Posted on: March 18, 2014 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 2

What’s your story?

“Well, I have been performing in covers and originals bands professionally since I was about 17 and have always loved singing, playing guitar and writing songs. But even though I knew it was my passion, the practical realist in me would tend to create self-sabotage. I would say to myself, I know you love this but you have to be practical, seriously, it’s competitive and these days it seems like everyone wants to be a famous entertainer of some sort.


It’s also a long hard slog for musicians in Australia. It can take decades for a band to get recognized and build up a fan base. I came from a poor family and needed to eat, live and pay the bills etc., I didn’t want to struggle financially in my adult life so that little ‘devil on my shoulder’ steered me off course. I was also never confident that I was actually good enough to make a career out of music.

I studied theatre and popular music at university and was also the lead singer of a Gold Coast-based band called Joker’s Grim. During that time we won numerous band competitions, recorded an E.P. and supported a number of well-known Australian bands including Grinspoon, The Radiators, The Butterfly Effect and Killing Heidi, but eventually we all went our separate ways. When the band broke up, I ended up studying journalism and eventually joining the Australian Defence Force as a military reporter.

It was during my time in Defence that I reconnected with songwriting. I saved money and decided that once my return of service obligation was met, I was really going to give my music career the shot it deserved, and, in my mind, Los Angeles was the perfect launching platform for a new solo artist who needed to make up for lost time.”


How did Get Out move from initial thought to finished effort?

“Get Out is the first track I have released as a solo artist.  I met record producer Rocky Byrd, who has recorded and produced songs for artists such as Lady Gaga, Yak Boy Fresh, Robyn Skinner from American Idol, and Danny and David Massa from the Aussie X-Factor, on LinkedIn of all places.

Rocky’s company BlacqueByrd Music was looking to expand out of Hip Hop and R&B by working with a rock artist, so we Skyped and decided to work together and see what came of it.  It was all a bit of an experiment really.

Rocky is good friends with James Grossenheider, a brilliant guitarist who used to play for the band Bullets and Octane, he liked where we were heading with the track so he jumped on board the project.

We started working together on Get Out when I was still in Australia. I moved to Los Angeles in mid-2013 but Rocky is based in Missouri and James is based in Ohio, so Get Out continued to be a long-distance project. The combined efforts of three very different musicians produced Get Out – a short, sharp hybrid of rock, pop and punk.”

Who is inspiring you right now?

“Right now, I’m listening to Best Coast’s latest E.P Fade Away and The Vitals E.P called Qualia. But the album that is getting the most plays at the moment is by one of my all time favorite Australian artists – Adalita. Her latest album All Day Venus is just magic. Lately, I’ve also been revisiting a lot of classic Melissa Etheridge and Chris Cornell tunes.”


Which artists or styles most influence your overall sound?


“I grew up listening to punk rock and grunge music – bands like the Sex Pistols, Iggy & The Stooges, Blondie, The Ramones, Motorhead, Nirvana and Hole.

But I have always been a huge fan of Australian music. I love big and unusual voices so some of my favorite Aussie artists include Adalita, Wolfmother, The Butterfly Effect and the late Chrissy Amphlett from the Divinyls.  I also adore Chris Cornell’s solo albums and the work he did with Soundgarden and Audioslave, but my favorite band overall is the German band Rammstein – they just rock, have a phenomenal stage presence and the chunkiest guitar sounds I have ever heard!”



How has your style evolved and changed since you entered music?

“Initially, I started out in a band that played heavy and aggressive progressive, industrial rock. On the flipside, Get Out was my experiment with pop but honestly these days I’m writing more Neil Young/Chris Cornell-style classic singer-songwriter rock ballads.”

What or whom (musicians, styles) do you think will be big in the next year?

“Hmm, it’s hard for me to answer that question because I normally like music that the majority don’t and I’m terrible at predicting trends”

Why should readers buy the Get Out Single?

“If readers want a song that’s fun, energetic, catchy and easy to sing along to in their car or while at the gym, then Get Out would be a good track to add to their playlists.”

What has provided more of your fans – Facebook / Instagram / Twitter or traditional word of mouth?

“I would have to say Facebook and Twitter have been imperative in building my current fan base.”

What does the rest of 2014 hold for you, and how can readers connect with you and your music?

“Obviously living and working in Hollywood, there is a lot of competition. I’m still an emerging artist here, so I’m building a fan base, rehearsing in the studio and getting ready to start recording more songs for the E.P.  I’m planning to release another single in the next few months, which will be followed by an E.P. in late-2014.

Readers can keep up to date with my music by visiting or joining my Facebook or Twitter social networks.”


Do you have any thoughts for our readers at NeuFutur?

“Figure out what your passion is and just go for it. Trust me, you will look back in 10 years and kick yourself if you don’t.”

2 People reacted on this

  1. Interesting interview. I’m pretty sure I saw Joker’s Grim supporting someone, but it’s all a bit of a blur. Lol.

Leave a Comment