Jack Berry goes ‘Dutch’

Jack Berry Band is touring to promote EP Dutch, which will be released at ‘‘the backend of the...
Jack Berry Band is touring to promote EP Dutch, which will be released at ‘‘the backend of the tour’’. Photo: Supplied
Damin McCabe put Jack Berry Band together specifically for last year’s OUSA Battle of the Bands to "play his songs and see what would happen".

They ended up winning.

It wasn’t a surprise to me: the grooves were tight and bouncy, the songs unbelievably catchy, and Damin’s autotune-enriched vocals added a unique edge. Although, as Damin explained to me, the autotune was primarily for confidence, not style, since it was his first time singing in front of an audience.

And now, after a summer of wowing crowds across the country, they’re releasing their first EP, Dutch. I expect it’ll be huge, but we’ll have to wait a few more weeks before we can hear it.

"It’s been sent up to Auckland. To one of the dudes from Leisure, and he’s giving it a try at mixing," Damin said.

"So that’s why there’s a bit of a hold up. We’re just waiting to see what he can do with it. Because, I guess, me and Nick’s knowledge is still quite new to recording.

"This tour [the Dutch Foreplay tour] was supposed to be for our EP, but I can’t say when it will come out. It’s not going to be any longer than two weeks from now, so it’ll come out on the backend of the tour."

Damin is more of a Soundcloud producer than a frontman. Before assembling the band, he produced songs on his laptop and posted them on Soundcloud in true post-internet fashion.

"The way I write the song is I would write for a beat and then interpret it with the band," he said.

"Half of the songs we play right now I would have written three years ago with my acoustic guitar, and then for songs like Private Show and Sense I just get a beat locked in on loop and write verses and choruses for it, and structure it."

They’re awesome songs, but they’re given a whole new energy by his live band, especially bassist Kevin, who locks into a groove and doesn’t let go.

"One thing I’ve focused on for this EP is capturing the live sound because of the reception we got from that as opposed to my own production work.

"That’s definitely something I’d like to build for myself in the future, to be self sufficient in that respect, but at the moment the songs have a nice wee bounce and live feel to them. So, we just tracked two guitars, bass, drums and some light keys. It was quite stripped back, but poppy I think.

A recent article in The Spinoff discussed the "new Dunedin sound" and cited the Jack Berry Band as being part of a group "riding a wave of hype unseen since the glory days of Flying Nun".

Damin also organises gigs at the on-campus bar and the latest one, "Hoochie World 3" was last Thursday and sold out within 24 hours.

I attended Hoochie World 1 and the number of people willing to spend money to see live music was amazing. I wasn’t there for the fabled "glory days of Flying Nun", but maybe it felt something like that? Damin reckons there’s definitely something going on anyway and he’s stoked to be here.

"It’s definitely a thing that’s happening; I don’t know about the label for it, but it’s a positive scene and cool to be a part of."

- For more from Fraser Thompson go to dunedinsound.com.


The gig

Mild Orange and Jack Berry Band with Old Boy, Dutch Foreplay Tour, The Captain Cook Hotel, Friday, May 11, 8pm. Tickets $15 from www.universe.com

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