Solitaire Recordings

SERF-ING WITH JONS
June 6, 2016 11:57 am

When there’s a will, there’s a way. Jons is celebrating the May 29th release of their debut album Serfs of Today. It was recorded on iPhone, and led to the band’s signing with Solitaire Recordings. The album was so good, that Solitaire decided to release it as-is.

The Victoria (Canada, not Australia) band is also about to embark on 29-date tour, including a show supporting fellow Canadian Alex Calder. And, believe it or not, Jons is already working on a follow-up album.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS spoke with frontman Patrick Rendell on how all of this craziness came to be.

jons

Congratulations on your new album and your signing to Solitaire. What would you like people to know about your band?

We’ve all been living on Vancouver Island for 5 or 6 years. The band started out with Logan, David, and me making music casually and then the band was fully formed when Logan and Keenan met painting houses.

I’ve heard your album Serfs of Today was recorded on iPhone and cassette. Is that true?

Yeah, that is partly true. There was a period where we didn’t really have the means to record drums (and didn’t really know how to either) and so David would play drums on an app on his iPhone directly into the tape machine. For “Orcachief” I played floor tom and snare while David played ride symbol on his iPhone to get the effect of a full kit.

You’re getting ready for a 29-date tour around Canada. Is this your first tour of that size?

It’s been a lot of work setting up the tour and it makes it harder that we haven’t actually done this before. The longest tour we’ve done so far is to Calgary and back so this is a completely different ballgame.

What are your favorite items to pick up at Tim Horton’s to keep you going?

One good way to prepare is to abstain from Hortons’ until you leave so you have a fresh palette. Keenan’s favourite donut is the Old Fashioned.

You will also be performing a show with Alex Calder on your tour. How did you get involved with him?

Bands in Canada are very interconnected and chances are you always know someone who knows someone. In this case our friends Freak Heat Waves were already playing the show and we were going to be in Montreal at the same time. Logan’s brother also plays in Alex’s band so it just worked out.

You seem like a band that would know a lot about psychedelic music. Are there any albums you’d recommend to someone looking to expand their record collection?

Some albums we’d recommend checking out are A Lovely Sight by Pisces, God Bless Tiny Tim by Tiny Tim, Playback by The Appletree Theatre, July’s self titled album and Release of an Oath by Electric Prunes. Also [Pink Floyd album] The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Friends by The Beach Boys are staples.

Are you working on a followup for Serfs of Today?

We’ve actually been working on our followup to Serfs of Today for coming up on two years now. Dave picked up a Tascam 388 and has become really good with it so it’s a noticeable step up in fidelity. Having Keenan play on the record has been a big deal too. He didn’t play on Serfs of Today and he’s an incredible musician. His playing on the tracks has had a huge effect on our recordings. We’ve been working on it for a very long time and we’ve each grown quite a bit individually as musicians in the process.

Will you be be doing any recording with iPhones, as in Serfs of Today?

No iPhones were used in the making of the record.

I think you’re the first band I’ve interviewed from Victoria. What’s the music scene like there?

It’s really great. It’s a small city but for the size there’s tons of really great bands. Sometimes people pass it by on tour because they don’t want to make the trip to the island but there’s some very cool stuff going on here. I’d highly recommend coming here and checking it out if you get the chance.

Which venues in Victoria are your favorite for seeing live music?

Some of the classic spots to see bands play are Logan’s and the Copper Owl. There’s also a bunch of nightclubs and a thriving scene of DIY spots that are really great to play at.

Are there any local bands you feel deserve more attention?

Some bands you should check out are Privacy, Pinner, Smoke Eaters, Psychosomatic Itch and Fountain. There’s also a small local tape label called Gary Cassettes and everything they’ve put out has been really sweet.

What will you be up to after your tour?

After tour we’re gonna focus on new music. After working on the same songs for so long we’re really stoked to get started on something new.

Will you be performing at any music festivals?

We’re playing at Sled Island in Calgary but thats our only festival this summer.

NEARLY OROTORIO: SIMON LAM’S STRIPPED DOWN  TIN EP
April 15, 2016 11:43 am

Melbourne’s Simon Lam is known by many names. Earlier this month, Lam, who releases solo material through the Nearly Orotorio moniker, dropped his second EP, Tin, via Solitaire Recordings.

Whether contributing vocal tracks or lending his keen sound engineering chops, Simon Lam has done a lot in a short span of time–and it seems like any project he decides to take on tends to make its way to an increasingly wide audience. His career launched in 2010 with the formation of Kins, a group that initially manifested in Australia, but later transplanted to Brighton, England. Kins fused wistful guitar with downtempo electronic breaks. They followed up the release of their self-titled full-length by touring in support of last year’s indie rock blockbuster, Courtney Barnett, before officially calling it quits in February. Meanwhile Lam, who didn’t stay around for Kins to fully come to fruition, was busy parsing together tapestries of his soulful vocals and minimal electronics with I’lls. Next he was building warm synth backdrops to back fellow-Melbourn songstress Chloe Kaul for their project Kllo.  They released a debut EP Cusp in 2015 via Dot Dash / Remote Control.

Lam’s first Nearly Oratorio release Showers was released in 2011, perhaps opening the door to some of his other collaborations. His fluid transition from one project to the next is disorienting indeed, but it’s the sign of an ambitious recording artist dedicated to his art and finding just the right collaborative environment to find inspiration for his next work.

Tin is a collection of oddball ditties dedicated to the wandering thinkers and creatives that occasionally get stuck inside their heads. To soak in this album properly one simply needs to lay back in a comfortable position, adorn a pair of headphones and take it in. Tin captures the essence of Sam Lam’s tinkering, the thought-process of a tireless scientist going through the motions of artistic process. It’s packed with a modest range of percussion adding texture and rhythmic dimension to his tracks which are otherwise bare-bones: Sam’s soothing R&B falsetto accompanied by a trickle of acoustic guitar and under synths.  It’s a great introduction to Simon Lin’s signature blissfully minimal sound.