"Having this control over the arrangement of the song was so important."
CONTENT WARNING: This article contains discussion of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
Yesterday, Australian rising punk-rockers Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers announced their debut album, I Love You and released the new single, Never Saw It Coming.
The new track is the first song drummer Neve van Boxsel ever wrote for the band and ever sang lead on. Never Saw It Coming is also their first fully acoustic tune that finds van Boxsel leaning on her bandmates after experiencing the trauma of sexual assault and highlights the importance of speaking up with loved ones.
“Once we had decided to record Never Saw It Coming, I recorded a demo in my room for our producer and arranged the song exactly how I wanted,” van Boxsel shares. “I knew the song was not at all our usual style, and I really wanted to lean into that.
“It didn’t feel right to add drums or heavy guitar or anything because I wanted it to be really raw. Having this control over the arrangement of the song was so important. It gave me back control that I had originally lost.”
It took van Boxsel over a year to finish writing Never Saw It Coming, as she wanted it to capture exactly what she was feeling.
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“It took me a long time to be able to say what I wanted to say, as I started writing the song right after the assault and the more, I processed what had happened, the easier it was to write authentically,” she confirms, “The lyrics have gone through so many changes because how I’ve felt through these past two years has changed, but I think these final lyrics really capture exactly what I’ve felt and still do feel.”
On Never Saw It Coming and throughout its recording process, van Boxsel leaned on her closest friends and fellow Jean Teasers, Anna Ryan, Scarlett McKahey and Jaida Stephenson. “I really can’t thank Anna, Jaida and Scarlett enough,” van Boxsel says.
“Not only have they been so supportive through the process of creating and releasing Never Saw It Coming, but they’ve been there from the very, very start. From me barely being able to show them the song for the first time without crying every few words, to me now being able to introduce it on national radio is pretty surreal.
“It’s been a long process but there’s no way I could’ve done that without their constant encouragement. Honestly, there is no way you can go through something like this alone, so I really hope this song encourages anyone to reach out and regain the control that was taken from them.”
You can watch the music video for Never Saw It Coming – also directed by van Boxsel – below.
While the subject matter of Never Saw It Coming is tragic, there are beams of light shining onto Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers – this December, they’ll open for Foo Fighters at AAMI Park in Melbourne, and van Boxsel can’t believe it.
“We are all pinching ourselves honestly,” she admits. The band were scheduled to open this show last year. After Taylor Hawkins passed away, Foo Fighters cancelled those shows, and now they’re coming back.
Van Boxsel adds, “To be asked once was amazing, but to be asked twice feels like a prank! We are so excited to be playing on a big rock dog stage and to meet the big rock dog himself.
“We have all grown up on Nirvana and Queens of the Stone Age and, of course, Foo Fighters so to be able to meet and play with Mr Grohl is such an honour. We are so so excited!!”
Before that show takes place, Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers will release I Love You on Friday, 8 September. At this point, van Boxsel and her bandmates are “a bit obsessed” with their debut album.
“I think it is the perfect follow-up from [debut EP] Pretty Good For A Girl Band because it shows how we’ve grown up,” van Boxsel explains. “We really collaborated all together on writing this album, which is something we haven’t really done before, and I think that really shines through.
“There are a lot more softer and slower moments on it but still the upbeat, riff-heavy Teen Jesus that everyone has gotten to know from PGFAGB. We have put a lot into the album and the process has been a hefty one.
“In the time of writing and recording it, two of us have been through breakups, we have moved states and houses, quit old jobs, gotten new jobs and I swear the only consistent thing has been making and releasing this album. We really can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
I Love You was produced by Holy Holy’s Oscar Dawson, someone who wasn’t like anyone the band had ever worked with before. He challenged the group to take their time with the album, and to always follow through on ideas.
Van Boxsel adds, “I think we all really learnt a lot about ourselves and how quick we can be to ride off ideas without properly trying them out. Also, the importance of just sitting with a song and coming back to it with fresh ears. We also just felt so comfortable with him and had so much fun. He taught us that it is a long process, but kind of forced us to enjoy that process more, if that makes sense?
“Previously recording had been very structured and it was all about the finished result but the process for this album was so fun and I think you can really hear that when listening to I Love You.”