For The Record: Jen Cloher the woman on Jen Cloher the album

July 31st 2018

  • Jen Cloher :: Interview with Maia Bilyk on For The Record

Self-titled albums are normally the reserve of career-defining, statement-of-artistic-intent, capital-M Major works. Jen Cloher is no exception. A year on from its release, the respected DIY muso from Melbourne caught up with Maia Bilyk on For The Record to break down the album.

Throughout the record, Jen touches on themes of cultural cringe and “tall poppy syndrome”, matriarchy, Australia’s historical relationship to land, and ageism in one of the most ambitious and wide-ranging Australian projects in recent memory.

“My perspective is yeah, it is hard and I’m gonna tell you how hard it is, just so you have some perspective around the reality of being an artist.”

From the ledge of her accrued wisdom and life experience, Jen surveys the terrain of her own story as a musician, stripping her music of all pretence down to its radically vulnerable core in her self-titled love letter to Australia and the Australian musician.

“Nostalgia is used as a kind of device to lull people into a sense of security, and then I
kind of don’t really have a lot of nice things to say about suburbia, or I guess suburbia as
an image for apathy, for the apathy of Australian life.”

A year on, the album appears to signify a new era for Jen Cloher – the end of Jen, the rock widow, and the arrival of one of Australia’s most astute and accomplished songwriters.

Listen to the full interview above to hear Jen describe what the ‘rock widow’ archetype is all about, and her mission to “[change] the narrative that we have around women in music being no longer relevant once they get beyond a certain point in their 30’s…”

Tune into For The Record every Wednesday from midday and check out past eps here.


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