It’s been 10 years since Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders — hailing from Sydney, Australia — released their first album, Not Worth Waiting For. Their second album, 2008’s Love Is Gone, is when the group started to taste major success, earning an Australian Music Prize nomination and winning a Red Bull Music Award for Best Debut Album. 2011’s Hurtsville upped the ante further, being shortlisted for an Australian Music Prize beyond the band receiving multiple nominations at the Melbourne Age EG Music Awards.
2014’s Playmates – which was released earlier this year via Fat Possum for the North American, South American and Japanese markets – keeps up the streak of critically-acclaimed tunes that ought to appeal to fans of Nick Cave and Bryan Ferry. Playmates singles “Come On Back This Way” and “To Keep & To Be Kept” both feature supporting vocals from Sharon Van Etten. Further a sign of growing mass appeal, Jack Ladder & The Dream Landers were the direct support act for Florence & The Machine on their Australian tour last month.
While Jack Ladder has played live in Manhattan before, he and the Dreamlanders will be doing proper headlining shows on Dec. 1 (Baby’s All Right) and 2nd (The Mercury Lounge). In support of that, Jack – otherwise known as Tim Rogers – spoke to Downtown for some Q&A about what it’s like to start anew for the U.S. market and what lies ahead for the group.
What do you wish more people knew about Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders?
Jack Ladder: We’ve been going for 10 years and we’re just getting started.
A lot of people get into rock and roll so they don’t have to dress up, yet in every video and performance I’ve seen of yours, you’re wearing a blazer. Do you have any tricks for performing while nicely-dressed but not sweating?
J: I was under the impression that rock n roll was about dressing up. Always air your clothes after a show. Mold is not your friend.
When did someone first call you Jack Ladder for the first time?
J: 2005. Hollywood Hotel. Sydney, Australia.
What do you remember about the first time you ever performed in New York?
J: I came to New York in 2008. I had a few friends on MySpace, but that was the extent of my leads. Luckily I met an Australian woman living in East Village in the business of booking bands. She was able to secure me the highly sought-after midnight set at the Rockwood Music Hall on a Monday night. I played for the sound engineer and a girl I’d met at the supermarket that afternoon. The sound guy played Mott The Hoople really loud after the show and told me I’d reminded him of them, which was strange but encouraging.
Per your upcoming New York City shows in December, how would you describe a Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders performance to someone who hasn’t yet seen you live before?
J: Impossible to describe. Just be there.
Is there anything you hope to do or accomplish while you’re in New York?
J: I have some old friends to check in on and new babies to kiss.
What’s ahead for the band once your U.S. tour is finished? Any writing or recording?
J: Back to Australia for the summer. Long walks on the beach. Late night swimming. Seafood BBQ. And new recordings.
Given all of your major international accomplishments over the past 10 years, is it troubling to have to start off with United States? Or do you welcome the challenge?
J: It’s no trouble at all. We’ve been waiting a long time to sink our teeth into the USA.
Of all those accomplishments, is there one that you’re most proud of?
J: I once played bass on a Bill Callahan live record. That was a special moment.
When you’re not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?
J: Submerging myself in bodies of water every chance I get.
What is your favorite album of 2015?
J: I’ve been listening to the Ann Peebles reissues through Fat Possum. Everyone needs these records in their life. The new Robert Forster album is excellent, too.
Finally, Tim, any last words for the kids?
J: Lighten up.
-by Darren Paltrowitz