Bedroom pop, lockdown creativity, and Chey JordanSeptember 30, 2021
By Olivia Ryan
Victorians know all too well how the frustration of being pent up inside can challenge your motivation and creativity. But WA-born Chey Jordan saw Victoria’s sixth lockdown as a chance to truly immerse himself in music making and put his creativity and resourcefulness to the test.
The solo artist, who had spent only a handful of days in lockdown before moving to Melbourne, zoomed in from his studio apartment, the room where he alone has managed to write a new song every day. He laughed holding up his microphone,
“Look, I’m using a sock as a pop filter for my microphone right now!”
It was, after all, the indie music scene that inspired Chey to try his hand at being a solo artist. Reflecting upon his childhood, he remembers banging on the back of an ice cream tub with a stick to keep tempo for his classically trained guitarist brother and listening to a collection of the iconic 2000s So Fresh CDs. It wasn’t until he discovered the likes of Rex Orange County that he was introduced to the world of genre-bending, experimental bedroom music.
The influence is clear in his new single ‘wait 4 u’. The song has climbed up the Triple J Unearthed charts to rank at #4 in the pop genre, and Chey recently announced the profits from this song will be donated to Australian healthcare workers. Musically, the indie piece screams of summer with introspective lyrics that are tinged with heartbreak, dreamy background vocals and a mellow bass riff recorded by a friend in WA.
“I learned the riff, but I really didn’t like the sound of it, so I got one of my friends to do it.”
Such is the power of the bedroom music, having helped preserve a lively, albeit socially distanced, music scene over the past year and a half. With a multiplicity of streaming platforms for artists to upload to and focus on lo-fi DIY, the genre’s prominence has never been greater. It has democratised music, removing the industry’s gatekeepers and granting artists like Chey the chance to share their work with the world.
It has also given them opportunities to work together in new and exciting ways. Chey’s ambition to collaborate with other creatives, be they old friends or seasoned industry professionals, is clear. Recently, it has seen him meet with the likes of Baker Boy and work as an assistant on the Sam Neill film, RAMS. Like most in the industry, he counts the experiences he has had after dropping out of high school to try his hand at music while studying IT on the side, as having been a result of both hard work and luck.
Despite starting a thriving IT business as well as a clothing line during 2020, Chey took the chance move to Melbourne and pursue his passion for music, confident that there is no better time than now, at age 19 to “make mistakes”. Asked whether music is his calling, he answered:
“I don’t know if I’d say it’s my calling. I really just don’t take myself seriously…it’s fun and I’ve got to do it while it lasts – whether it gets me paid, or whether it’s just fun.”
Chey is strikingly thoughtful with his responses, while being entirely candid. He has been open in talking about his own struggles with mental health issues and is a passionate advocate for discussions surrounding mental wellbeing.
“I make it a big mission of mine to say to people, it’s ok to have mental health issues…you can still go and do whatever you want, you can still meet Sam Neill! To have a therapist as someone to go to and talk to, it should be totally normal. There doesn’t need to be a stigma around it.”
With hopes of restrictions easing soon, Chey is itching to explore Melbourne’s vibrant arts scene and is eager to meet and work with fellow creatives.
“This is a call out: whether you’re a music video director or you do costume design, I would love to get in touch.”
While an album may be “on the cards” in the future, he’s not rushing into one just yet.
“I want more than ever just to get in a room with someone, not just myself and this sock-covered microphone, and start talking, and making music and videos”.
Somehow, I’m quite sure it won’t be just Chey and his sock making music for too much longer.