Regular Gonzales. Apart from being part of the awesome foursome making rockabilly music you can dance to, Jesse is also a rather excellent drummer. He is a man of few words, but an excellent subject: he is one of few people (especially males, at that) I have met who can be true in front of the camera and make it look effortless. I met Jesse and his sister Lauren through one of the other fantastic We Heart Collective ladies, Racheal.
So how has music been involved throughout Jesse's life? Put simply:
Music is my foreground and background. It's completely structured and ordered but there's an unexplainable element to it.
One night a friend sent me a song by a band he had just discovered. The song was loud, fast and unbelievably technical, a real mix of metal and jazz. I listened to that one song on a loop for a solid hour or so, and each playthrough revealed more hidden elements to the song. That's when I first realised that I had a true passion for music.
Albeit being an avid musician, Jesse finds himself dissatisfied with current music as a whole. He pushes himself to create new sounds through his desire to hear different music; something new, something he has never heard before. When asked where he feels his desire to hear new music stems from, and how he goes about finding and creating something original, Jesse said:
Pretty much any answer I can think of makes me out to be a big ol' hipster. Wanting to hear interesting music comes from the blatant un-creativity of, say, top 40 music. I hear a song and straight away pick out the generic chord progression, or the autotuned vocals, and it's like yeah, why are we still celebrating these same songs? Most music that is happening today has already been done, 30 years ago.
I'm always trying to find a new way to put things together. I like to use dissonance and unexpected rhythms, it's the kind of stuff you just don't normally hear, but it sounds amazing! I'm always trying to build up my library of ideas. New chords, new scales, different rhythmic devices, syncopation. I've been going through a bit of a spanish guitar phase recently, because it sounds brilliant in a rockabilly setting and again, it's not something I've heard too much of.
The Brisbane rockabilly scene has grown since when I myself was given my first taste of it sometime back in 2008. It's not surprising that more and more people have found themselves drawn to the genre, especially with bands like Regular Gonzales delivering contagiously upbeat tunes and a killer performance to boot. I asked Jesse what he loved about rockabilly, performing with Regular Gonzales and if there was anything he was looking forward to with the band at the moment:
The great thing about rockabilly: I've never heard anyone say they don't like it. Either they already like it, or they've never heard it and then you show them and they go 'oh wow thats cool!'. The scene in Brisbane is great and getting bigger. The fashion is great too (come on, who doesn't love pin up girls?).
I'm looking forward to writing and recording the second Gonzales album. We have great ideas and I feel like I'm pushing myself further into new territory. [My] favourite part about performing—being able to do the cool-guitar-guy stage moves that we all grew up watching, and getting the crowd response to something we've created.
Suffice to say, Jesse's relationship with music didn't start (and nor will it stop) with his band. Despite there having been so many other genres Jesse could have been exposed to, and so many other instruments he could have chosen from, rockabilly, the drums and the guitar have always been his element.
We grew up with rockabilly. Dad has always played drums in working bands so we were always surrounded by the music and the scene. I've been drumming my whole life and been playing guitar for half of it. I love those instruments because that's what I grew up with.
Playing guitar in a rockabilly band is currently great fun, but I'm a realist. Odds are, in the next couple of years, something will happen that will force the band to break up. Statistics are against us. Someone might have to move away, or want to do different music, or something. So we're just going with the flow. Whatever happens, happens. I try and use that as much as I can.