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Getting To Know: Inventions

Inventions

Keen to more about your favourite up-and-coming bands? Sick of the same ol’ studio questions? From the albums they crank before they head out on stage to their must-have items when the tour van pulls into the service station, we quiz musicians about life on the road and how they came to love what they do. Up next: Melbourne alt-rockers Inventions. Fresh from the release of their latest single, “I Said Goodbye”, get to know more about the band’s frontman and Evanescence enthusiast, Jake Leaney.


I first discovered music when…
I was a kid. My mum was always listening to music, so I was exposed to what she was listening to (The Eagles, The Beatles, ABBA, Don McLean) as well as whatever was being played on the radio. My mum taught me the basics of guitar and piano, so I actually started learning how to play music before I had a love for listening to it. I would say that I really discovered music when I was about 12 years old when Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life” was all over the radio. Something about that song grabbed me, and within a few months I became obsessed with their album, listening to it every night and experiencing for the first time that feeling of, ‘Oh, something out in the world gets me’.

I realised being in a band was the best way to waste time when…
Well, I’m an extremely structured, ambitious, and focused person so it took a while for me to realise that playing in a band is also about having fun and wasting time, not just working hard on writing/rehearsing music. I used to jam at a friend’s place with him jumping from drums to guitar, and me on keys and vocals – after working hard on songs I was writing, we’d just play our instruments as loud as we could and we had a blast! It was a place to just forget about anything and everything else, it was awesome.

My first band was…
Th Chills when I was in year 9 or 10. I was totally not into the blues/funk music we were playing, but I barely noticed because I was just enjoying being a part of something, being accepted, and feeling like I was cool for a change! That very short-lived project gave me my first real directed rehearsals, performance, and recording experiences. Looking back on it my dramatic way of playing piano was so totally not suited to what we were doing, but the group was nice and let me hang out with them for a while so that’s kinda neat.

The first show I ever played was…
In high school with my dear friend Annie. I took to the keys and she sung. We performed “My Immortal” by Evanescence and we both wore pink tutus on stage. My parents still tell me how proud they were of seeing their 14-year-old son walk on stage in a tutu and how much confidence I had. I can’t say I’ve changed much; I love the idea that almost anything is possible and accepted when it comes to art and performance.

The worst job I’ve ever had is…
DJing at birthdays, engagement parties, and random occasions. I loved playing music that people danced to, but moving a ton of gear in and out of my house/car/venue got old real quick, especially whilst earning a pitiful amount of cash for my time. My boss lived in a faraway land as well, so logistically it was just a nightmare and I was expected to do so much more than I was paid for. I also am terrible at knowing what music is hot as I rarely turn on a commercial radio station. Fail.

My favourite band is…
Evanescence! However, I have found that other musicians in particular have really tried to make me feel like I’m stupid or something for rating them so highly – I don’t know what it is about them that disgusts some people so much, but I guess some people get it and some just don’t. Evanescence are still my #1 love in music; there’s so much meaning for me in their music as it has been with me for the last decade. From a more mature perspective however, I think what I love about their music is the songwriting, production, and fearlessness. The music is dark, dramatic, sometimes over the top, honest, emotional, and has a message. My current favourite band is probably The Danger Bees, they are a completely unknown US band but I’ve really connected with their music and can’t get enough!

A band that should never have broken up are…
I Am Ghost, a post-hardcore band from the US. They were absolutely rocking it with melodic but heavy music. The lead vocalist was male, but their female violinist also did a huge amount of lead vocals and harmonies. They should never have broken up because they had something super unique and special that would have kept going strong into the future. Maybe they were a little ahead of their time!

One album I play before I hit the stage is…
Something really familiar/old when I’m in my car on the way to a show. Paramore’s Riot! is great for singing a long and getting psyched up because it’s so full of energy! Recently I’ve been going the opposite direction though – an instrumental album from the Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi called Divenere has been my go-to for relaxing/chilling out/contemplating/calming. It’s incredibly focusing listening to instrumental music; it provides the creative mood, but doesn’t distract with vocals and lyrics. I can take the music and mould it into whatever I need it to be.

I love being on stage because…
There’s an adrenalin rush. The moment the music starts pumping from the instruments/speakers, you know you’re at the point of no return. You have to get up there and sing or play until it’s done. Most music sounds pretty great loud, and it’s definitely loud at most shows we play! The music I write is really expressive, and usually fairly emotional, so being able to belt that out with a loud band behind me and a crowd in front of me is quite special. If we’re being super honest though, I kinda just love attention too – being a musician is one of the only careers where I get to indulge the attention seeking side of me, whilst getting paid for it!

My favourite tour memory is…
Actually one of the strangest. We’d driven from Melbourne to Adelaide, played a show, and then were driving back to Melbourne the same night – only three of us were allowed to drive, so we didn’t get much sleep. At about 2 or 3 am, I pulled the van over on the side of the highway in the middle of a forest to uh… abide the call of nature. I’d never been somewhere so incredibly isolated, dark, and silent before, and the one or two trucks that passed us were just faceless chunks of metal, which made me feel even more alone. Everyone else was asleep in the van, and I just remember staring out into the forest. I felt so small because for some reason that was the moment that I realised that I would never see everything in the world. I would never take a step into that forest, yet I would always wonder what lay beyond the trees in the darkness. I also knew from then on the experiences that I had and would have in the future would be so unique, because of being in a band and doing all the crazy things that musicians do.

My favourite servo/gas stop purchase is…
Lollies! Oh, and of course salt and vinegar chips. I cannot go on a road trip without both of those things. Absolute must-haves at the first servo stop. I am one of those weird people that just don’t own a set of sunglasses, but there’s something about the sunglasses rack at a servo that makes me try them on every time, even though I know I’m not going to buy anything!

The worst thing about touring is…
The lack of sleep, lack of cash, and driving. I love cruising around listening to music, but sitting in a hot car full of people for 10 hours is not my idea of a good time. It’s rare that we would have the money for really comfy accommodation, so sleeping is often on a couch, floor, or shared bed. On tour everything is go go go, so when you decide to have a late night and party a bit, you are every bit regretting it the next day, and it doesn’t let you forget for at least a week!

On the road I can’t live without…
Headphones. If I couldn’t zone out by myself with some music or a podcast or something… heads would roll. Self time is definitely the most valuable thing you can have on the road, for the sake of your own and everyone else’s sanity.

My favourite place in the world is…
Sadly a place that I probably won’t ever really be able to go to again. When I first started getting into music, my parents owned a one acre block and house in a rural area in northern New South Wales called Dorroughby. My family moved a lot when I was a kid, and this was the first place where we stayed for a long enough amount of time for me to really get attached! Unfortunately we don’t own that place anymore, and saying goodbye to what I saw as my childhood home was really hard. It was in such a beautiful area in the hills, with the block surrounded by weaving macadamia tree plantations. It was never too hot or cold, and national forests were only a short drive away. Some serious nostalgia happening right now!

If I could, I would trade lives with…
David Hodges! He’s a songwriter based in LA who spends his days writing songs with artists in the rock/pop genres. Songwriting with fantastic musicians and other songwriters would be absolutely killer. Having the budgets to demo songs in good studios and flying from state to state to work with people is an absolute dream of mine. I follow David on Twitter and am often dreaming of what it would be like to be in his shoes. One day soon, please!

“I Said Goodbye” is out now independently.

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