Andy Jans Brown launches his new double album Sunshine Avenue at the Rails on Thursday at 7pm. And by the way – wear your PJs!
Tell me what the vision was for Sunshine Avenue.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about mortality and how precious our brief little stay is. I recalled an optimistic expression a friend of my mum’s used to say: ‘Don’t worry about me, son. Pretty soon I’ll be going to Sunshine Avenue.’ In Tweed Heads that’s where the crematorium is. I wanted the album to be fun, but also to touch on ideas raised by Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, Clotaire Rapaille’s The Culture Code and the BBC documentary The Century of the Self, looking at how often and easily we as citizens and consumers are manipulated by our fear of death. I thought it was worth exploring. Like Beckett’s Waiting for Godot I appreciate the absurdity of it all.
Where did you record the album?
At Studio 9 in Byron Bay, run by Simon Seven. Simon is a very laidback dude and the relaxed atmosphere there really nurtured our creativity as we laid down the tracks live, old school, to capture the raw energy and spirit of the band.
Don’t you know that a lot of people around here sleep in the nude! Ha! Yes well… it’s a metaphor. Sleep is like death – the pyjama party is the celebration of life beforehand and I recall as a kid that whenever we’d have sleepovers there would be lots of laughter and deep and meaningful conversations. That’s my kind of party.
Tell me a bit about Carpe Diem and Death as the Advisor.
These ballads that sit amongst the classic rock ’n’ roll. I lost my older brother early in life and Death whispered in my ear, ‘Follow your heart and live your dreams, your time here is precious!’ I answered, ‘When I am no more it shall be the beauty of life that steals my last breath away’.
You recently did a clip with The Cassettes – how was thatand will they be performing at the launch too?
Awesome! Their sass, humour and charisma are overwhelming. Our time was short. They came, gave their all and left. The Cassettes are like super-heroes: nobody knows their true identities or whereabouts or when next they’ll turn up, but you can be sure that wherever there are those in desperate need of being uplifted The Cassettes won’t be far away.
What and who are your musical inspirations?
Everything from David Bowie, Kiss, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield, Billy Joel, Cold Chisel, The Police and Bruce Springsteen – it was in adulthood that I found the poets: Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Serge Gainsbourg. Oh, and yearly visits to Bluesfest.
How would you describe Sunshine Avenue?
An upbeat collection of catchy singalong indie rock pop sprinkled with some moving ballads exploring the impact of our conscious awareness around our own mortality through optimistic rose-coloured glasses and a shake-your-booty attitude.
What should people expect for your gig at the Rails on Thursday?
A fun night with some deep and meaningfuls, catchy melodies and lush harmonies, a tight skilful band, a heartfelt celebration of life dressed in pyjamas… oh, and some skulls and flowers.