You might recognise Jason Singh as the lead singer of Taxiride. He launched his solo album in October 2013 and is about to embark on a tour of Sanity stores, but he’ll be back in town each Saturday night to play at Melbourne Public with his friend Adam Surace. Jason has been in residence at Melbourne Public on Saturday nights since its opening. We had a chat with Jason about his solo career and his new solo album, Humannequin.
Where did the name ‘Humannequin’ come from?
Well I took the cover photo of me painted as a mannequin, or painted white, because I was going to print the lyrics on my body. Without the lyrics it looked really kind of beautiful and arty; the word just sort of came to me and bang, ‘Humannequin’ was born.
You did all the writing for Humannequin, how did you find that process?
It was good. I really went back to my original love of pop music and artists like Prince and Michael Jackson and some more modern electronica stuff like Bjork and some French electronica bands.
You’ve got your own family, a wife and a son – do they turn up in any of your music?
I’ve got two sons now. They help me be normal. Very normal. Being that normal person is why I wanted to make this record. I couldn’t live in the fantasy bubble that’s being in Taxiride anymore. I wanted to just be a person again. That probably sounds really pretentious and really weird, but you can get really lost when you’re doing something so huge.
Is it a hard industry to be in and have a family at the same time?
I don’t think so. It’s hard when you go away but since I’ve had kids, I haven’t really gone away for long periods of time like I used to with Taxiride. You can get a record mixed over the internet, you don’t have to go to America like we did then and sit there for three months – you send a track and you get it back and you go, ‘thanks.’ You don’t even have to leave home.
What are the pros and cons of being a solo artist versus being in a band like Taxiride?
The pros and cons are probably the same for and against. In one way you don’t have to rely on everyone else’s opinion or, you can just speak your own mind, but that can be the hard part about it as well. You haven’t got anyone to fall back on and even though that can be good sometimes, it sucks sometimes.
Have you always done pop music?
Originally, when I met the guys from Taxiride, I was all about pop music. That’s what I grew up on. ‘Pop,’ it’s a dirty word, but when I say pop, I’m talking about everything from Daft Punk to [Judas] Priest. They’re all relevant to me. I do love rock as well – it depends on what I’m doing, if I’m in the gym I’m listening to Rage Against the Machine. If I’m in the car I’m Blues [Climax Blues Band], Sign of the Times. For me it’s just a mood enhancer – when I want to be angry (not that I’m angry) I put on angry music and when I want to cruise I put on cruise music. It’s a lot cheaper than mind-altering drugs – mind-altering songs instead.
How have you seen the Melbourne Public gig change over the years?
You know what, for me it’s always been a very similar vibe, a cruise-y kind of night. We have a lot of regulars that come specifically to see us play. It really depends, sometimes it’s really cruise-y, sometimes it just goes bananas, so I’ve got to be flexible enough to sing whatever I can. I know over 1,000 songs, so hopefully people just yell them out and I can play them.
Jason Singh plays at Melbourne Public (most) Saturday nights from 9pm. We wish him the very best on his solo tour (and thank him for coming back to play Melbourne Public each week!). Check out Jason Singh’s Facebook for his tour dates.