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May 2021
Feature

Jetty Bones: "It's a very sad message with a very sparkly package"

Billed as “a contemplative journey of imposter syndrome and mental health,” singer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Jetty Bones’ debut is unflinchingly honest.
Published: 10:11 am, April 06, 2021Words: Steven Loftin.
Jetty Bones: "It's a very sad message with a very sparkly package"

"A lot of people are very upset that I'm not a metal band," Jetty Bones mastermind Kelc Galluzzo reckons.

That's because she's releasing her debut album on Rise Records, home to bands you're more likely to find skulking around the darkest corners of the earth than throwing incandescent shapes on a dancefloor. With that, Kelc knows that she's going to rustle some feathers. But, really, what's more metal than facing up to the demons you live with?

"I should probably have more guitar solos on the record though," Kelc laughs in agreement.

Edging even further away from the alt-pop of her past EPs, her debut outing 'Push Back' is instead a frenetic clash of genres that are present all in the name of humanisation. "It's a mess! It's a mess, but the whole point is I want to humanise myself," she joyously declares.

Kelc is someone who has the exterior of a disco ball; glitter falling, never passing up a chance to dance, and is more likely to wind up discussing her cat, but beneath the blindingly bright pop and the corn-chewing country lies the thick, dark honey, basis of truth.

Pop music is often treated as a throwaway – the McDonalds of the music genres – but unlike the golden arches, there's more than meets the eye. Softly sitting above the languid trot of a drum or the determined, eyes-focused pop beat, comes a deftly exposing nature - her truth - though "hopefully you're not finding too much beneath the surface in your McDonalds!"

"I think a lot of people denigrate pop music by saying it doesn't have as much meaning to it, but for me... it wasn't necessarily easier to write, but it feels more authentic to me," Kelc says.

"I think me as a person, I kind of encapsulate struggling with heavy mental issues while always wearing glitter and a smile on my face. The music sounds like the person people perceive me as on this record more than it has in the past, you know, a very sad message with a very sparkly package."

Few packages glisten more than Jetty Bones. As the shimmering, twilight-bound notes ring out across her debut – an album that's been kicking around for the best part of a year now, mind you – the introspective journey she's had to embark upon comes sparkling through, brighter than even any diamond reckoned by Rihanna.

Hiding the truth in plain sight comes from Kelc's understanding that "sometimes you can't necessarily exorcise all the demons that are in your head, or your body, you know? I mean that in a metaphorical sense or the literal sense."

If, like Kelc, you too have been binging Supernatural then the latter may apply, but for all the joking, sometimes when the darkness encroaches, it can feel like there is indeed a little demon knocking over bookcases and smashing glass inside of you.

'Push Back', and its design to be a human representation of Kelc's journey so far, certainly doesn't come without its hefty elements, which she solemnly acknowledges. "It's scary looking inward sometimes, especially if you don't like what you see."

"I wrote a whole record about not liking what I saw, but I hadn't started doing anything to fix it. So when I was about to show those thoughts and that self-perspective to other people, I realised I really needed to start changing it."

Noting she went through a "pretty low depressive period, as many people did" over the last year, Kelc's situation was made slightly different by the fact the album that captured so many of these feelings, while all well and good that it was finished, the journey had actually only just begun.

"I felt like I got in a really bad place where ideas and themes on this record started feeling prevalent again," she recalls. "And then, as soon as I started coming out of that space, it was time to start rolling the record out. So, I was reconnected with the ideas again but also still living in a motivated place to get out of that headspace."

"I encapsulate struggling with heavy mental issues while always wearing glitter and a smile on my face"
Jetty Bones

Being given the time to process just how she was going to explain any of the album she so wildly gestures to throughout ensuing interviews, and the purposefully personable Instagram posts, was a gift from whatever deity you may subscribe to, according to Kelc. It also helped her realise how she wanted to double-down on the grander scheme at play for 'Push Back'.

"I haven't verbalised this [because] I think in images a lot. So, I apologise for the messy verbalisation on this," she laughs. "I kind of like how some of the songs you could dance to in a car ride with your friends, but they're surrounding messages that could actually start a conversation in the midst of that dance party. I like having that image in my head of two dancing crying teenage girls having a good time. I don't think there's anything wrong with that."

Certainly, Kelc is someone who wears her heart on her sleeve. Throughout her house, signs are dotted around – notes to "channel your rage into absurd kindness" and "don't keep your eyes closed" – opening herself up to questioning whenever anyone comes over. Being someone so open and honest is all part of her masterplan, to start up that dialogue. Something that, if you've ever managed to catch a Jetty Bones lives show, you may have noticed.

"I'm notorious for randomly starting to cry on stage," she laughs again. "We used to have a sign at our merch table that said 'crying is normal', and not just for the people watching the show but the people performing as well!

"It's a cathartic experience writing the songs, but you're still leaving those feelings in isolation, and taking them to a show and seeing people respond to it. Seeing people sing along the lines that I've written about the hardest things I've been through, it is healing because it's a constant reminder that I'm not alone."

As it stands, the exorcism of Kelc is only half completed. This batch of songs may have packaged the demons neatly into an album befitting both crying and dancing, but it's not until the world opens up and 'Push Back' can hit the road will the ritual be complete. As it stands, however, it would seem that Kelc's possibly in the best place she's been in yet, and what better way to kick off this new chapter of her career?

"When this record was almost done, and I was putting the songs together, I realised how it sounded. I want to be able to move forward being honest about that," she says.

"Especially with how bad things were when this project was starting, and hiding that from everybody made me feel fraudulent for a very long time. People at first listen may think it sounds like I'm shitting on everybody who supports this project, and calling them stupid for caring about me, but really I hated myself so much for not being the person I wanted to be for them that I thought they should hate me. Which I haven't actually said out loud yet."

It's hard to face up to your truth, especially when it's one you've been living with it alone for so long. With the album's closing track consisting of a suicide note Kelc had penned, finally all her cards are on the table. 'Push Back' is simultaneously the most exposed she's been while also the most determined. Kelc's looked into the mirror, and she now understands her reflection, well, at least enough to deliver some weighty truth bombs.

"So, I think that's what the record [really] is about. I paint myself as a deceptive monster because that's how I felt. Even though I wasn't trying to all because I couldn't talk about a private, vulnerable thing that most people wouldn't talk about. The fact that most people don't talk about that, I think, is kind of a problem in itself. Can't nobody can grab your hand and pull you up from the bottom if you don't reach it out first!" 

Taken from the April issue of Upset. Jetty Bones' album 'Push Back' is out now.

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