Special Interview: Jack Biilmann

#TheAussieWord catches up with artist Jack Biilmann.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I always played tennis racket guitar to rage in the mornings and then chose it for an elective at school. A 90% pass mark for the HSC was enough to make me pursue it.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Storytelling, the places I go, the people I meet and wanting to reach more people.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

I just want to play to wider audiences with time and get better at what I do and enjoy it. Bucket List items are well and truly locked in and being worked towards.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

A few more singles, an album & national tour kicking off in mid June.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

Hot Blood & Side A of the new album Divided Mind was Recorded at The Round Plain Church, Rocky Plain NSW, Australia, on land that my Grandfather owned in 1965, a sacred site for my family. The record was written for the space and captured 100% live via generator power & mixed by Matt Barnes (Hands Like Houses, Madi Diaz) mastered by Ian Pritchett (The Beautiful Girls, Angus & Julia Stone, Boo Seeka). There’s the usual blues. folk and acoustic tones but goes down a more country sounding pathway compared to my back catalogue but the signature vocal growl and slide guitar is still out front accompanied with smooth backing vocals from Sara Flint (Apricot Ink). 

Side B is a powderful re-entrance to the blues/rock arena with the newly formed band The Black Tide. The lineup of Pat Quinn Quirke (guitar), Joel Cabban (bass), Jono Warren (drums) and myself on vocals and guitar. Recording throughout 2022 at three Canberra recording spaces, The band already demonstrates a huge chemistry and feel despite playing together for less than a year. Using elements of 90s’s rock, blues, country & some serious guitar riffage, Side B commands attention with high energy, heavy grooves, dynamics but still maintains my signature brand of vulnerable storytelling, versatility and prowess as a musician which is hugely supported by The Black Tide’s massive skill set as a band. It’s got moments of reflection, foresight, fun and darkness in a neat 6 track package that will leave you wanting more. Mixed and mastered by Ian Pritchett

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

Personal experiences, emotions, history & The love of playing guitar.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

It’s usually super black and white but of late there is plenty of grey. I guess it’s really up to the listener.

Success, what is the secret to it?

Remember that word means different things to different people. Work out what it means to you and go do it.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Having people reach out to me and tell me impacts my songs have had. For example one guy told me my song “Own Worst Enemy” convinced not to attempt suicide while he was driving on the way to do it. Things like that have a very heavy weight.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

City & Colour. Dallas is just inspiring with his skill set as a musician and writer doing two very sounds so successfully. Anyone also who is totally authentic and popular off the back of that.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

I’d like to think I’ll still be out here having fun, writing better songs off the back of the journey so far and playing on some bigger stages both here in Oz and internationally.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

Favourite part is watching people sing your songs back to you and ask for the guitar chords/tabs. That makes me feel very proud and makes the ups and downs all worthwhile. I always try to remember this when writing and when the hard work is being done.

Least favourite is at times having the feeling that no matter how hard you work & how long you’ve been around, the industry seems to not care and you watch things that have been around for seemingly 5 mins just skyrocket and that is hard to get your head around, I feel at times that the industry I invest so much time and energy in just makes no sense to me which is hard. Trying to work in the industry at the moment is very hard because the pandemic made an already battling industry even harder from all sectors of the industry.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Pat Tierney, Apricot Ink, Kingswood, Matt Corby, Hope Wilkins, Little Georgia, James Bennett 

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

My solo sound has been getting more traction in the USA of late and I feel the new album will really expand this and beyond. There is also overseas touring on the cards once the album is released.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

My latest album was a massive collaborative effort with Sara and my band mates and it’s vital to growing as an artist. I’d love to write with Matt Corby, Dallas Green & Jason Isbell.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Understand that Rome was built in a day, want to get better, set goals, stay true to yourself, carefully build a team and invest in your career.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

I love hearing from anyone about music stuff! Hit me on my socials.

Any last words?

Website: https://jackbiilmann.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jack.biilmann/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jackbiilmann

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jack.biilmann/

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