/ Jack Carty
words, photos & video by josh yong
special thanks to phoebe chetwynd-talbot and natasha carty
- Name – Jack Carty
- Based – Sydney, Australia
- Genre – Indie/Folk
- Web – jackcarty.com
I first met Jack down a dark alleyway,
It wasn’t actually as dodgy as it sounds, it was early 2014 and I was filming a video for Oh Mary ahead of their Wellington gig, supporting them was this Aussie dude called Jack Carty.
After I wrapped filming with Oh Mary, Jack so politely came up to me,
“Hey dude, I was wondering if you’d be able to film a video with me too?”
I agreed and was secretly pretty stoked; at the time Jack would be the first international artist that I would be filming for my Youtube channel.
As the light faded on an evening far too cold for March, Jack performed a live version of his song Esk, and it would be the first of three times that he would appear performing on my channel over the next couple of years.
When ROAM came about in 2015, I knew that Jack was pretty high up there on the list of artists that I’d like to work with. Although our paths crossed numerous times after the project had been established, I refused to work with him, maintaining that we would collaborate for the project on his home turf.
I was now in Sydney and so was he. I had my camera and he had his guitar. It was finally time to work on a ROAM together.
We start the day as all Saturdays should be started – late, and with brunch.
The local spot we find ourselves in is just up the road from Jack and his wife Natasha’s apartment in Marrickville. According to them it’s a pretty popular place for local creatives to swing by.
True to their word, and within minutes, a friend of Jack’s comes through the door, immediately spots him and Tash, and launches into this crazy story about a drummer he knows, pausing momentarily to introduce himself to Phoebe and myself. As quickly as he had appeared, he was gone, running up the street with coffee in hand.
“A lot of our friends live around here, especially musician friends” Jack explains, “It’s a pretty cool place to live.”
First on the agenda for the day was the ROAM feature performance. Jack wanted to perform the closing track off his latest album, Home State, titled “Wedding Song”. As the name suggests, it was a song that Jack first performed to Tash at their wedding, keeping it a tight secret up until that point.
We thought it would be a good idea to shoot this video in the lounge of their apartment, the space providing fitting context to the personal, intimate nature of the song.
We get the take we are after very quickly, a testament to the high standard in which Jack has perfected his craft, especially through the endless touring he has done over the past year or so.
We grabbed our gear and headed out into the world, to see what Sydney’s inner-west had to offer.
Not far from their place was this sports ground, which Jack and Tash vaguely recalled having a rather epic grandstand that could look cool on video.
Jack was going to attempt to play “Instruments”, a track recorded with full band and not normally one that he would attempt acoustically.
Once his voice warmed up he started nailing the performance, but at that exact moment so many elements began to go against us.
First was the wind, it was circling and buffeting throughout the grandstands, affecting both the performance as well as the audio quality.
Secondly came the planes. Marrickville is right on the flight path to Sydney Airport, apparently the busiest in all of Australia. On the brink of a perfect, windless take, a giant Airbus A380 came rumbling at low altitude overhead, rendering the take unusable.
With frustration setting in and time running away, our support crew comprising of Tash and Phoebe advised that this particular spot just wasn’t meant to be, and our energy would be better spent finding another spot to film.
“and I thought about the universe //
expanding like a heart…”
– Jack Carty “Wedding Song”
The best thing to do right now was take a bit of a breather, and reconsider our plan for the evening. We now knew that we had to escape the flight path, and the urban surroundings all together, so the logical conclusion was to head to the coast.
Tash is a visual artist (check out her work here) had some work to do at home, so Jack, Phoebe and myself headed to Gordons Bay, just a bit south from Bondi Beach. We found a rock shelf that would serve as a pretty idyllic location for a video, the best part being that the ocean swell and seabirds would be the only background noise, and that we could easily manage.
As we waited for the sun to dip a bit closer to the horizon, we get onto the conversation topic of age and experience.
“I perpetually feel like I did when I was 23…” Jack comments
“…but at the same time I don’t, because I feel way more comfortable in myself than I used to.”
We start talking about how it’s such an integral process to discover what you like and what you don’t like, what you are willing to put up with and what things you know you can walk away from. The more you learn these things about yourself and start living by them, the more comfortable in yourself you begin to feel.
“It’s definitely a process, I feel like I’ve only just started to get there in the last couple of years..” Jack continues,
“..I’m definitely still an open person, it’s such an important thing as an artist, but I definitely feel like I’m more aware about what I’m open about.”
I definitely hear this in Jack’s music and artistry, particularly in his latest album. You get the sense that everything he does as a musician is very considered, from the music itself through to his touring, and even the interactions with his listeners.
I’ve seen this consideration first hand. It struck me how he recognises people that have attended his gigs more than once, always taking the time to thank them for coming out again. In the times I’ve seen him play live I’ve noticed how open he is to inviting the listeners into the narratives he is conveying, in the process giving each and every person in the room something to take away with them.
It’s a sensibility that I believe comes with experience, it creates such a strong impression on those that enjoy his music, and strongly reflects the self-awareness that Jack is speaking of now.
“Down along the East Side wall, I met a man dressed as a horse //
he took me out sailing for a day…”
– Jack Carty “Berlin”
Here on this rock shelf on the east coast of Australia, Jack performs live versions of three more of his tracks, ‘All At Once’, ‘Honey, Do You Know the Way Back Home?’ and finally ‘Berlin’, just as the sun disappears over the cliffs.
It was an end to a very special and successful day. We jump back in the car and headback to their apartment.
Our day had started off right with brunch, and ends exactly as it should – with pizza and Netflix.
Oh, and everything that happened in between wasn’t too bad either.
be sure to follow ROAM on Instagram to keep up to date with what’s in the pipeline with future projects
Enjoy – more projects on the way so keep in touch.
Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think of the project so far.
– JY x