SAMN: First off Welcome home! You have just returned from an exciting tour of Europe. Can you tell us where your travels took you?
JON: Thank you. It’s good to be home. This year our tour took us around Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Czech Republic.
SAMN: Was this your first time performing in Europe?
JON: No. This was the 3rd consecutive year that I’ve toured there. I find touring to be more fruitful if you return to a place regularly and build a fan base.
SAMN : Did you focus mainly on presenting the new album “Speak your mind” to your audiences and if so how did they receive the new songs?
JON: The European tour was actually with my band, The Shabs. Now that I’m back I’m going to be pushing Speak Your Mind and tour in nationally and internationally in 2019.
SAMN: Whilst performing in Europe can you tell us about your most definitive moment on stage?
JON: Our last show of the tour was at a festival called Mighty Sounds in Czach Republic. We played a really good set and had a good time slot and then straight afterwards went across to another stage and did an ‘acoustic set’. Those 2 sets stand out as being the 2 best sets of the bands existence. It was actually unreal and seems like a dream now.
SAMN: Is there a significant difference between South African audiences and that of international fans? Are they more or less engaging and did you feel they were relating to your music?
JON: It really depends on where you are. I’ve found that the crowds in Germany are very similar to SA. The Swiss are more reserved and you don’t necessarily get a lot of energy back from them, but they really listen and appreciate the music. The Czechs are something else. The energy from the crowds there is unreal. But one thing’s for sure, the appreciation for live music in Europe is way more than back home. The SA scene can learn a lot from the music scene there.
SAMN: Do you believe you have established a good fan base from this tour and are there plans to return?
JON: Yes. Definitely. I’d estimate that we have a bigger fan base in Europe than we do in SA. Haha. That’s mostly because there’s just more of a market for our music I guess. We already have some shows booked for March 2019 and we’ll be touring our 2nd full-length full band album as The Shabs
SAMN: As most of your writing has been influenced by your travels, life, and performances did this tour bring new experiences and ideas for new material ?
JON: Most definitely. I always feel the most inspired after some time on the road.
SAMN: Since the release of your first solo album, “Fortune favours the brave” to your latest in 2018, “Speak your mind”, in what way would you say your music has changed or progressed? You mentioned before that you approached “ Speak your mind” very differently than your first solo album. Can you elaborate on that?
JON: I think after 3 years of performing nationally and internationally full time, I’ve just matured as a person and as a musician. I’ve watched a lot of music and listened to a lot of new artists and that naturally helps develop a person as a songwriter. Fortune Favours the Brave was an awesome album and I’m very proud of it. It was just me and my guitar. Speak Your Mind is a very different offering. Firstly, it has songs that range from being solo to being a full band with horns and everything. Each song is its own little project. The songs really developed and grew in the studio and I love the final product and couldn’t be more stoked with how it turned out.
SAMN: With regard to the collaborations on your new solo album, how did it come about that Stelth Ulvang , Ann Jangle, Jay Bones etc. got on board, did you know from the outset who would bring the right essence to each track or was it by chance?
JON: When I was planning the collaborations, it did seem quite obvious to me who I would like to perform on the songs. All the collaborators are amazing musicians and friends and we’ve shared a lot over the years. I’m really grateful to all of them for their contributions and the album could not be what it is without them.
SAMN: Jon, tell us how you do it? You just came back from tour and you are right back on stage, do you plan on taking it easy for a while? What is next for you or is this the pace we can expect for the rest of 2018?
JON: This is my job. There’s no time to take it easy. The rest of 2018, if I have it my way, will be even more intense than this year has been already. Momentum is strong both with my solo career and with The Shabs, and if I don’t take advantage of that, I’d be a very silly man. So I’m going to keep my eyes forward and march on. One day, things might not work out, or I might hit a wall and have to stop or slow down. Until then….