Cable Ties – Jenny McKechnie

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As Melbourne is in another lockdown, it is our pleasure to bring you an interview with Cable Ties’ Jenny McKechnie. Cable Ties released their sophomore album Far Enough on Merge Records in March. It features singles like “Hope” and “Self-Made Man.”

Cable Ties are known both as a live act as well as their direct involvement in the Melbourne scene. This includes working with Girls Rock! and organizing their own festivals. Their song “Tell Them Where to Go” was featured on 13 Reasons Why.  Cable Ties has a fierce independent proto-punk sound. FEMMUSIC conducted this e-mail interview with McKechnie a couple of months ago. We are proud to present it now. Watch Cable Ties today, July 9 live at 4pm EST on Merge’s YouTube Channel. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/cableties1?fref=ts

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Far Enough?

JM: For me it was probably the song writing process. I put a lot of myself into the songs and it makes me feel quite anxious and vulnerable.

FEMMUSIC: On Far Enough you again worked with Paul Maybury. It sounds like he brings in a combination of live recording and very DIY. Can you describe the experience for me?

JM: Working with Paul is a really incredible experience. We record everything live with the amps cranked to get their best naturally broken up sound. That way there’s a lot of feel and give in the music too. Then we add guitar overdubs where needed and vocals later. Paul brings out the best in us. He knows when we can do better and when we’re just beating ourselves up. I can’t imagine recording with anyone else.

FEMMUSIC: I was reading in a prior interview of your work with Girls Rock! Could you tell me how you got involved? What does working with them mean to the band?

JM: Shauna has been a drum tutor a couple of times and the band has played live at a couple of camps. It’s so incredible to see the kids grow over the week and the inspiring song writing and collaboration they can do. There’s never a dry eye in the house by the time their final performance comes around.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about The Cable Ties Ball. How did you start it? How do you choose whom you invite to play?

JM: We started it when we won The Corner Award and got to put on a show at The Corner which is an 800 cap venue in Melbourne where you can have some really decent production. We jumped at the opportunity to put on our dream line up which included – Miss Blanks, The Dacios, HABITS and Simona Castricum. The next year we had another dream line up which included Friendships, P-Unique, Hits, Wax Chattels and Moody Beaches. I highly recommend checking out all of those bands!!

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FEMMUSIC: FEMMUSIC previews Melbourne Music Week every year. Tell me more about the scene in general. What’s your favorite venue? Band to work with? How are you and your friends working with COVID-19?

JM: The music scene we’re in is such a caring and creatively fertile space where people can make whatever weird and beautiful thing they wanna make and their friends will get around them. The Old Bar would have to be my favourite venue. It hasn’t been open throughout COVID-19 and I miss it and my friends so so much tbqh!

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

JM: Normally we write the instrumentation first. Many many hours of playing the same riff over and over. If we can’t play it for 30 minutes it’s no good. Then I’ll go walking around the streets listening to the recording of rehearsal on my phone and singing/ talking over the top of it. I’m sure some Coburg residents saw/ heard me make some breakthroughs during the album writing process in 2018/19!

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

JM: Hmmm just one?? Probably ‘Rabbit’ by The Dacios. Best opening song on an album ever imo.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

JM: Men used to like giving me unsolicited advice on my guitar playing and tell me I’d be better as a dedicated front woman. Honestly it just fuelled my fire. They don’t do it any more! I dunno why.

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

Ooooooh…! Downtown Boys. It would be such an incredible honour if we ever got to play a show with them.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

JM: I wish artists, techs and everyone else in the industry were financially supported. It’s a barrier that stops so many people from being able to commit to a music career because if you haven’t got a safety net to fall back on, being a musician is super super risky.

July 9th, 2020