Joe Jackson has created a masterful moniker in Sloan Peterson. This music will take you back to another time, but also make you feel as fresh as a daisy.
If nostalgia is your thing, then Sloan Peterson is undoubtedly the woman for you. First of all, her moniker is a throwback to the heartthrob star of the 1986 hit comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the gorgeous Sloane Peterson played by Mia Sara. But secondly, and more importantly, Sloan - regularly known as Joe Jackson - has created a sound which has been rightly described as a "love child of 50s guitar pop and garage rock.' Like I said, if nostalgia's your game, play Sloan Peterson's music now. Joe first came onto the scene with her band Black Zeroes and says the Sloan Peterson project is simply a natural extension of those days.
And now, Joe, under her new moniker Sloan, has three singles out - Rats, 105 and just this week, I Want You. The music videos for the first two are brilliant, and for 105, Joe solicited the help of some of Australian Ballet's and Sydney Dance Company's alumni to visually enhance the retro tune.
While Joe is creating old timey music that harks back to another era, the ideas are not gimmicky at all. She is one dedicated and clever music maker, and you can't help but picture her sitting in her loungeroom surrounded by dusty vinyls - everything from Elvis to Bowie to more obscure creators such as Spanish-American band leader Xavier Cugat.
Rats and 105 have been added to radio in the US and the UK, and her latest tune I Want You is sure to follow in their wake. I Want You is such a stellar track, unashamedly doowop in its execution, and as cool as cucumbers. We are really looking forward to the album due for release 22 September.
Joe was a standout at this year's Bigsound festival, and if things keep tracking the way they are, she will be around - both here and abroad - for a very long time. As they say, watch this space.
Joe took some time to chat with Music Love about the terrific act that is Sloan Peterson, her favourite women in music, and how her obsession with music makes it hard to switch off.
What does music mean to you?
Music is an escape for me. I love being able to walk down the street with my headphones on put on music and be taken to another place. Music is so powerful it can make you feel emotions sad, happy, angry. A song can take you back to a memory from years ago or remind you of someone you haven’t thought about in months. I wasn’t particularly good at school but I always knew I loved music. I [performed in] musicals and danced from a young age and played clarinet in the school band. The fact that I get to perform and write songs that people get to listen to and sing along to is the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life! I hope i can do it forever.
You’ve been writing your own material since you were 18. How has your music evolved over the past six years?
Firstly, I have gotten a lot better at playing guitar. Instead of only being able use three chords, I can use now use five, haha. I understand my instruments and my voice better now. My first band was a pop punk band. I still have those elements now, but I like to think they are a little more polished.... maybe that's not a good thing. I'm an instinctual songwriter so I like to write the first thing that comes to my head and usually leave it, and don't think too hard about it. It's worked out so far.
Sloan Peterson isn’t your first musical project. Tell us about how this persona evolved from your previous projects like Black Zeros.
It hasn’t [changed] much. I still use revamped versions of songs I performed as Black Zeros. Just forever growing, I guess.
Your music video for 105 is the first video filmed in Sydney’ Strand Arcade since David Bowie’s Let’s Dance in 1983. What made you want to film the clip there?
The Strand Arcade contacted me and wanted to use one of my songs as a part of an interactive music video to promote some of the stores' winter collections which turned out really well. I got to work and meet some amazing people. It was an extra bonus that David Bowie shot scenes in there for his film clip.
When you’re not involved in musical pursuits, what else do you do?
I try to travel a lot and visit my family up in Byron Bay and Brisbane as much as I can. Music takes up basically 100 per cent of my mental space though... Sometimes I find it hard to socialise cause my brain never switches off from music mode.
Your music video for Rats involves a lot of dancing. And, 105, you had performers from the Australian Ballet School and Sydney Dance Company. How important is your physical and visual connection to music?
I was a dancer from the age of five to fourteen. I love movement and I think being a musician you also have to be a visual performer to keep things entertaining..
You also have a really cool fashion style. Who is your favourite fashion designer/brand?
I generally wear second hand clothes, but I also like to keep things minimal. I don't like having too many things in my closet in case I want to move house or country.
What will we see and hear next from Sloan Peterson?
We’re shooting the next film clip for my next single, and playing a bunch of festivals throughout the end of the year so keeping very busy!