Jae Laffer is an Australian singer/songwriter and frontman for The Panics, having recently recorded a solo record ‘When the Iron Glows Red’.
“My regular job is singing and writing songs for my band the Panics and early 2012, in between Panics albums, I decided to make a record on my own, break from the band dynamic a little, basically try something different for a holiday and get together a few creative characters I’ve met in recent years that I’ve wanted to work with in the studio and see what happened.
I enlisted the help of Producer Anna Laverty, a friend I’ve known from my early years in Perth. Anna moved to London for many years but we stayed in touch and have always shared musical tastes and ideas in common; when our lives intercepted again in Melbourne it was only natural we’d end up making something together. Anna is the current in house engineer at Melbournes’ Sing Sing Studios, so booking a few weeks at Sing Sing we got a team together and commenced work on the songs I’d been working on the previous six months.
We called up Elliot Hammond to get the Drums down. Elliot is a good friend who’s’ day job is singing in awesome rock n roll band, the Delta Riggs, and at other times he’s on keys for Wolfmother. I wanted a big, hard sound on the drums so I got a rocker, and Elliot’s one of the best. He’s also great for a melody and a harmony when you need it and proved an inspired choice.
Paul Otway plays bass with me in the Panics. When it comes to bass there really wasn’t a point looking any further. Paul’s a great collaborator, so once you get him involved, he cant help himself and he’s all over the record. He spends more time on the guitar than I do so he’s always got a new melody in mind, or some kind of inspired psychedelic interruption. Pauls been getting into soundtrack work so he’s big on overall vision and loves to explore an instrument we’ve never heard of. Paul’s been a great help and has collaborated in some way on all the tracks on the record with everything from drum machines to words.
I wanted to make an album that was universally themed, bold and honest. I didn’t want it to sound like a Panics record, although, those comparisons will always be there. I’ve also added the kind of extra players i haven’t used yet, but love. I asked a friend and Sydney based singer in her own right Fantine down to Melbourne to do backing vocals on a number of tracks. We met while playing in the same backing group for Dave Stewart of Eurythmics and now she’s all over the record. She’s added layers of soulful and inspired vocals to a whole bunch of tracks. I got the idea after bouncing a few song ideas off Dave Stewart when we finished touring together. He’s an amazing source of ideas and was sending me ideas back and forth mostly on one of my favourite songs on the record, ‘Leaving On Time’. I kept thinking, I may as well go all out here, and figured it was time to add some less expected elements to the music I was making. Thats when I figured I’d try some things like the big backing vocal sections, and on the mentioned track I also employed the talents of a local sax player Alex Howroyd who did an amazing job.
After a success with building in female vocals with my own I expanded the idea further and asked Angie Hart down to the sessions. Angie is best known as the singer from Frente and has made some amazing records on her own. We worked together on a song called ‘To Mention Her’. A song basically about a fella who needs to let the idea of a past love go, because she’s moved on and its not worth daydreaming about. She basically provides that characters presence in the song, and as always, sounds amazingly unique.
The albums great drawcard for me, was the collaboration process. One song on the record ‘No Love Lost’ has been co-written with my oldest friend, Sedon Pepper. He’s been beside me from the first day of high school as a best mate and poet in his own right. Finally, I’ve had a chance to make something with the man, and via email from his home in New York and a couple of lyric writing sessions on the beach in Perth we’ve put together a song happily as a nod to our shared love of Springsteen.”