Songwriter, guitarist, pianist, vocalist and music producer Reese Szabo is at the core of Jolan – a 5 piece band that formed in early 2008 when all the members met in the city of Wollongong, NSW. Sometimes you find them playing their songs live as an acoustic duo – like on their recent Australian national tour opening for U.K artist Newton Faulkner. Whichever way you see them though they’ll be sure to get across their distinctive approach to sound and song writing – an approach that forms from a vast range of artistic and musical influences.
Reese grew up in Wollongong in a musical family with a father and brother who both played guitar and sang. A regular in the household was the music of the 70’s that blared from either the stereo in the lounge room or the acoustic guitars hanging around the house. America, Lobo, Harry Chapin, ELO, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Bob Seeger, Smokie, Dire Straits, Don McLean and many other artists of the period became the building blocks of Reese’s lyrical and compositional foundation. But don’t let that trip back in time fool you – the sound of Jolan is a contemporary and modern one, drawing soundscape and production influences from the likes of U2, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, The Killers, Radiohead and even Sigur Ros. His girlfriend once said “it’s like a singer songwriter vibe…. but in a band”.
2008 gave way to Jolan’s first 4-track EP “Lost in Song” which was recorded at BJB studios in Sydney and produced by Chris Townsend. The following years saw the group playing live with their own headline shows, as well as supporting a diverse range of acts. Perhaps Reese’s greatest personal achievement to date was the surprise fundraiser he held for his girlfriend Jacqueline when she was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer at 24. Jolan performed and with the support of the Wollongong and Sydney communities raised over $13,000 to aid Jacqueline through her treatment.
Reese was a finalist in the 2012 APRA Development Awards for song writing, and works as a music producer and session guitarist in Sydney.
The debut album contains 10 tracks that were recorded at Origami Studios and produced by Reese Szabo and Steven Manovski. Quite a move forward from their first EP “Lost in Song”, Animation tackles subjects of life and death and religion, the loss of Reese’s grandmother whom he was very close to, and the struggles of watching his girlfriend fight through cancer for the second time in her life. It’s easy to call the album sound piano based pop/rock but it may surprise you with its acoustic flavours and electronic sounds – not to mention the appearance of a string quartet.