback from writers and musicians alike, most in the same boat as I am, and I in turn get to hear their stuff and show my appreciation. That’s a quick turnaround for sticking a song in a Soundcloud dropbox. Who else is doing that?

Johnno Casson

Johnno Casson is a London-born/Colchester-based singer, musician, songwriter and show-off. He also compiles and releases compilations and is a serial supporter of new music. Johnno releases his own music as Snippet ,Old Tramp and also under his own name Johnno Casson.. As far as we know he was the most-played artist ever on Tom's legendary late night Fresh On The Net radio shows on 6 Music - having been featured no less than 18 times and appearing as an interview guest. You can also find Johnno on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube...

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