Pop/punk comes in many ways, shapes and forms. In the case of Melbourne five-piece, Sarahj, they bring a tinge of alternative rock that brings them musically in to a world all of their own.
Sarahj took to playing big and small shows hard and fast around Melbourne since their inception - even before releasing a single, and by doing so have - and continue to forge a name for themselves on the live circuit. They pack a punch on stage and off, sharing youthful, honest energy that can be felt by any audience.
Following in the musical footsteps of their biggest influences in Paramore, Tonight Alive and Evanescence, Sarahj stands on their own even in the youth of their career having only formed in early 2017. In that short space of time, and before having released any music, the band have already graced the stage of one of Australia's oldest surviving community music festivals, the St Kilda Festival. That's quite the feat.
"It was an incredible experience and we are so happy we had that opportunity", says singer Sarah Jones.
It was this opportunity plus their awe-inspiring talent that landed them the APRA AMCOS Songwriting Award, capturing the attention of industry professionals like the team at American rock music record label, Fueled by Ramen.
Sarahj features Sarah Jones (Singer), Jemma McPherson (Piano), Kristian Brancaleone (Guitar), Jack Mcauslan (Guitar) and Connor Mcauslan (Drums). Sarah is the founder of the band having gathered members for her band from all walks of her life. "A few of us go way back! Sarah, Jemma, and Kristian studied music together in high school. Sarah mutually became friends with Jack and Connor through her vocally mentor, and working at the same music school. Sarah basically herded us all together and here we are!"
By the time they released their debut single 'Invincible' on March 2nd, 2018, people were listening. The track earnt high rotation airplay in the US and garnered airplay from the likes of Australian Commercial Radio including Nova and KIIS 101.1.
The band's new single comes in the form of "Safe". It's a song that most in a relationship can relate to - the feeling of security when your partner is by your side. The track is a taste of their EP titled "Reaper" which is due for release in September.
"The songs on our EP are very personal, but every song our listeners will be able to relate to," says Sarah. "We like to talk about the ups and downs of love and heartbreak. Discussing mental illness is really important to us as well."
At the forefront of the band is singer Sarah J who already has a seasoned career as a vocal coach developing young Melbourne talent at her own singing school she launched in September 2017. "I have a passion for teaching and giving back to communities," says Sarah. "I love to help people develop their art in the form of song writing. It makes me so incredibly happy to see people enjoying the art of music."
Safe (Single) - MP3 / SoundCloud
Safe (Music Video) - YouTube
Question: How would you describe your music?
Sarahj: If Evanescence, Paramore, and Tonight Alive had a weird baby with a name no one could pronounce. In all seriousness, we're a pop punk alternative band. We write our own music draw heavy inspiration from the bands listed above.
Question: What inspired the song, Safe?
Sarahj: The inspiration came from a time when a member was embarking on a new relationship. They felt something really special, and a sense of security from being around them. It's one of our more upbeat songs, so we tried to make the beauty and positivity of it portrayed in the music and lyrics.
Question: Can you tell us about filming the music video, for Safe?
Sarahj: We don't have any plans to do a music video for Safe as of yet. We do have a sick music video coming for the title track on our debut EP Reaper.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Sarahj: Our favourite song to play is Invincible. We love the energy we get to put into playing, and the energy from the crowd. It portrays such a positive message and we love to share that.
Question: How did it feel to hear your song, on radio?
Sarahj: Sarah, Jack, and Connor were together on the day of the release when they heard it play. Jack was jumping because he likes to jump. Sarah cried.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?
Sarahj: We'd say the members of Paramore because they play a role in inspiring us and our music. Sarah wants Demi Lovato. She's always looked up to her vocally.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Sarahj: 100% performing live. The connection between us and our audience is what we live for. It's why we do it. The energy we receive is something that you can't experience alone in a studio.
Question: What is the story behind the name, Sarahj?
Sarahj: The name came from Sarah's vocal mentor Susie Ahern. At the time, Sarah was developing as an artist and needed a cool stage name. Susie came up with it and was really excited about it. Sarah hated it at first, but couldn't deny that it was unique, if not a bit odd. As the band came together we decided to stick with it because we thought it was different.
Question: How did the band come together?
Sarahj: Sarah, Jemma, and Kristian studied music together in High school. Sarah and Jemma used to stay up all night on Skype doing music theory homework together. Jack and Connor and sons of Sarah's vocal mentor Susie, who introduced her to them.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Sarahj: We let our emotions and personal experiences guide us. Sometimes it's personal to the individual, and we turn it into a collective experience. Other times we have moments when we're jamming where a song just comes out and writes itself.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Sarahj: Sarah is obsessed with the Cure. Jack and Connor are good old pop punk, hardcore, fanatics. Kristian doesn't stop talking about the Arctic Monkeys. Jemma likes to Kpop.
We all love modern music/ pop music/ whatever's on the radio. We don't care.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Sarahj: We're all pretty different as to what lead us here. What brings us together in the end is the thrill we get from playing and creating music. We work so hard because we love it so much. Music is what we want to do.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Sarahj: 21 Pilots would be pretty sick; we could incorporate some rap in there.
Question: What's next, for you?
Sarahj: We're going to keep working on our music. We're going to write and record and stick to our core!
We'll keep working hard, and take whatever opportunities come our way.
We really look forward to people hearing our debut EP, as well as our second music video which we are really excited for and can't wait to share with you.
Interview by Brooke Hunter