The Stiffys Lead Singer Shares Solo Project ‘Goodthankyou’
A swaggering and powerful ode to the fairer sex, PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR is the new single out today from Goodthankyou, aka the solo project from Melbourne cult party-starters The Stiffys’ frontman Jason John Leigh.
The formidable lead single taken from goodthankyou’s debut album THE KENNARDS SESSIONS, also out today, PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR showcases Leigh’s enigmatic musical prowess while equally illuminating the broader album steeped in vulnerability, charm and growth.
A foot-stomping delight, PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR finds Leigh weaving indie and rock grooves under the goodthankyou moniker, with Leigh conjuring the single, as well as the entirety of The Kennards Sessions, at an undisclosed storage unit studio setup, recorded over the space of 18 months to avoid discovery and being kicked out. Recording all instruments himself, including guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, keys and vocals, Leigh then flew to Auckland to mix The Kennards Sessions in Neil Finn’s (Crowded House) personal studio alongside ARIA-winning producer Steven Schram. Fusing fuzzy tones alongside Leigh’s iconic vocals, PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR bursts open the goodthankyou journey with sonic nods to Idles, LCD Soundsystem and Queens of the Stone Age; and, as Leigh reveals, the hallucinogenic hues were no mere accident. “This track began as something completely different until the magic mushrooms kicked in,” Leigh shares. “It started as some overthought intellectual drum and bass thing and then became a primal sweaty sex track. PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR marvels at women; how love costs them so much more. How reckless and brave it is for them to fall in love and how our species relies on them ripping their hearts, lives and bodies apart for it. It comes at the end of an album about growing up.”
Accompanied by an old school karaoke film, part of a planned trilogy directed by Tim Hamilton (King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Big Scary), the clip for PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR was shot primarily underneath Melbourne’s iconic “cheese stick” in Parkville, with plans to extend the bouncing protagonist’s narrative into the near future. “PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR is accompanied by an old school karaoke film which is shot from the bouncing ball’s perspective,” says Leigh. “The bouncing ball, unfortunately, is overworked and has marital issues”. “Jason and I have shared an aesthetic for a while and long appreciated each other’s work,” adds Hamilton. “The karaoke film idea came about over a few beers and we were really excited to split the story out into three parts, because it’s just too difficult to explain the story of an inanimate ball within a three minute window.”
With 12 new tracks lying in wait on THE KENNARDS SESSIONS, Leigh flourishes with pure DIY genius from start to finish, from the woozy fever dream of its opener HI, to the off-kilter sheen of BE COOL, the sinuous delight that is BAY BAY, Beatles-esque whimsy on GOTTA LEAVE THIS SUMMER, lush hip hop hues on I WAS TOO HARD ON YOU, the hard-hitting cacophony of THE THINGS THAT I THINK and the beseeching DIY ballad that is HOME TO YOU. But THE KENNARDS SESSIONS builds its emotional apex most firmly in its closing moments, ending with the album’s leading single PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR in emboldened fashion. “THE KENNARDS SESSIONS is an album about growing up,” explains Leigh. “About a big fish who leaves a small pond and loses everything, only to find themselves. It was written to be listened to all at once. Everything about it was recorded wrong, which led to the album’s distinctive sound. Mainly due to the combination of inexperience, broken gear, mild inebriation, and excessive vulnerability. It was recorded piece by piece late at night over 12 months in a storage unit and you can actually hear the drumming getting less shit as the record goes on. The record was borne when I found myself in Sydney, far from my band and musical community, and needing a way to make music by myself. I could play all the instruments I needed except for drums. After gate-crashing and accidentally winning an amateur poker night, I found myself with enough money to buy the last remaining gear I needed (a drum kit and recording interface) and taught myself how to use both.”
Best known as the front man for Melbourne cult part band The Stiffys, Jason John Leigh has spent his professional career to date making his name alongside his bandmates via raucous live shows, relentless touring and typing in all caps. Growing up around instruments in his youth, Leigh has been playing in bands since the age of 14, going on to front The Stiffysfor their 2012 debut release, titled The Stiffys debut album, and an array of new material that followed, including 2014’s We Are Groovy Boys, 2015’s Art Rock One, 2016’s Art Rock Two and 2020’s Cool. But while his musical clout is already firmly entrenched in the Aussie musical landscape, goodthankyou is nothing like The Stiffys, as Leigh explains. “The Stiffys are Adam Stagg, Devin de Araujo and I having a fantastic and obnoxious time after two bottles of Passion Pop each,” Leigh shares. “goodthankyou is just me in a storage unit after two beers, and it’s a lot more touchy feely. I’ve been gestating on this for ages. And not just in the studio — every waking moment, this record has been playing on loop in my head. This album was recorded to be listened to in full with headphones on. Of course, you won’t, no one does, but maybe someday you’ll find yourself with 35 minutes to kill.
PRAY AT YOUR ALTAR and THE KENNARDS SESSIONS are out today, Thursday January 30.