Loretta Miller

  • Words. Elly-Grace Rinaldis
  • Photography. Lilli Waters

Music | March 30 2017

It’s a Saturday afternoon. I’m en-route between jobs; yeah, split shifts really get to you. I knew that listening to something whimsical yet powerful would help soothe the soul until midnight. Talking In Your Sleep did not disappoint. In fact, the first time I listened to it, I (no joke) stopped the car to put it on repeat. It’s hard to skip a song that instantly grabs your attention. From a beautiful piano entrance to diving into Loretta Miller’s vocals, we, as mere listeners are taken on a Jazz Party journey through heart-breakers territory.

Oh my lord, what a lovely track! Tell us more about Talking In Your Sleep and the creation process behind it.

Thank you! It was a joint effort. We had booked the recording studio, band and producer and we were still short on a song or two for me to sing. So Darcy (JP band Leader) came to me with the bones of a few songs. The line “Talking In Your Sleep” stood out to me straight away. I love drama and mystery, intrigue, all that sort of thing. We worked on it together, making sure the lyrics were just right. I sat with it for a while, tried to learn it, sing it whenever I could, get it in my soul to find the rest of it. One afternoon when I was baby sitting & pushing the pusher through my neighborhood, it came to me. I felt it had been missing something; it needed to lift from where it was. I started to hear the chords and how the backing vocals would sound in a new section. I brought those ideas to Darcy and that became the chorus and outtro of the song. So it’s sort of a big deal to me, my first writing credit.

So, how does this track compare to others, Mountain Goat and Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard?

Straight up differences – Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard is heavy, sexy and dramatic, Mountain Goat is cheeky, light hearted and fun and Talking In Your Sleep is heartbreaking and powerful. They all have something different to offer.

What ties them together is the fact that we (Jazz Party) are playing them, they’re all written by Darcy and they’re all played with such joy and passion.

You mention the song being a ‘Dreamy wall of sound; a heartbreaker with an edge’. This description brings wonderful imagery into mind before the soulful vibes even hit my eardrums. I want to know, how does this edgy heartbreak song compare to others produced in our modern day pop world?

I’m not sure… Talking In your Sleep is a story, and it gets you right where it hurts. Most people can resonate with the feeling of betrayal. As humans we are generally connected to things we understand. Good imagery helps with that. I think the music and the lyrics really work together to build into this emotional crescendo at the end of the song.

And it’s catchy on top and musically beautiful… look at me talking up my own shit! 
I don’t think I could say how it compares. There’s a lot of crap pop music and there’s a lot of good pop too. Some of it’s like junk food – good for consuming and then maybe regretting later, but the good stuff always has some depth to it, whether it’s in the music, lyrics or both.

I love that junk food analogy, so true. This is your first ‘official’ single as front-women for Jazz Party. In your perspective, how has the transformation to the front been? Did you learn anything new about yourself, both musically and personally?

Well I have been performing as co front women in this band for a long time, I’m always learning and the band are very supportive of me. They mostly tell me to stop doubting myself. It’s the first recording I’ve done as front woman and I absolutely felt that pressure. My only other experience was with my old band the CBBR (Clairy Browne & The Bangin Rackettes) as a backup singer. I always wanted more then that, even though I’m extremely proud of my work there and thankful for that time. We recorded this new JP stuff with the same producer in the same studio. It was very nerve racking and even emotional for me. I kept comparing the situation to what I’d seen in the past.

We ran the song all together in the same room, which I assumed was to warm up the band. I was absolutely terrified and said to Steve (Steven Schram, Producer) “I’m going to get to go in the booth though right? And do it over a thousand times, and make it perfect?” He just said “Well it sounds pretty good in there so just keep going.”

When it was all done I was upset. I felt like I’d let the team down. I didn’t like my vocal and wanted to try and re-do it but it was recorded live with the band and Steve said something like “look, that’s a performance. You can do it over a thousands times but I don’t know why you would mess with that.”

Being the only female member in the band must be difficult at times. Do you feel that you share similar band direction to the men or do you often clash due to gender roles?

I miss the female camaraderie; it’s something that can’t be replaced… I miss cuddling my girl Ruby in our shared hotel bed on tour, the bond we formed on the road. Sisterhood is so, so special. There are times where I might feel a bit annoyed or feel the need to speak up and bring certain issues to light, or I will raise concerns I have about things – and I do feel like I’m heard. But there are also times where I have suggested things and not been heard and felt frustrated, and then had one of the guys later say loudly, “Yeah that was a great idea LORETTA had.” It’s nice to know that even if everyone wasn’t hearing me someone was and they weren’t just going to let it go. Sometimes you have to remind people that the way they see the world is not the only way. It’s hard for most men to understand what it would be like if the situation was reversed and they were the only male in an all women band and how that might be a bit scary or lonely at times. I do feel mostly very lucky though, they are amazing musicians and humans that I get to work with and I love the shit out of them. Jules and Darcy were both members of CBBR with me, so they’ve definitely been schooled on working with a group of powerful and strong women who are unafraid of telling it like it is.

Woo! Strong powerful women are what we love to hear about at The Ladies Network. I’m interested to know how Monday night parties have helped shape the sound and vibe of JP?

That’s the spirit of us, and that’s why we have such a silly name hahaha. Darcy used to yell it out on the mic and the crowd would scream it back and there you have it. 
The Monday night parties we throw started as a release for Darcy and Jules in between all the commitment and stress and business of our other band. I came along to the first one and sung and then never left haha. Eventually I said “You really need me in this band, look how much I love it, look what I bring to it that no one else can!”

It was about the pure joy of music. Mondays are also a time when most musos aren’t working so it was a chance for us to play and jam with our friends that we might otherwise never get to see. It’s a place to be wild and unrestrained, to play long solos and dig deep, to dance on the bar, to not pander to an audience but to take them on a ride with you. Absolutely, insanely talented musos laying it all out for you – So much fun!

Love it! I’ll definitely come along one time! Okay, now for the clichéd question…what’s in stall for Jazz Party in 2017?

Well we just released a new, stripped back super emotional live video of the single, and the launch is on Friday the 31st of March at Howler, so that’s been taking up a lot of time. What I would love is to continue to write and create as much new music as possible with this group. That’s the most exciting stuff for me. Darcy is an extremely talented songwriter, I feel he’s underrated in this town and the band is full of insane musical geniuses. Beyond that, we’re working on our debut album, have lots of festivals coming up. We’ll be playing a special Twin Peaks show to celebrate the new season (we have done one of these before on Christmas Eve and it was amazing), and then just general kicking ass kind of stuff, yeah.

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