Jayden Lillyst
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Jayden Lillyst

Working alongside Philly of late, Jayden Lillyst has established himself as a musician who tells a story. He’ll soon be releasing an EP, which he is currently fine-tuning, but until then you can catch him at Narana Unplugged II.

Hi Jayden, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

Yeah, a few bits and pieces here and there. Shows here and there with Philly. I just did a spot on League Nation (NITV) with him last week. I’m currently going through my own works in the studio, and if all things going to plan, hopefully out [it will be out] later this year. Then just fillin’ out the rest of the time with pub and bar gigs with a few cover bands here and there.

You’ve been doing a few shows around the market scene and jamming with Philly and we heard there’s an EP on the way too, how’s it coming along?

The EP is coming along. I find I’m very particular at times with certain sounds and feels, and probably stubborn at times too. I’m working with a great young man, Daen Sansbury, and it’s all coming together. I’m keen to get it out there, but am happy to wait just to make sure I get it right. And will Philly be there – who knows? Will we be collaborating in the future – definitely!! Watch this space…

Philly is always a pleasure to work with. Great role model [and an] easy, chilled out character. We are constantly getting our nerd on when we catch up, thinking over battles between say, Batman vs Iron Man, Deadpool vs Wolverine, who is best, etc. Working with him has probably helped me and him out. I feel for Philly, the work we’ve done has shown his diversity and musicianship as an artist. Too many times, rappers are not given credence as artist, but he has kicked it up a notch and bought some honesty to the hip hop circle. For me, it’s helped keep my skills fresh and honest, and I have had some great opportunities working with Philly.

The markets and pubs, I will always love those shows. The main thing I think that stuff does for an artist is remind you of why you do what you do – to entertain, to make that person in front of you feel what you feeling; to connect.

Unfortunately your track with Philly didn’t quite make the hottest 100, are you gearing up for 2016 to be your year to make it in?

Well, when we heard we were able to be nominated, we were rapped. The way some of those things work, like triple j, aren’t necessarily conducive with what we wanted to do with that track. We preferred to say something, rather than just be heard, sound good and be popular. In the end, ours, his and my music will always say what it wants to say, and be where it needs to be. But it will always be what we, him and me, respectively, will want to say.

You recently did a tribute show to the legend Uncle Vic Simms, what kind of influence did he have on your music?

As someone more aligned with country/rock, it was always just good to have those people pioneer/lay a path down for you to walk – especially with country. His influence was probably more later in my life, as I probably defined myself as a bit more country/rock. My earlier influences would have to include Uncle Peter Rotumah, Uncle Archie, Uncle Kutcha. They all had specifics to their styles, but maintained the idea of story telling, of continuing a songline, and I guess that’s what I try to do with my music.

Shortly you’ll be performing at the Narana Unplugged session, have you been to the centre there before?

Yeah, plenty of times. [It’s an] awesome place and great spot. [I’ve] been involved with a few school groups that have come down to do workshops and event days for Koorie Students, some who I’d mentor. Always great experiences for the kids, and even some of the teachers. Open their eyes a bit too.

They’ve actually got a baby joey at the moment too, are you much of an animal person?

Yup. Have had cats, dogs, goldfish. Talk to the Waa’s/Crows and Magpies out front of the house. Even as a kid, dad had some friends with horses and, though I’d never ride, we’d always go visit and pat them and feed them.

Thanks again for taking the time to chat with Forte Magazine, is there anything else you’d like to add before we finish up?

Just to keep an eye on the Facebook page (Jayden Lillyst), and the YouTube (jaydenlillystmusic), and hopefully I’ll sort out entertaining you mob.

When & Where: Narana Unplugged II at Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Geelong – April 9

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