Almanac Music: Interview with Jack Poulson from Vic Park

Jack Poulson first came to my attention in 2015 when his song “Watch the River” was played by music journalist Mikey Cahill on Lindy Burns’ Evenings show on ABC Melbourne. Under the name JP Klipspringer, Poulson released two EP’s (2014’s “Drip Dry” and 2015’s “Din Deafening”) and the 2016 album “Brutal Politic”, which made my list of top albums for that year on this site.

 

I’ve since become a big fan of Jack’s sound, described by some as equal parts Australiana and Americana, seen him play live and enjoyed conversing with him on Twitter about all things Collingwood, cricket (especially Victorian cricket), politics and music.

 

In 2019 Jack is back with a new name and new music. The passionate Collingwood fan has chosen “Vic Park” as the name of his new band outfit, new single “I Could Really Use Your Love” has been released this week, with an album to come later in 2019.

 

 

I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with Jack and ask him some questions about his music, the new single and Collingwood.

 

At what stage did you become interested in music and playing guitar?
I was a very poor guitar student from grade 3 to grade 6, and in a typical display of teenage rebellion, I only got interested in improving when I stopped formal lessons and started teaching myself. The idea of homework and following structure never sat well with me – I was always looking for the easy way out!

 

How old were you when you realised you could sing?
Some people would say they’re still waiting for me to realise I can’t…

I think I was 17 when I filled in for the singer of a high school rock band I played with. He’d snapped his finger in half playing footy the week before. Classic. We covered One Crowded Hour by Augie March at a lunchtime gig called ‘Lunchstock’ (also classic), and it didn’t bomb.

 

How did the songwriting process initially begin for you, were you a keen writer or poet before becoming a songwriter?
I used to write smartarse fake news articles and terrible comedy songs before I started writing ‘serious’ pop tunes when I was 16. I remember being reluctant to write anything serious prior to that cause I didn’t believe I actually knew enough about the world to come up with anything good. I’m not sure that really changes at 16, but at some point you’ve gotta suck it up and stop pretending to be wise (or maybe start).

 

Which artists have inspired you and your musical style?
My new material with Vic Park is influenced by a mix of 90’s Australian rock like You Am I and Paul Kelly, and early 2000’s American indie artists like Wilco and Pavement. A friend told me recently that they thought one of the tracks on my upcoming LP sounded like Stephen Malkmus was pashing Tim Rogers! That would be a wild scene, and I’ll definitely take the comparison.
There are definitely some folky elements on this new record, and especially on the current single. I’m really proud of that song and hope that it has a nice mix of serious and not-so-serious elements.

 

Vic Park in action at the Abbotsford Convent in February

 

You’ve performed in the USA before, how did that opportunity come about?
I was really fortunate to record most of my new record with a producer friend in Nashville, Tennessee. It was pieced together over a long period of time between 2017 and just the other week, and involved two trips to the US and bunch of follow up sessions at the Aviary in Abbotsford (right across from Lulie Street) and Head Gap in Preston.

I’m a bit obsessed with travelling around America, and have got myself in a fair bit of debt heading over there. I’ve set up little gigs for myself through friends and local bookers in Nashville, Austin, San Francisco and New York. I even met my girlfriend at a show in Brooklyn a few years ago, and after reconnecting a fair while later, she decided to move over here. That particular gig at a place called Pete’s Candy Store was super special. So the credit card stress has definitely been worth it, I’d say.

 

You’ve put together a fantastic new band, tell me about the members and how you came across them?
The current Vic Park crew are actually the same three guys I’ve been playing with for the last few years. They’re all buddies from high school days, and we have a great time cracking terrible, terrible gags together. My drummer Paul R runs a bottle shop, keys player James works in mental health and bassist Paul G is a literature teacher. They’re great guys, and we have some really talented guest musos joint us on stage occasionally too (Shannen James and Abbey J Layton make us sound as lot fuller when they lend their backing vocals).

 

Does the name change reflect a more band focused outfit, a clean slate from your previous identity or something else?
The new name (I previously released two EP’s and one LP as JP Klipspringer) came about partly as a result of the new aesthetic direction of the music (although it’s still similar) but mainly because my old moniker was so difficult for people to spell and remember! I liked the Klipspringer vibe, but having to spell it out for people wasn’t exactly the best form of promotion. I wanted to change to something that was simple and could be seen as more of a band name, even if the structure of the project hasn’t changed much since my last release in 2016.

 

You would have been very young when Collingwood ceased playing at Victoria Park, what are your memories from that venue and your band’s thoughts on the name?

I was nine when the Pies played their last game at Lulie Street. I hang out and kick the footy there a lot these days as I live nearby and often make music at my producer’s studio across the road, but I only went to a few AFL games before it was ‘retired’.

 

Jack attempting to recreate Ron Todd’s famous Victoria Park mark over his unimpressed bass player Paul

 

I remember watching Sav kick a million goals against Fremantle one day, and I even featured in the Road To Victory video about the Pies’ 1990 season when my old man was snapped carrying me up the steps of the Ryder Stand as a tiny two-month old baby. You can see this moment in all its glory at 1:06:13 of the video below. It’s about as exciting as it sounds.

 

 

As a prep student I beat that VHS into submission after watching it every single Saturday morning before Auskick for years. Nothing beat watching highlights of Daicos, Brown and Millane in their prime. I still can’t believe Daicos kicked that many goals from half forward in 1990. That piece of magic in front of the Sherrin Stand against Richmond (where the late, great Drew Morphett called “three kicks, three goals!) is still my favorite goal of all time.

Seeing VFL, AFLW and pub footy matches at Vic Park these days is a real treat, and I’m so glad the place has been kept in such good order. It’s still an amazing venue.

My band mates kind of like the name, but are also a little wary of the overt Collingwoodness. Oh well.

 

Have you previously had or still harbour goals to make a career out of music?

I certainly used to want to be a full-time musician when I was a little younger. No doubt that would still be amazing, and would definitely let me spend more time on the nuts and bolts of running a band. At the moment I seem to find lots of time to record and play, but not much time for the important stuff like promotion and networking. I’m pretty terrible at that side of things.

These days though I’m content with the balance I have between work and music and play.

 

Tell us about your work and how you combine work and music in your life?

My day job is as an urban planner. I love architecture and cities and geography and politics, and my job ticks all those boxes. Can’t complain there.

Running a band at the same time as having a challenging full-time job can definitely be tough thing to balance. Rehearsal with the crew is always fun but can be draining after a full day of work, and sometimes a month or two can go by without having a jam. We ramp things up ahead of a run of shows. Organisation isn’t my strongest suit, but having a fun release to show off makes it easier to be engaged, that’s for sure.

 

Tell us about your new single “I Could Really Use Your Love”-

The new track ‘I Could Really Use Your Love’ is basically a break-up song. It deals with post break-up guilt and self doubt and all that well traversed pop music fodder, but hopefully it’s done in an interesting and not overly serious way. It’s a builder with a flowery and dramatic outro, but we tried to steer clear of cheesy or indulgent moments.

 

You’re a hugely passionate Collingwood supporter, has that been family influenced?

Absolutely. My dad is a massive Collingwood supporter and made sure all his children were too. In fact I was told as kid that if I didn’t support the Magpies, I’d have to eat my dinner outside. One day in prep I was angry at dad about something or other, and told him I wanted to change teams to Geelong. He stayed true to his word and served my dinner on the outdoor table in the backyard. A few minutes later a bat flew over my head and dropped a bunch of berries it had stolen from a nearby tree. I freaked out and ran back inside, a dedicated and devour Collingwood boy.

 

First Collingwood game?

I think it was a night game against an interstate team around ‘95 or ‘96. Can’t be totally sure. I know I went to basically every game in Melbourne between ‘97 and 99, which included a lot of tough, cold times at the footy. Dad was a trooper taking me to the MCG, Waverley and Victoria Park to see us get thumped quite regularly.

 

Big games/moments you were there for?

I’ve been to almost all Melbourne finals since 2002. I think my favorite games have been the ‘02 prelim against Adelaide (what a crowd, and Anthony Rocca’s Third quarter bomb was amazing), the ‘10 prelim (what a first quarter), the ‘10 grand final replay (obviously) and the ‘18 prelim against Richmond (wow).

 

Your own football/sporting career?

My own sporting career leaves a lot to be desired. I was always too small to be a serious threat at any game.

I was an ok cricketer in high school (an inconsistent left arm leg spinner and dour opening batsman with rock solid defence) and kicked a few goals from a forward pocket as 10 year-old Ashburton United Redbacks player.

I played Auskick at my local park for years and years, and one day kicked six goals in a little league game at Docklands. When I got back to my parents in the stand, my old man asked why I didn’t play. He assumed the kid kicking all the goals was someone else and that I’d wussed out and stayed in the change rooms. I couldn’t blame him.

The only other sporting triumph I can claim is one day as a 16 year-old when I played C grade soccer and football in the same morning. It was raining all day, and somehow I managed to kick five goals for the soccer team against very poor quality opposition and five-goals for the footy team against a very distracted Marcellin outfit. I couldn’t believe it either. There was some elite cherry picking going on that day, let me tell you!

 

You’ve released a couple of footy themed songs before, do you see that as something that will continue in your songwriting?

Ha! You’re right. I can think of two JP Klipspringer songs that directly reference football. ‘Back Pocket’s Lament’ is about the dream crushing moment most people realise they’ll never play at the highest level (or at any level). ‘Daicos, Millane & the Quarter Time Crisis’ isn’t about footy as the name suggests, but rather a look at anxiety and fear of growing up (basically a quarter life crisis, as the name almost suggests). It’s just a crappy metaphor. Apologies all round.

I’ll no doubt write about footy again, although doing so under the new Vic Park band name might rub supporters of the other 17 sides the wrong way. Might need to be a bit more subtle about it in the future!

The Melbourne launch party for “I Could Really Use Your Love” is on this Friday night at the Grace Darling Hotel, Collingwood.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/vic-park-the-grace-darling-tickets-58825312092?aff=ebdshpsearchautocomplete

 

Listen to “I Could Really Use Your Love” on Spotify here

Follow Vic Park on Facebook: Vic Park FKA JP Klipspringer

Follow Vic Park on Instagram: @vicpark_theband

Vic Park on Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/jpklipspringer

Follow Jack on Twitter: @jp_klipspringer

 

 

For more of Luke’s many Almanac contributions, CLICK HERE:

 

 

Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134

Comments

  1. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Sensational stuff Luke and Jack.
    Can’t really think of a better name for a band than Vic Park. Maybe ‘The Schaubles’ ?
    Yes, that ‘Road to Victory’ Tape featuring a monobrowed Eddie certainly got a good work out between 1991 to 2010.
    Like Jack, I also make a guest appearance at the 1:04:38 mark. Just under the Magpie Hotline sign, black jacket,white shirt and a full head of hair at 21 hoping for that bloody Collywobble drought to be broken.

    Would love to see Vic Park (the band) with you Luke. Cheers and Go Pies !!

  2. I love my music – even enjoy ANDRE RIEU. However this modern day stuff generally leaves me cold.

    My favourites are from the fifties and sixties with a little from the seventies. That being said, several of my boyhood pals were in bands and one of them, PETER SKURRAY had a hit record in ’62. It was titled CRY BABY CRY and you can hear it on YOU TUBE if you so desire.

    Anyway, perhaps it could make a good anthem for the Collingwood team and/or its fans. Then again DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY could work. Just a thought.

  3. Thanks Luke. I was at the Punt Road end for the “02 preliminary final as a Crows fan and remember Rocca’s goal all too well. It was astonishing. It was terrible. It was monstrous- in all senses. It won the Magpies the match. At that point I knew we were done.

    Will check out the music. I llove reading an interview on this site from time to time.

    The bits you somehow omitted-
    Favourite food: steak
    Favourite song: Khe Sahn
    Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Phil- ‘The Schuables’. Brilliant. Yes, let’s get to a Vic Park gig!

    Fisho- “It’s Only the Beginning” by Deborah Conway is the anthem this Pies fan is singing at this stage.

    Mickey- also omitted:
    Favourite movie: Shawshank Redemption

  5. DBalassone says

    Good work Luke. You’ve aroused my curiosity, when I get a chance I will check out some of Jack’s work…

    To add to Jack and Phil’s appearances in Road to Victory, I actually snuck in to the video as well, beginning at 1:05:32 when the players run out for the final training session, I can be seen far left of screen (slightly moving to the middle of screen as the camera pans out) with a terrible mullet, black coat, and white windcheater with a big magpie (and I wondered why I couldn’t get a girlfriend at the time).

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Damian, there’s seemingly a strong Almanac cast in the Road to Victory! Sadly I’m not in it.

    Make sure you do check out Jack’s fine work!

  7. Hey Luke, how about “Its only just begun” by the CARPENTERS”

  8. Wonderful interview, Crackers.

    I hold your musical tastes in high regard, so it is definitely time to check out some Vic Park.

  9. Just had a listen: he has an interesting voice…

Leave a Comment

*