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Jep And Dep

Jep and Dep are Jessica Cassar and Darren Cross. The Sydney duo write music for now in a style that is both contemporary and nostalgic. Their debut album Word Got Out drops next week on Thursday October 23, and then two days later at Brunswick’s Retreat Hotel Jep and Dep are playing a very low-key launch.

In a similarly low-key fashion Cross describes how the act was formed. “I met Jess through a mutual friend and her sister, and then we started going out. This was at the same time I was doing all this music at home so we would be hanging out and I would just pick up a guitar and work out how to play a Townes van Zandt song. Jess had never sung before but we decided to write a song about her sister getting married and it was a kind of Kimya Dawson and Adam Green ‘marriage is a waste of time’ anti-folk song. Then I think Jess got a bug for it and we just started writing.”
 
This ‘bug’ resulted in Jep and Dep, and in a relatively short amount of time they were transformed from folk abstraction to recording act. This fast track was a result of Cross having been a recording artist and producer for most of his adult life as one third of electro-crossover act Gerling.
 
Gerling went on indefinite hiatus in 2007, and this is where Cross picks up the narrative and discusses his journey to the alt-country folk stylings of Jep and Dep. “After Gerling split up I started doing electronic music that was sample-based. [It] was really weird and technology heavy as E.L.F and I were touring around with Muscles and played a few shows with Midnight Juggernauts. I found myself playing dance music to all these young 18-year-old kids on pingers and I thought to myself ‘I am 35, I don’t want to do this anymore, so stuff it, I am just going to learn to play the guitar’.”
 
And learn he did, there is a profound tenderness to the guitar tones and vocals of Jep and Dep that swings the act’s sound in the direction of alt-country artists Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. The two songs that have been released from the forthcoming Word Got Out are Babe Come Down, released April 28, and Granted, September 23. They’re stylistically very different, although the main drivers of the songs are simply voice and guitar.
 
Babe Come Down is punchy, playful and aggressive, like Stagger Lee by Nick Cave, but then Granted has all the poignancy and tenderness of the aforementioned Welch’s Time the Revelator. The clips for both songs are shot in a black & white film noir style. Cross explains that this cinematic style is something he is fond of.
 
“It’s across the board for everything from our album artwork to our film clip. We really like film noir especially Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch, we just love black and white and feel it suits our music,” he says.
 
Cross describes how special Jep and Dep’s early evening album launch at The Retreat will be. “It’s just going to be me and Jess with a guitar and it will be super intimate. We’ve played there before and it’s just really cool. I think it’s even free to get in! Plus we’ll be selling hard copies of the album and we have a special tote-bag as well.”
 
BY DENVER MAXX 

Jep and Dep are launching Word Got Out this Saturday October 25 at The Retreat Hotel in Brunswick with support from Gretta Ziller. Head to jepanddep.com.au to pre-order a copy of album.