INTERVIEW WITH TORONTO INDIE POP ROCK QUARTET JANE’S PARTY
Jane’s Party is the high energy Toronto Rock Band. The foursome is Jeff Giles (keys/guitar/vocals), Tom Ionescu (guitar/vocals), Devon Richardson (bass/vocals), and Zach Sutton (drums). Jane’s Party started gigging around 2009 playing covers, progressing from there writing their own songs, and playing packed clubs around Toronto. Their debut album ‘The Garage Sessions’ arrived that same year, and in 2019 the band’s fourth LP ‘Casual Island’. ‘Casual Island’ garnered the group more attention. The album had slick production and imaginative collaborations with members of Badbadnotgood, Fast Romantics, and turntablist Skratch Bastid.
The band newest single ‘Change Her Mind’ is fun and melodic Alternative Pop number. The underlying blend of 60s Surf Rock and Pop and the stripped down production reminiscent of the 70s take the track to another level. I spoke with Jane Party’s over email about the new track, and their music influences which you can read below.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Let’s talk about your new single ‘Change Her Mind’. What is the inspiration behind it? How was the writing and recording process?
JANE’S PARTY: I think of “Change Her Mind” as a sort of response to last year’s lyrically “heavier” and sonically more “produced” album, Casual Island. The writing process for Casual Island was overall pretty draining. It was a quite painful and depressing place to write from, and it had a profound impact on my everyday outlook on things. So it’s been refreshing – especially at this time – to just get to strum jangly guitar chords to lyrics about girls. It seemed shallow and inconsequential to me at first, but I think it’s exactly what we needed and maybe also what’s been keeping us going for the last 4 months. Part of the writing and recording process was figuring out how to best capture that care-free rock and roll atmosphere that ’70s recordings by bands like Big Star and Rod Stewart communicate so well. We approached the chorus section more like a free-for-all unison singalong and got the “woo hoo hoo’s” going as a playful shout chorus that anyone could join in on. Listening to this song makes me think of all the great times we would be having with friends and musicians singing those parts along with us. In a way I think it’s helping make up for it – in the least as a sort of temporary placeholder, or at best as a promise of good times to come. I hope people listening to it feel the same way.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How is a typical writing and creative process for you guys as a band?
JANE’S PARTY: We typically write songs individually and then bring them to the rest of the band and collectively workshop them to their finished form. But that’s not always the case, and we still surprise ourselves with the unexpected ways in which some songs come together. For example “You’re the Light” was made up of verses that Jeff wrote and a chorus that Devon wrote. That song was stitched together over several weeks from bits and pieces and ideas from all of us. For “Arrow”, the song spent years in demo mode as I slowly tweaked the arrangement and lyrics, running tons of iterations past the rest of the band and gathering ideas for how to finish it.We’re always keeping each other up to date with what we’re listening to and share our half-baked song demos in long van rides, so often songs will come together from our shared experiences and collective input.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What inspired you guys to go the route of 60s and 70s sound and production on the song ‘Change Her Mind’?
JANE’S PARTY: “Change Her Mind” is the first single from a new batch of songs we recorded at the same time. The idea behind this new collection of tunes was getting back to basics in a way; returning to a simpler studio experience of just putting the live band sound down on tape. This might seem like an obvious way to record, but in this day and age of sample beat-makers, bedroom EDM producers, and remote recording, this process has become a bit of a lost art. With our last album, Casual Island, having been conceived like a collage of demos and various studio bits, it felt exciting and refreshing to get back to recording like a live rock band again.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What lyric have you written that you feel most emotionally connected to at the present moment?
JANE’S PARTY: Tom: “And your faith in the American Dream / Has all blown away just like a flag in the wind / When your freedom these days is a five dollar scratch-and-win.” – Acknowledgements A lot of the songs on the album Casual Island talk about the sort of dystopian direction that some aspects of society and politics are headed in. Now with the pandemic, it’s magnified a lot of those same feelings for me. It’s pretty unfortunate that the same words I wrote 3 or 4 years ago ring even truer now than before.
Devon: “I was washing the mess off the plates / you were wiping the tears from off your face / I guess we just don’t get out much these days”- Straight From The Heart It sums up the beginning phase of quarantine for me, before my partner and I got in the right flow.
Jeff: “Ooh yea” – ‘Til You Got Yours Takes me back to the old days.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: In what part do you feel that social media has played in your band’s growth?
JANE’S PARTY: I think social media has helped us get closer to our fans and has allowed us to be more than just a band who puts out an album every three years. Our social media is full of behind the scenes videos, musical outtakes, instrument lessons, live videos, and lots of other stuff. We love sharing these other aspects of what we do individually and as a band with our fans, and we hope it gives our listeners lots of stuff to dig into when discovering our music.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Dream concert venue to play at?
JANE’S PARTY: We live in Toronto, Canada, so one of the venues here we’d love to play is Massey Hall. It’s an incredible seated listening venue with excellent acoustics. I just imagine it would be the kind of show you’d never want to end.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Throwing in another fun one here… If you could live in any fictional universe, which would you choose?
JANE’S PARTY: Probably the one where Spider Man has the Doctor Octopus arms. I don’t know why regular universe Spider Man wouldn’t just have those in addition to his web shooters. It couldn’t hurt, right?
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been listening to?
JANE’S PARTY: I’ve rediscovered Sam Evian more recently. For whatever reason when I first heard his music it didn’t resonate with me very much. Lately though I can’t get enough of it. I’m constantly reminded that what I enjoy listening to has so much to do with my personal state of mind and my mood. I love that relational aspect to music, that often goes much deeper than just lyrics.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To end, what is next on the horizon for you as a band?
JANE’S PARTY: We’ve been keeping very busy through the pandemic, working super hard to get all the things done that we originally planned for (music video, finishing recording the new album, live videos, etc.) but with limited resources and in an overall stressful and hectic environment. It hasn’t been easy, so we’re now looking forward to taking a deep breath and recharging our batteries for the rest of the summer. Beginning in the fall we’ll be gearing up for the release of our new album along with new videos and all that fun stuff. Stay tuned!
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Thanks for your time! 🙂
JANE’S PARTY: Anytime! Thanks for reaching out.
Stream ‘Change Her Mind’ by Jane’s Party below.