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Not a Plain Jane

(In The Studio) Aurora Jane to come out with next album under Blue Frog

Jul 10, 2008

Hashim Badani

Aurora Jane and the Massive Change have been up the past three nights recording at the Blue Frog studios in Mumbai but show no sign of fatigue. The industrious lot is engaged in activity at 4 in the afternoon ”“ music seems a fulltime job. Bassist Tim Bennett fiddles with the skeleton of his wrecked distortion pedal; drummer Rebecca Flatt is busy setting up her kit while Jane and keyboardist Dan Brown meddle with their equipment to get the sound just right. They abandon the jobs at hand as we huddle up in one of the pod-like seating areas at the Frog.

Jane gives a faint impression of Alanis Morissette with her long tresses adorning her frail shoulder frame. The Australian singer-songwriter who was once described as the secret love child of Jimi Hendrix and Ani DiFranco does sound like an affected version of Morissette. But Hendrix is perhaps a forced inclusion suggestive of her mastery on the guitar, especially in light of the numbered female guitarists in the industry. “I discovered Alanis when I was about 19. She was a great influence in my song writing and in embracing the acoustic guitar again,” Jane says. She started busking around Australia at 13 with a band called Gertrude, slipping through a progression of various bands by the time she was 21. Realising along the way with the ever changing line-ups that a solo project suited her best, she formed Aurora Jane and the Massive Change. Bennett and Flatt are very recent inclusions to the project – it is their first time playing in India. “I don’t want to go back,” drawls Bennett as Flatt sighs regretfully; the two are to leave for Australia the next day while Jane and Brown shall stick around for a while. Jane, who is also a travel enthusiast, literally lives out of her suitcase covering mostly Australia, North America and India, though this year she toured Europe for the very first time. She toured with Canadian artiste and friend Rachelle van Zanten, playing in Germany, Holland and Belgium. “In Europe, the environment is very hushed at shows, and as a solo artist that is incredible as you are story telling,” she says.

She first came down to India in 2004 to play at the World Music Festival in Ladakh and has come down almost every year since, and today she is well-placed in the independent music community of India. This year, Jane and her band came down to India on June 11 for the recently held Pubrockfest playing 12 shows over a month through various cities such as Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. The current album will be recorded at three different locations – India, North America and Australia – with different musicians. While her previous album, Universal Language, cradled a very folksy-roots sound; this time she intends on revving it up a bit. “I am bringing on more electric guitars on this one. I am starting to feel a bit more of the punk and rock stuff from my teens than I did on my last album ”“ and my lyricism would be a bit more tongue in cheek and less literal.” The album is still in a very nascent stage as the band is just recording the basic layouts on tracks, Jane intends on bringing on board her musician friends like Arjun Sen of HFT (he guested on Universal Language) and Tipriti Kharbangar of Soulmate to add on to the tracks. The album will come out in India under the Blue Frog label mid-next year. After this, Jane will go to Canada to play at the Robson Valley Music Festival.

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