Jaguar Jonze 'Rabbit Hole'

Former Nightlifer takes the stage for Eurovision: Australia Decides

Music

Deena Lynch and her band Jaguar Jonze is one of the finalists for SBS Australia’s Eurovision selection event Eurovision: Australia Decides. Alongside a range of talented performers including Didirri, Montaigne and Vanessa Amorosi, Jaguar Jonze will perform on the Gold Coast next Friday and Saturday to a global audience of millions.

Even more exciting for us is that Deena is a former Nightlife employee and we can’t help but beat the drum for her a little louder than for everyone else. Her new single ‘Rabbit Hole’ is out today, she’s doing her first headline tour and an EP is in the works.

She chatted to us about such a massive start to the year!

Deena! Eurovision: Australia Decides, how did that come about?

It was actually pretty random! Jaguar Jonze was approached to perform a song that someone else had written, but I declined – I told them we had a single ready to go that fit with the timing of Australia Decides and they came back and said they loved it and wanted Jaguar Jonze to be a part of it. Which is the best possible way this could have come about!

What song are you singing and what does it mean to you?

My song is called ‘Rabbit Hole’ and it comes out today – same with the music video. It’ll go great on the Nightlife system!

I wrote it with my bassist at the end of 2018, when I was starting to face the rawness of learning about my PTSD. The rabbit is a metaphor for when I go through my episodes, I liken them to bunny rabbit/prey moments, the vulnerability and distress and fear I feel and how that manifests itself.

As a visual person (you’re also a photographer and visual artist), is there anything you can spill about your performance or staging for Australia Decides?

If you tune into the music video, it’s basically an extension of that world that I’ve created so make sure you check it out.

If you win (the winner will represent Australia in Rotterdam) what happens next, what will you do?

Cryyyyyyy. I honestly haven’t thought that far ahead, I’m just going one step at a time and my focus is on using this opportunity to showcase to Australia what I’m trying to do with my music.

Sorry I didn’t come into the office for this interview (Nightlife headquarters in Brisbane), I really wanted to! I actually really wanted to come in and say hello to everyone.

How did you get from here to where you are now?

A lot of grinding, a lot of hard work, working consistently and slowly chipping away at it. It’s important to have a good team around you, and my band and my friends and family all help to give me the support I need to keep doing this because it’s not always easy. Also the fans – they really help to keep you going, I actually had a fan give me a birthday present this year and I appreciated that so, so much.

Deena with Nightlife co-founders (from L-R): Vicki Brownlee, Tim de Souza and Mark Brownlee at the 2015 Queensland Music Awards

We all know you as Deena, so how did ‘Jaguar Jonze’ come about?

It was a name that was kind of given to me. As Deena a lot of people know me as bubbly, friendly and fun but on stage a different part of me comes out. Jaguar Jonze was kind of like an alter ego where all of that other stuff could come to the surface. It made sense for this project and I like and it and the alliteration is rad.

What do you remember of your days here?

Electro-tango! I listened to it all day for three days and it’s burned into my memory bank. Or that one time I listened to sad Vietnamese pop ballads, not understanding a word of what was going on and try to pick the tracks that would be great for a casino VIP room. Or the times when I was QA’ing music or visuals and I’m just thinking “I’m getting paid to QA visuals that are sick to watch!”. It was great!

And what about your most memorable moment at Nightlife?

My favourite memory is definitely the people and the relationships I have with the people. And that’s the most cliched answer. Some of my favourite people I have in my life have come from my relationship with Nightlife. It’s a really supportive community. The music industry can be pretty tough, Nightlife has always fostered support in whatever I wanted to do outside of whatever my role was at the time. I look back at Nightlife and realise how generous and supportive people were and still are.

What advice would you have for up and coming artists trying to get their music heard?

You know, it’s such a blanket question that it kinda depends on what kind of musician you are, what kind of music you’re making and what kind of a career you want to have. Your strategy could be to understand the Australian market – so either triple j or commercial. There are also bands that have made it successfully because they’ve gigged everywhere and impressed audiences by being able to be able to connect with people in the live space. That’s a valid strategy too. It’s so hard to answer – try to understand who your audience is and try to connect with them.

Some of your music is on crowdDJ, which lets people choose their favourite songs in public venues.

Yeah I was here when we launched it and I use it myself personally when I eat or go to a venue. To my crowdDJ fans, thanks for spinning my track at your favourite venues, I really appreciate all the love and support!

What’s next for you Deena?

I’m doing this Eurovision decider, then I go for my first headline tour and then I go to the States for SXSW and some other shows. And I’m performing at the QMAs (Queensland Music Awards) as well as being nominated in 2 categories.

‘Rabbit Hole’ is your new single, is there any other new stuff on the horizon?

I’m working towards an EP release now, working on the last 2 songs and then getting that out there after this one!

Deena, all the best for your performances at Australia Decides, we’re excited for all that’s to come!


Jaguar Jonze tour dates and ticket info, including for Eurovision: Australia Decides can be found here.

 

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