19 Jun 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Jaggers x Lines - Jaggers x Lines Newsletter Interview

01 Jun 2018 // An interview by ShelleySketch

Shelley has had an incredible month interviewing for muzic.net.nz. She had a great chat with Eliana from Jaggers x Lines over the phone. This is how it went down.

Kia Ora Eliana! How are you?

I’m very good. Thanks for calling.

You’ve previously mentioned that Jaggers comes from Morgan’s producer name, that you’re Lines and you see them more as a persona. Did you instantly have that idea? How did you get to the point where you were like this is our name?

I think it was a pretty instant thing. For me thinking of names and titles is something that I really like. To me it’s a really important part of a project to have a good name and something that is a cohesive metaphor or at least fits and feels natural. So, we had been making music together for about a month and it just came out. Like most things do it just kind of fell out of my head (laughs).

How would you describe your music?

When we first started out I would describe our music as trip pop and that’s because the first EP that we released last year, Letters, had much more of a darker & ambient sonic landscape. And now I’m kind of calling us Alt-Pop because I feel like pop music is an essential part of what we do, and I feel like that’s how I’d describe us. I think we make stuff that’s a little bit weirder and less polished. The best way to describe it is pop music made by two people who don’t come from pop backgrounds and are just trying to do it.

You said your lyrics are very personal. But is there anything else that inspires your writing?

For basically all my writing, but definitely Jaggers X Lines, I don’t think I’ve written a single song that isn’t personal in some sense. Some are definitely more personal than others. Some are therapeutic songs for me where I need to get something out, so I turn it into a song. Some are more personal in a conceptual way. I think they’re all personal because they’re all about ways in which I experience the world or things that have happened to me. I don’t think I could write anything that wasn’t personal. I think that’s why I feel weird when I write something isn’t personal because I don’t feel like it’s accurate. Anything that’s not my own experience isn’t my place to comment on and especially when I’m making art I want to be as accurate as possible. So, the best way to do that is to keep it personal.

You’ve just released your new single Problem Drinking. It seems a bit theatrical but also a bit grungy. Can you tell us more about it?

Yes, I can (laughs). So, this is the third single from our impending debut album called Burn Cycle. It will be coming out around August this year. There will be another single from the album in about a month's time. Problem Drinking is surprise surprise a very personal song. It’s about my experiences of mental illness and using alcohol as a coping mechanism. It was also born out a really difficult night that I had about four years ago, and the memory just slammed into me one night and I was just back in the hallway of my old house. I just remembered how I felt at that point of my life and I just remembered using alcohol really heavily. Yeah and I just needed to write a song about it. What I love about this project are that they are often intense & very personal odes that I’ve written and then they’re interwovern with these great dance beats. I find it a bit hilarious. I think there’s something very powerfully be gained out of making something joyful and empowering out of things that have been difficult & painful. So, I think there’s that aspect to it as well. For me personally that’s something that I get out the music.

The album cover is of you and Morgan sat on the sidewalk. What’s in his hand and in your mouth? Is it a lime? Where do the cover ideas come from, as the few singles on Spotify just seem to be images of yourselves?

(Laughs) It’s a very, very, very small apple. When we were doing a photoshoot with our friend taking photographs, Jessica Thompson and we were walking down past the house where I was living when Problem Drinking was kind of inspired or when those events happened. There was a tree of these little apples and me and Morgan just became kind of enamoured with them. Then were just kind of like here taking photos of me eating this tiny apple, which is obviously a really normal thing to do.

A lot of your single covers are like that, just images of you both. Is that the way you guys plan to keep it or is it just what worked at the time?

It’s kind of half & half. I guess I’m now kind of trying to have a more cohesive approach to our visual representation. But previously it’s been just kind of whatever I have at my disposal at the time. I think two of the photos your thinking of are photos we did our friend Sam O’Leary who’s an incredible photographer and then we did the photoshoot with Jess. So, just using those high-quality images are just really great. In the future we’re changing it a bit, I was talking to the artist who’s doing the art for our next single and it’s going to be a drawing and our album cover is the same from another local artist. But yeah, we’ll see.

You guys seem to be playing a bunch of group shows at the moment. Do you think you’d do a solo Jaggers X Lines tour soon or do you prefer these types of shows?

After the album comes out we definitely will. 100%. We did a mini headline tour of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, a NY festival and Dunedin at the end of last year/beginning of this year. We’re playing in Wellington on July 13th. But after the album comes out we’ll definitely do a tour of New Zealand and try to hit a lot more places. I want to do more than just Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. I want to go to Nelson, Hamilton etc. I think it will be a really fun thing to do. We’re also looking at going over to Australia. Then the next goal is next summer in Europe.

What music do you enjoy listening too?

So much! I’m the kind of person where I’ll listen to music constantly. I have music in my headphones when I go to sleep, when I wake up and literally 24/7. I tend to listen obsessively, so it’ll be songs I listen to when I’m reading a book, songs I listen to when I’m walking around, songs I listen to in the shower etc. At the moment I’ve been getting obsessed with Broadway Musical type songwriting. In terms of stuff that informs Jaggers X Lines, when we were recording I was listening to a lot of Billie Eilish, a lot of Oh Wonder and also Marika Hackman who’s first album really informed the making of the EP. But other than that, my tastes are all over the place. At the moment I’m super obsessed with this Billy Joel cover from this TV series sung by this Broadway Star Christian Borrel. I’ve listened to it probably over 1000 times in the past two days. It’s a cover of Vienna and it’s really touching...

What is the one thing you want NZ to know about yourself?

I would say that we’re really fun to see live. So, if you get the chance I would highly recommend doing it. I think there’s something that’s so special about live music and so special about how a group can be perceived and experienced live versus recorded. I love both formats with all my heart. But in Jaggers X Lines our recordings are great but there’s something special that happens when we get on stage. Morgan’s so talented and it’s really fun to watch him do his thing live. He’s scratching and pushing all these buttons and I’m like jumping around being hyper hyper stimulated.”

Other than I would say look out for our next single and look out for our debut album because they’re awesome. We finished most of the material last year and we’ve been kind of refining it. We’ve recorded some new stuff this year as well. It’s a collection of songs I’m really excited about and it’s very different to our EP. Even with the spread of singles we’ve already released, there’s so much new sounds & tracks that are going to be on the album. I feel like people don’t really know what the Jaggers X Lines sound is necessarily and I’m really excited for them to get a broader picture of that after the album’s out.

Anything else to add?

We’ve got a new music video out now. The music video is great because it’s an idea that I had wanted to do for years. When I was in Berlin this time last year me and my friend Joey Bania, who is a really incredibly talented film maker, just went into this parkland filmed the whole thing in a day and it was amazing. It basically involved me covering my face and upper body in glue and waiting until it dried clear and then peeling it off. It looks like I’m peeling off my own skin. It’s really cool and freaky. Joey did all this great stuff in post-production and it’s like this like a mind fracturing. It was so fun to make. Music Videos make me super happy.

Thank you for doing this interview with me Eliana. It was super nice talking to you and maybe we’ll meet in person one day. I’m sure we will because New Zealand’s really small, and I'll look forward to it.


About Jaggers x Lines

New Zealand’s Jaggers x Lines (Eliana Gray and Morgan Smilie) continue to surprise with their eclectic approach to pop music. Piano trills, horn blasts and insistent bass punctuate the sample heavy breakbeats. A disarming mix of jazzercise records, Gray's intimate vocals and Smillie's turntablist sensibilities; Jaggers x Lines sound like the moment the house party starts to break.

Formed in the early morning hours of 'world's smallest bar' where Gray used to work, a jam session transformed into a debut EP Letters, recorded in Smillie's bedroom over the course of two weeks. Four singles, a national tour and an impending debut album and music video later, the scratch-happy duo is finding out exactly what happens when you filter the mind of a pop-obsessed poet through the beats of a producer who grew up in Dunedin's underground MC scene.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jaggers x Lines


Burn Cycle
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Year: 2017
Type: EP

Other Interviews By ShelleySketch

ABRZY Newsletter Interview
01 Jun 2018 // by ShelleySketch
ABRZY was hit with the struggle from day one. Growing up on the rough streets of Bangladesh as a young kid, ABRZY was exposed to a lifestyle that would one day spawn his creative muse and allow him to channel visions for a better future.
PT Newsletter Interview
01 Jun 2018 // by ShelleySketch
Shelley recently sat down with PT at Auckland Art Gallery to catch up with him and see what he’s been up to. The interview kicked off with us discussing social media and technology.
Seth Haapu Newsletter Interview
01 Jun 2018 // by ShelleySketch
Shelley sat down and had a great chat with Seth Haapu at Shaky Isles in New Lynn. Here’s what he had to say: How would you describe your music?
Nicole Andrews Newsletter Interview
01 May 2018 // by ShelleySketch
Wellington based singer and electronic musician, Nicole Andrews, released her second and highly anticipated album, A Stranger, on May 4th, and has a national album tour taking place from 10-25 May.  Her music is described as “Simple, stripped back, yet incredibly solid” by NZ Musician Magazine; and The Listener Magazine have said “for those who like their femininity fierce and fearless.
April Fish Newsletter Interview
01 Apr 2018 // by ShelleySketch
A name born from the literal translation of the French term for "April Fools (day)", April Fish is pianist/singer-songwriter Katie Morton ably backed by John Costa. The music is a concoction of soundscapes with an artistic freedom that is so left of the middle, it's as if Tim Burton and Kate Bush are in command of the Starship Enterprise as it boldly accompanies Alice down the rabbit hole.
Jed Parsons Newsletter Interview
02 Mar 2018 // by ShelleySketch
Jed Parsons is a fresh young talent hailing from Christchurch. At 20 years old, Parsons is the youngest member of the ‘Fledge’ creative collective, and he is already gaining a powerful reputation in the music scene as a talented drummer and a singer/songwriter.
Ghost Who Walks Newsletter Interview
02 Mar 2018 // by ShelleySketch
Ghost Who Walks have their own style of homegrown funk, rock and blues, complete with a tight rhythm section and a groove that will make you move. Since their inception, they have wowed audiences with their electrifying live sets.
View All Articles By ShelleySketch

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Tommy Richman
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Billie Eilish
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Post Malone feat. Morgan Wallen
    Kendrick Lamar
    Billie Eilish
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem