Musician 'Jay Hoad'

Home Is Where The Heart Is

by Tanysha Bolger

Touring for the last ten years and travelling all around the world, it is hard not to love the happy-go-lucky character Jay Hoad. With three albums to his name, the most recent one titled “Home Is Where The Heart Is”, Jay’s experience is certainly showing through his songs. Working in all corners of the world such as Fiji, India, Perth, Bali, Victor Harbor, Goolwa and NSW; he travels where his heart takes him. Selling out most independent music venues and playing with his band at the larger music festivals, the very humble Jay Hoad is in South Australia for a little while longer. 

Jay’s first début album titled “Warmth In The White” was mostly recorded in North America. Released in 2008 it introduced Jay to the world as a gifted creator demonstrating his fluency in multiple diverse musical genres. 

“Working on the first one was different because I worked on it by myself and produced it by myself. It was the beginning of it all and they were the first songs I wrote. The second album (“Stories For The Soul”) I used a professional studio here in Adelaide. I recorded it at Mix Masters but still produced it all myself. For the third album (“Home Is Where The Heart Is”) however I recorded it up in Sydney with a big time producer called Craig Porteils. He’s worked with Pink, Guns & Roses and work wise for me it was huge, and it was definitely a big change from my other albums.”

Writing songs for Jay is about soaking up his travels and the people he meets. Songs come from his heart, and you can especially hear that on his new album “Home Is Where The Heart Is”. 

“I’ve just come back from Western Australia, and driving back from there on the Nullabor Plain, I just pitched my tent up at Cactus Beach and began writing. When I’m like that I’m so creative, instead of being caught up in the 9-5 work day everyday, (not that there’s anything wrong with it), it just takes me a while to get into the ‘groove’ of writing but I really love it.”

Jay camping at the beach on the Nullabor Plane.
Jay camping at the beach on the Nullabor Plain.

His tour schedule for his latest album “Home Is Where The Heart Is” is definitely pretty hectic. The first leg of his tour started in India in January where he played at the Saarang World Cultural Festival with his band. Then flying back to Australia he played in Victoria,Western Australia and now he’s back in South Australia for a while. Being on the road all the time has seemed to impact Jay greatly, stating that he often misses friends and family a lot, and that he’s scheduled (for the first time ever) 11 straight weeks off this year. 

“I’ve never had that much time off. I have days and a week here and there, but I sort of realised that I want to let this album work its magic on its own. I think I had a different perspective when working on the album, to get radio play and to do this and that. In retrospect I think that brought me to where I am now, but I think I’m happy to let people just enjoy the music and for me to play the shows. If you have the album then I am absolutely honoured. Burn it, share it, do whatever! I’m so happy to have worked on this album and it’s probably the first album that I’ve worked on that I am actually completely happy with. Everyone’s self-critical of their own work, but I really enjoy this one, and I hope everyone does too. I’ve already started thinking about the next one actually! Crazy I know, but I’m thinking of focusing more on the acoustic sound which should be a lot of fun!”

Owning over 50-60 mostly custom-made guitars, Jay usually sends them in for repairs whenever he has time. 

“On the way here in fact (laughs) I walked in to the guitar shop and handed my pile of broken guitars over. I’ll pick them up next Tuesday (laughs). Oops! I play so many guitars though like the acoustic ones, electric, bass and everything else. Some just like to break or need repairs here and there, and as I’m always on the road I like to have a few spares.”

Recording “Home Is Where The Heart Is” was definitely a new experience for Jay. With most of the recording done in the Kings Cross studio in Sydney, Jay spent a lot of his time there. 

“Looking back on it, I think I ended up just sleeping on the floor in the studio. I poured so much money into this album, I think I was living off peanut butter sandwiches for most of it (laughs). Definitely doing the hard yards this time around (laughs). In saying that, it is the first album that I have created which I haven’t taken out of my C.D player (laughs). I couldn’t have done anything better to be honest.”

Having spent the last ten years of his life constantly touring, Jay lives his life to the fullest. He likes to surf pretty much every day that he can, and relax when he’s not writing.

“I was just down at Goolwa (South Australia) recently and I was out surfing with the whales. It was truly just mesmerising, they’re such amazing animals. Actually I was out there just paddling along and all of a sudden this seal popped out from nowhere. I think it was scared of me more than I was scared of him – he just swam away happily though. I love when things like that happen.”

Jay’s personality is certainly one to admire and be grateful of. With his dreadlocks and happy attitude, it was a pleasure to sit down with him and talk about travelling, music and life in general. If you ever get the chance to be offered to see one of his shows, or you hear about him playing in your town, make the trek on down there – you won’t regret it. Having been to one of his shows in Victor Harbor, he certainly put a vibrant and eclectic feel to the room, which was so pleasantly beautiful to listen to amongst family and friends. 

As a beginning tradition here at Ezra Magazine, at the end of the interviews we like to ask some spontaneous questions to get the artists thinking on their feet. This is Jay’s response to: ‘What was the first song that you remember listening to and fell in love with?’

“Oh that’s a hard question (laughs). I’m going to be so cliché here and so ridiculously corny, but I’m going to have to say “The Final Countdown” – by Europe. That brings back so many memories, wow! I remember when I was about 5 and my best friend at the time, and I’m still best friends with her, was coming over to my house. I thought I’d be really cool and so I put the record on and sat on the porch. She was late so I had to keep running back and changing the needle to the beginning of the song, but it was incredibly funny.”

‘If you had the chance to sit down and meet with a notable person (famous or otherwise) for coffee, who would it be and why?’

“Michael Franti. He’s a big inspiration to me as a person and also music wise.”

‘If you had one chance and were able speak to everyone on the entire planet at one time through a P.A system, everyone would hear it. What would you say?’

“That’s crazy. Wow. I’d say…appreciate what you have and your life. You are so special. Take a step back. Every smile is the same, every laugh is the same. We’re all one. I don’t understand the wars, religion, the fighting – all that stuff really breaks my heart. Appreciate life and what people have to offer.”

His album “Home Is Where The Heart Is” is available to download or to buy the physical C.D here at: www.cdbaby.com/cd/jayhoad2. We highly recommend the album to anyone who wants to kick back and relax to the beautiful tunes of the world.

Jay has a few more shows left in South Australia, staying around until the end of June. You can visit his website here at: jayhoadband.blogspot.com.au and his tour schedule is here. It was so lovely meeting with you Jay and hope to speak with you when you visit South Australia on your next tour!