Spacey Jane share new single ‘Lunchtime’ and talk their second album, about “being young and not being OK”

Frontman Caleb Harper talks to NME about the “very fun song” they’ve just released and lifts the curtain on the Fremantle band’s follow-up to debut album ‘Sunlight’

Fremantle four-piece Spacey Jane have released their second single for the year, ‘Lunchtime’.

Written at a time when frontman Caleb Harper was experiencing “severe hangover anxiety”, ‘Lunchtime’ is a quick-starting rock track that boasts in-your-face electric guitar riffs from Ashton Hardman-LeCornu.

The single arrives with an accompanying music video from Matt Sav and Julia Jacklin collaborator Nick McKinlay. In the video, Harper leaves and returns to a formal lunch with his bandmates, getting battered and bruised in the process.

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Following ‘Lots Of Nothing’, ‘Lunchtime’ is the band’s second new song since the June 2020 release of their debut album ‘Sunlight’. With four songs landing on triple j’s Hottest 100 last year – including ‘Booster Seat’ at Number Two – ‘Sunlight’ will be a hard act to follow. Spacey Jane haven’t let that put them off, though: their second album has already been recorded.

Speaking to NME from his home in Fremantle, Harper explains the inspiration behind ‘Lunchtime’ and its music video, and how the track sits alongside Spacey Jane’s future musical plans.

This song is arguably more fast-paced than most of the songs on ‘Sunlight’, and Ashton certainly gets to shred a little more. Is this a new sound you’re looking to explore?

I think ‘Lunchtime’ is a very fun song for us. And it’s weird writing a really fast song. For me, I sort of do it intentionally, like: let’s do something fast and fun because it’s so good to play live. You really just get to rock around and the effect on the listener is quite immediate.

But the rest of the record is actually not really that fast, there’s a lot of slower stuff in there. This is definitely the most guitar-driven song on the album, I’d say. It feels like a more youthful, fun version of the kind of music that we make and we like it for that reason. We wanted to have it as a single just because we felt like it was like an outlier in some ways to what the rest of the record might end up being.

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It’s interesting that you describe the song as “very fun” when the lyrics are still quite sad. Are you drawing from a recent time in your life?

I wrote it back in March-April last year, actually, during COVID. I was living with my dad for a little bit while COVID first hit and everything was very unsure. I was waking up super hungover all the time without much of a reason to be drinking by myself in isolation.

It was a really hectic time coming up for a lot of people. And those reflections that were thrust upon you, whether or not you were ready to do that – you didn’t really have much of a choice. Getting used to that stillness was quite intense. It harkens back to a time that I’m no longer in, so it’s nice to reflect on it in that way.

Where did the idea behind the music video come from?

The idea of it being a lunch was something we thought would be easily relatable in a way that’s not too tacky. This concept came up where I would enter this space where all this shit starts happening to me – it’s like a subconscious space that I’m experiencing in my mind. Then, as I re-enter the lunch, it snaps back to that scene and the things that have happened to me in that surreal, subconscious world are actually physically affecting me in the place that I am, with this weird family that I have.

“When we’re not doing something, it’s because we can’t do it. Otherwise, we would have been here, there and everywhere”

Considering you wrote this song before ‘Sunlight’ came out in June 2020, have you had any time to decompress or draw from new experiences over the last 18 months?

There’s been so much happening, so in some senses there’s a really amazing wealth of inspiration and ideas to pull on. We as a band – and me as an individual – have gone through a huge amount of change in our lives, and that change is something that has been nice to document and work through and express.

Even with downtime, the stress of COVID and what that means for many, many people – especially in our case as touring musicians – is pretty intense. When we’re not doing something, it’s because we can’t do it. Otherwise, we would have been here, there and everywhere. I suppose the quiet moments are usually quite anxious moments as well, and so it’s been a weird time in that sense.

I’m hoping that after this album comes out, we do a good chunk of touring and there is a scheduled break. I think that’d be really good for us. But at the same time, it’s not something we want to do – I haven’t wanted to stop and slow down since ‘Sunlight’ came out.

We’ve all had a bit of time off here and there, but this is what we love, and it’s nice to always be working and writing and recording. I feel like we collectively have this sense of urgency about it. I’m not sure where that comes from, or if it’s justified, but it’s sort of how we operate a little bit and it tends to, I guess, be a productive way of being.

So with your second album now recorded, what else can be expected from future releases?

I suppose the rest of the record is more focused on textures of guitars, as opposed to in-your-face guitars, especially with Ashton on the lead. There’s lots of synth stuff and lots of ambient sound. I liked the idea of just not playing as much guitar myself. I’m not sure if I actually achieved that, but the intention that I had to do it really impacted the way that I played.

We worked with a different producer on it and he’s done a lot of pop stuff and he really loves the space and the big sounds and the bits in between them. We worked hard on making it feel very textural.

I think what I aimed to do with the album from a songwriting perspective was be a little bit less introspective. This song definitely is more in the earlier part of the writing process, so a little bit more in line with the older stuff. But I wanted to tell more of a story about what I think is a more generic experience for people leaving school, figuring out what to do with life, and the anxiety of that late teens/early twenties period.

People have this idea that you’re supposed to be really happy and it’s the best time of your life, and it can be. But also it can be really hard. When the world’s telling you that it’s the best time of your life and you should be really happy – when you do feel shit, when you do struggle with mental health, anxiety or the stress of not knowing what to do with your life, you often feel quite alone and ostracised, which is the worst thing that you could feel in that instance. It’s kind of like a sob story on that – being young and not being OK. I wanted to give a voice to that.

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