Interview with Jenny And Johnny (oh you’ll know them soon enough)

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Rocking a midnight blue velvet frock, red boots and what appears to be a children’s denim jacket, Jenny Lewis saunters into the room, takes a seat, and smiles broadly exclaiming “Hey!” She is one half of the Californian soft-rock folk duo Jenny And Johnny, the second half being her significant other, Johnathan Rice. Both with hefty resumes under their belts, Lewis being a former child star and songstress of Rilo Kiley, and Rice also contributing his two cents to the film and music industry as a solo act, the duals combined success was inevitable. While in town recently for the Laneway Festival, Cream had the chance to catch up with Jenny to try and understand how this fresh duo captured the heart of our nation after a mere six months of formation.

SO HOW WAS LANEWAY?
It was really fun, kind of eerie though cause it [the Sydney location] was at the formal mental institute, so the vibes were pretty thick and with the wind whipping around, it was very eerie.

KIND OF APOCALYPTIC?
Aha.

IF THERE WAS TO BE AN APOCALYPSE AND YOU WUOLD CEASE TO EXIST IN 24 HOURS, WHAT DO YOU RECKON YOU’D DO?
Um, probably check Twitter one last time… No, I wouldn’t do that. I would brush my teeth, eat something delicious, and listen to a song or two.

WHO WOULD BE ON THAT PLAYLIST?
I love Lauren Niro and Deer Hunter. I love Nick Cave; such a handsome man and Barbara Streisand. Oh, and hip hop from the 90s, and some of Johnny’s old record collection.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO WORK WITH YOUR SPOUSE?
Well we hang out all the time anyway so we might as well hang out in a studio or on a stage playing music. Creative relationships are more intimate in ways than personal relationships.

WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO FORM A BAND?
It was kind of unplanned; Jonathan had one or two new songs that I really, really liked and would sort of sing along to when I could hear him in the distance. So we decided to go in and demo the songs and in doing so we kind of created a new band.

TO EASY! SO ARE YOU ENJOYING THE NEW BAND MORE THAN YOUR PREVIOUS VENTURES?
It’s just different. It’s cylical, you know. When you finish working on something you fall out of love because you get so sick of it and then there’s always a new-found appreciation for what’s new.

MUSIC’S NOTHING NEW FOR YOU, THOUGH, RIGHT?
Yep, you know what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree. My parents had a lounge act in Las Vegas, so I spent the first couple of years of my life there; my mum even went into labor on stage. I grew up with them on the road, then went to Los Angeles and have been there ever since.

DOES LA INSPIRE YOU?
Personally I tend to feel more creative when I’m driving around in parking lots or somewhere out in the middle of nowhere and sitting on the hood of my car. Also we played at Melbourne a couple of nights ago and there were all these sea-shipping containers stacked up by the port. The order and the colours, it sort of frees my mind a little bit.

WHERE’S THE MOST INSPIRING PLACE YOU’VE PLAYED?
Hometown shows are always fun after a long tour but I love playing in Japan, in Tokyo, and in Texas and Tennessee. I’ll pick all ‘T’ places. The crowds are really rowdy and really positive and supportive. You often play outside in Texas, and it buckets down; kind of reminds me of Australia, erratic beautiful weather.

DO YOU EVER GET NERVOUS ON STAGE?
Whisky helps. Whiskey for the pipes. And I used to be kind of superstitious where I would have to have a beer on stage; it would have to be down by my guitar pedals and I would just have to see it. And I spin a pick in my hand three times before the first song.

WHERE ARE YOUR TRAVELS TAKING YOU NEXT?
Coachella, which will be great. Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, and Crystal Castles are playing, so it’s pretty sick. It’s kind of like a mixed CD of what Jonathon and I have been listening to athe moment, actually.

IF YOU WEREN’T A JETSETTING MUSICIAN, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
Oh I don’t know, a waitress? I don’t think I would be very well equipped for any real job.

Jenny And Johnny’s debut album ‘I’m Having Fun Now’ is out through Warner Music.