Friday Nights at NGV: Interview with Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders

Describe your sound in 5 words or less?
High, low and in between.

If your music was an artwork what would it look like?
Right now I’m seeing one of those Jeff Koons metallic balloon dog things walking down the street like no one was watching. Throwing some coins in the hat of a guy yodelling, then casually ripping a ladies arm off.

Do you have a favourite artist/artwork?
I have a picture of these 3 smiling stick figures covered in dots and feathers that I found in an op shop that makes me laugh whenever I look at it. It’s signed by Kevin Cooper. I don’t think he’s famous.

Besides that I went to the Chichu Art Museum in Japan a few years ago, which really blew my mind. It’s a building designed by Tadao Ando that houses Monet’s water lilies, some James Turrell light works and this bizarre installation by Walter De Maria. It’s about light and space and I think about those things a lot.

What’s your favourite gig you have played to date?
The last show of our US tour in Los Angeles at The Echo was the last and best show I can remember.

What inspires/influences your music the most?
Doing nothing. Just sitting around noodling. Music is more of a nervous tick for me. Or an idiot meditation. Somewhere between those two things.

What song do you wish you wrote?
Coconut by Harry Nilsson. To think I could have people lining up around the block to hear that.

What part of making music excites you the most?
There’s a video I saw of an African guy who wraps his leg up in bandages and jams it in a hole in the ground. Then these other guys drag him out and on the end of his leg is a giant anaconda. That reminded me a lot of my writing and recording process.

What can someone expect from your live show?
5 of Sydney’s best boys giving it all they’ve got. We play loud and soft, slow and fast. The whole hog.

Tell us about the last song or album you created?
The snake in the hole.

What is your favourite part of being involved in Friday Nights at NGV? I don’t know yet but it’s a great excuse to come and see the exhibition. Despite what any one says about Andy Warhol I’m always knocked sideways when I see his work in the flesh.

Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei showcases over 300 artworks that explore the parallels and intersections between the practices of these two exemplary artists. Are you excited about the exhibition?
Am I ever.

A large portion of the works included in the Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition include political or social commentary. Have you been inspired to do this through your music?
I write mainly from my personal experience but sometimes something bubbles up.

Andy Warhol famously said: ‘Art is what you can get away with.’ How would you respond?

Ai Weiwei once said: ‘A small act is worth a million thoughts.’ How would you respond?
“What’s for dinner?”

What else are you working on now? Or where are you next touring?
We’re working on our Dreamland spectacular for Sydney Festival. We’re trying to play a few of everyone’s songs in the band. It’s either going to be like The Last Waltz or Red Faces.

See  Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders Friday, Jan 8 at NGV.