Launching her debut album, the only way singer/songwriter/comedian Jude Perl was able to fund her music career was to sell her songs to a sugar company.
Learn more about Jude Perl in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How’s 2016 treating you so far? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you and your music?
Hello! Thank YOU for your time as well. My biggest highlight in 2015 was probably doing my first hour long comedy show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The show was called “Is It Just Me?”, you can check out a live version of the title track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnH066OCijY
I also spent time in the UK and Berlin and got to do some shows over there, one of which was at Ronnie Scotts with Natalie Williams and her incredible Soul Family band. Singing ‘What a fool believes’ with 4 of the greatest vocalists I’ve ever heard in my life was definitely a highlight.
Growing up, did you always know that you wanted to be a performer? Was your family always supportive of you and this goal?
I always loved performing, and I used to force people to listen to me sing, (‘you sit, I sing, don’t move’) but for a long time I wanted to be a filmmaker, for a not as long time I wanted to have my own greeting card business (this is true, I’m not trying to sound interesting and quirky, I have a collection of prototypes buried somewhere), but for the longest time I wanted to be a ‘person who sits and eats and watches episodes of 90s sitcoms’
Can you talk about your newest single, “Hungry And Horny”? Where did the inspiration for this song come from exactly?
I wrote this song in 2012 before I released my first EP ‘3am’. I’ve always had a real issue with advertising/media since I was a kid, I remember being really angered by the nature of it, especially when I saw how intertwined it was with the music/entertainment industry as well. I may not have had the words to articulate it as a kid, but I remember this feeling of being patronised, being told certain things were great and certain other things were not great. ‘Hot’ people are better and deserve better. You will be ex-communicated from your social group if you don’t own this/look like this/drive this. Always feeding off our deepest insecurities, our most basic animalistic desires. I didn’t like being told what to think, but the real message behind the song for me is that all these mixed messages from the media seep in so strategically, into our sub conscious, and are so integrated into many aspects of our culture that to truly dismantle it takes maybe a lifetime. Even though I have spent so much time trying to break down these messages, I still find myself trapped in so many of these beliefs.
What was the inspiration for your debut full-length album, “Modern Times”? Do you think you have changed much as a musician since you first released that collection of music?
Many of the songs on my album ‘Modern Times’ (including ‘Hungry & Horny’) are about our current cultural habits, how we live, eat, the advertising world and how easy it is to not pay attention to what’s happening around you. My favourite film is Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ and so I named the album after that. His film focuses on our need to propel technology forward, but at the cost of the dehumanization of workers. The film (which came out in 1936) is still so relevant now. My album isn’t necessarily discussing the exact same issues but perhaps some overarching themes are similar. It’s in the best interest of those in power if we are not as smart, healthy, happy and enlightened as we can be.
What was it like shooting the music video for “Hungry And Horny”? How creatively involved were you with the storyline and really the whole vision of it?
Monster & Bear (the production company that made all the videos, including the music video and the Sugar Co ads) are so amazing – and not just amazing in that I have to say positive things about them otherwise I sound bad, but they are actually such a great crew of extremely talented, hard working and fun individuals. I approached them having written the 3 jingles emulating 3 different eras of advertising and I knew I wanted ‘Hungry & Horny’ to incorporate the 3 eras in a music video. Myself and Sarah Hickey (who directed the videos) collaborated on refining the storylines of each video. To say it was enjoyable is an understatement. So many talented people brought a lot of time and energy to make all this happen, and I’m really grateful for that (for realsies)
The playlist of all the videos is here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4mu1ycBburdV5NuCS3swgNJ5ooqn3eeA
I understand that in the last year, you have branched out into stand up and music comedy. Has this always been something that you wanted to do? Why now have you really gotten into it? What’s that been like for you? How’s the reception been?
Ever since I found out what stand up comedy was, I was really intrigued by it and wanted to understand how it was possible that a person just on stage talking could make an entire room laugh. It was more of a bucket list thing for a long time, and 2 years ago I finally worked up the courage slash stupidity and performed comedy for the first time. Even though I sucked at stand up (and even now my aim is to be ‘passable’) I just love comedy and love being a part of it. Music comedy is just the best fun in the world and I love it more than anything. I love combining my passion for music with my passion for sarcasm. The highs of comedy are completely unmatched to anything I’ve ever experienced.
I’m curious to know how you got to be in the narrative concert- “Let’s Get It On – The Life & Music of Marvin Gaye” in Melbourne. Can you talk about that experience? Have you always been a big fan of Marvin Gaye’s music?
I posted a somewhat silly version of ‘sexual healing’ on youtube and the producers of this show saw it and it sort of went from there. I’ve been a MASSIVE Marvin Gaye fan since I first discovered his music as a teenager. Needless to say it was incredible to be a part of a show with a full piece band of some of Australia’s best musicians playing these great songs that certainly helped shape my musical identity. I was singing and narrating the story with Aussie actor/singer Bert Labonté, and he was so lovely and easy to work with, and such a talented performer all round.
How was your last run of shows? Why do you think that The Butterfly Club has been a good venue for you?
I just finished my second hour long comedy show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival at the Butterfly Club, and the venue is fantastic. They are really actively involved in helping the artists have the best show possible. I did my first show there last year and it was great. It’s one of my favourite places to play
Who are some of your favorite musicians? What about your favorite comedians? Who would you love to work with in the future?
My favourite comedian in the world is Maria Bamford. She is my hero, I love everything she has done. I know it’s an obvious choice but I also love Louis CK, Arj Barker, Flight Of The Conchords, George Carlin, Bo Burnham, I could go on forever. Some of my favourite music artists/bands are Stevie Wonder, Patrice Rushen, Chaka Khan, Janelle Monáe, The Beatles, Lauryn Hill, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire, Gap Band, Jamiroquai, Michael Jackson THERE ARE TOO MANY- I CAN’T STOP LISTING THEM. I would love to collaborate with Chromeo or Breakbot. Their albums are probably on highest rotation for me at the moment
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I want to say something like ‘always compassionately question everything you hear, even if it’s coming from inside your own head. It’s quite possible that that thought in your head came from a source that doesn’t have your best interests at heart and could be trying to stop you from growing as a person’ but what I really want to say is ‘if you buy my album, you will immediately become more sexually attractive. You’re friends will be impressed and jealous of you. The endless void inside you will be filled with joys you have never even dreamed of. So buy my album because it will fix every problem in your life you are worried about’
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I am obsessed with ‘The Nanny’ and have a song on my album about the grandma from that show. Every interview I do I manage to get a ‘Yetta’ reference in, and I’d feel weird-sad if this interview was an exception.