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Freda chats with Melbourne outfit Sweet Jean about their latest album “Monday to Friday”

Co-written by Sime Nugent & Alice Keath, Monday to Friday ranges from expansive, vintage synth-driven songs about space exploration to jangly, straight-shooting narratives of everyday life. Out through ABC Music Monday to Friday scored 4 stars from Rolling Stone Magazine, landed a spot in PBS FM’s feature records and Rhythms magazine called the offering “a glorious pop gem that gets warmer, darker, more lush the more you listen…a stellar release, the finest in alternative rock / pop you’re likely to find anywhere.”

Sweet Jean will be hitting the road with their tight-knit band in July and August. They’re thrilled to be sharing the stage with some great acts for their East Coast Tour.

I got ask Sime and Alice a few questions recently about the album, their musical style, their current tour and more.  Read the interview below!

Hello Sime and Alice!  Congratulations on the release of Sweet Jean’s sophomore album, Monday to Friday.  How does it feel to have your second LP out?  Is it a different kind of excitement from the first time?

Thanks! We had a lot of fun writing and recording Monday to Friday. No matter how many albums you’ve made (this is Sime’s 20th release so far) it’s always a great feeling when something you’ve created from scratch gets to stand on its own out in the world.

Your first full album Dear Departure was released in 2013, and since then you’ve made a mini LP (Greetings from Goodbye, 2014) and a 7″ vinyl (I See Stars, 2015), so you’ve definitely been busy in between album cycles.  How long has Monday to Friday been in the making for?

We worked on Monday to Friday over the course of a year and a half, writing and demoing the songs in our home studio, and then taking the tracks to John Castle’s Shed Studios to complete the production.

Reading reviews of your music, there was one comment that jumped out to me: “The duo has a natural ability to transport their audience to the heart of their songs” – that must be a big compliment as songwriters.  Where does your drive come from to compose songs with such emotion and that can connect with audiences that way?

As songwriters, our main goal is always to articulate ourselves and connect with people. Whether it’s someone getting in touch about a song that resonated with them, or playing a gig where you know the crowd’s completely on board with you. That’s when we know we’re doing our job.   

Respectively, what roles do each of you play in the band in terms of the writing process and producing?

The songwriting gets split pretty evenly between us. Sometimes we’ll work on co-writes, where we both have equal input, and other times one of us will bring an almost complete song to the table which we’ll then work on finishing together. Our producer John had a lot of input on this latest album in terms of arrangement and production.

sweet-jean-01Going way back, what was the inspiration for creating Sweet Jean? 

We started gigging together about 5 years ago. We began by playing old-time folk music, but started drawing on broader influences when we made our first album.

Your melodic, vintage, alternative folk style of music definitely has me as a fan.  How do you describe your sound?  Who would you say are your musical influences, past and modern?

Our music has been described as ranging from stark and gothic to hazy and melodic. Some of our favourite music includes Karen Dalton, Dock Boggs, Lou Reed, Feist, Dusty Springfield, Latin Playboys, and Patti Smith….. to name a few.

Right now you’re just getting into your tour that’s running through to mid-August – I suppose it’s too soon to ask for any stories or thoughts.  How do you imagine you’ll enjoy the shows?  Is it your first time playing at any of the dates?

We’re looking forward to returning to several venues that we know and really enjoy playing at. We’ll be on the road with our close friends and band mates, which is always a lot of fun. It’s always great to be on the move, meet new people, and play our new songs live.

What can the crowds expect from these shows?

For people who’ve seen us play live in the past, these shows will be a lot fuller, with more electric guitar and less banjo. We’ll be playing a lot of the songs from Monday to Friday and some selected songs of Dear Departure and Greetings from Goodbye. There’s also a Womack and Womack cover in this set.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions!  Best of luck to you and have a great tour.


Monday to Friday is available now on ABC Music.

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