In August last year, Jack Ladder performed a series of intimate sold out solo shows playing 20 original songs per night across two sets. Audiences around the country were treated to two hours of unparalleled song writing prowess - proof that he remains an underrated master of the genre. Due to popular demand he’s touring Australia and New Zealand for '20 Golden Greats Vol. 2', promising this time to delve deeper into his diverse back catalogue, injecting new life into the songs, recounting their strange origin stories and even stranger reception. Mia Hyde spoke to Ladder ahead of his show at The Aardvark on Saturday 11 May.
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You’ve shared the stage with some amazing acts. Which have stood out or influenced you the most? And why?
Doing supports is how you get your start. Feels like I keep starting over. Then again I keep getting bigger supports. Working on arena shows with The Killers & Florence & The Machine was very eye opening. When you get to that top level it becomes a different job. Maybe different from the one I thought that I was doing. Not a job I would sign up for. Alex Cameron has cleared his own path through the industry swamp and I find that inspiring.
You’ve got 5 albums out there at the moment. That's prolific! How do you keep it fresh?
I have 5 albums but I started in 2005. For that length of time it’s not a lot. I am slow and meticulous. I work at such a slow pace sometimes I can’t tell if there’s any progression. But then turning around to look back every now and again I’m shocked at the variation and comforted at how I’ve stayed on point. I seem to change the process up each time and that keeps it interesting. Not consciously though. It just keeps happening that way. Changing around me. I’d love to have a formula and pump it out.
What's been the inspiration behind your ‘20 Golden Greats’ tour?
I had to start touring internationally on my own because I couldn’t keep dragging my band around. Initially I found it pretty restrictive but over time I’ve learned how to interpret my songs in ways I’d never considered before. Also doing the 2 sets lets me get stuck in and give a proper cross section of my work. It’s satisfying to perform. One set is never enough.
Your music has taken you all around the world. How do you find playing in Australia compared to other parts of the world?
Playing in Australia is great. It’s definitely home. When I started out I didn’t feel so inline with Australia but we’ve grown up a bit as a country and people seem much more open minded now, more than they were 10 years ago. We generally speak the same language so I don’t have to wonder whether anyone understands my jokes like in France.
Do you stay in touch with the news of the music industry or otherwise back home? What’s your take on the government’s response to music festivals and the risks that has been blowing up in the past year?
I’m in touch for sure. I don’t think governments understand what’s going on. They’re frightened of changing attitudes towards drugs. Just test the pills. Easy. They prefer drugs they can tax more easily.
Any advice for younger artists treckin’ down the same path as you?
I think a lot of the younger artists have much clearer goals and plans than I ever did. I would like them to teach me. I am an old dog who just likes writing and singing. Show me the way to a social media empire.
Are there any bands/artists coming out of Australia in the past few years you’re particularly diggin’?
I like Spike Fuck.
Lastly, Vegemite...yay or nay?
Yay for a thin scrape.
JACK LADDER PLAYS THE AARDVARK ON SATURDAY 11 MAY WITH SUPPORT FROM TANAYA HARPER. CLICK HERE TO GET TICKETS!