Interview :: Jenny Broke the Window

June 21st 2011

One of my favourite songs this year has to be ‘Beck and Call’ by Wollongong’s Jenny Broke The Window. This zippy, melody-packed duet is seam-bursting with so many likeable things: boy-girl vocals, peppy strings and a knockout urgency that makes you want to play it again. It reminds me of a similarly great duet, Belle and Sebastian’s 'Lazy Line Painter Jane'.

The song features the band’s schoolmate, Gabby Baldwin, who was visiting from Perth, where she now lives. It appears on a whipsmart, confident-sounding self-titled EP, shot through with buzzsaw melodies, tucked-tight layers and an infectious ratatat energy. Here’s more about Jenny Broke The Window, who have been together for less than two years and recently put out their self-released, self-titled EP.

FBi: It's a bit of a cliche to ask about band names, but yours is rather intriguing. "Jenny Broke The Window" – where did this come from? Do you know a Jenny and does she have a violent streak when it comes to windows?

JBTW: The two brothers from the band, Sam (guitarist/singer) and Matt (keyboardist) once had a neighbor named Jenny (along time ago, when they were very young). They accidentally broke their garage window while playing with a basketball, they told their mother it was Jenny! And their mother bought the story, and still does! (Plus we thought it had a nice ring to it.)

Given that your name is "Jenny Broke The Window", have you broken many things in your time together as a band?

Amps always seem to be breaking on us! Perhaps it is a curse from Jenny!

You're from Wollongong, can you tell us what the music scene is like there?

The Wollongong music scene is very up and down. With many local venues closing their doors recently, it's hard for local musicians and bands to be heard, more often then not, this causes the local bands to play elsewhere like Sydney, etc, which is disappointing in many ways. Saying that, there are half a dozen small bars that offer bands the chance to play intimate settings in front of good crowds. Recently lots of well-established bands have made it
a priority to play at these venues.

You've got a song about your (not-very-great) late night bus service. Is your music much inspired by your local surrounds?

It's quite the opposite in many ways. I think we tend to write about places away from home as it's new and exciting, and the best stories always seem to appear from times spent away.

What are some other unlikely inspirations for your songs?

‘Fire Brigade’ is based in a small country town in South Australia (where Sam and Matt’s family live). It’s about a story they heard while visiting, of a girl whose boyfriend dumped her and refused to see or speak to her. He was a member of the volunteer fire brigade, so she set fire to a shed in her backyard because she knew he would be forced to come extinguish it.

You've racked up a few live shows now. What are some memorable things that have happened onstage (or even offstage)?

After doing a show in Sydney, one of us lost our hotel key, and by the time we got back to the hotel, the front desk was closed, so we had to sleep in our car. I guess that was memorable!

What do you have coming up next?

We are playing with Made in Japan at Oxford art Factory on July 16th, the same night as Jinja Safari. We head off to Adelaide and Melbourne for some shows a few days later. 16-HOUR DRIVE TO ADELAIDE!!!!!!


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