By Luis Collado
Jons are a mellow, emotional, yet refreshingly sophisticated four-piece from Victoria, British Columbia. They have released three albums so far that range from upbeat to introspective, from fast to spacey and drawn-out, covering everywhere in between. We had a chance to talk with the band about their most recent album, touring, and the music scene in Victoria.
Rare Candy: Does everyone in your band write songs?
Patrick: With those first songs from Com Shred I, those are all songs from before we were a band, and we were just doing stuff on our own that we ended up pulling together.
Keenan: I’d say Com Shred was mainly Patrick and Logan. The funny thing is, Logan sings the most on the first album but has yet to be heard again.
RC: I feel like Com Shred I is, not peppier, but maybe cheerier, than Serfs of Today.
Patrick: It was probably due to the change in production style that we moved into. Com Shred I was all straight into Garageband, and really quick and dirty. I think that translated into that sort of peppier sound you were talking about. When we switched to doing stuff on tape, we started being a lot more careful and doing things more slowly and that translated into a slower vibe.
Keenan: What’s interesting is Logan, our bass player, went on to make his own music under the name SB, and I think you can argue that you can hear aspects of Com Shred in his new stuff, whereas with Serfs of Today, David, the guitar player, came in and was sort of strong-arming the instrumental compositions a lot more than in Com Shred, which definitely had an influence.
Patrick: I would have to agree that SB is probably a more direct continuation of Com Shred than Serfs of Today is. I hadn’t actually thought about that before.
Patrick: I would say that once Dave entered the picture more and we started writing songs with him, the direction changed a bit.
RC: Do you prefer recording at home?
Patrick: We’ve never done anything besides home recording, as a band.
Keenan: I think it’s definitely a band ideal to record by our own means.
RC: Have you guys ever gone on tour?
Patrick: Yeah. We did a big tour this summer, actually. It was from Victoria to Halifax and back.
RC: Did that influence any of your music, you think? Was it an overall positive experience?
Patrick: I absolutely love it.
Keenan: I think we all had a really fun time. A lot of us hadn’t seen much of Canada before, especially me. I’m originally from California, and the furthest I had ever been was Calgary, just for the Sled Island festival that happens there every year. The tour was a really sweet way to soak in Canadian culture and meet people. It’s cool that you ask if it influenced any of our music, because we had already finished writing this most recent album, At Work on Several Different Things, long before we even went on tour. We were still mastering and finessing the album. David does most of the mastering and mixing, etc., and we were putting in our two cents here and there. We were very awkwardly trying to do that while we were on the road. The cool thing is that the songs from this album were very fun to play and were very complimentary to a tour. They’re lively.
Patrick: Yeah, they’re a bit different, for sure. It’s more fun to play live. I would say that the going on tour, and seeing so much other music, meeting so many other bands, it definitely had a big impact on me, and the direction of the band. If we hadn’t finished the album before we went on tour it might have been a bit different for me, because I feel like that really changed things for me, going on a really big tour.
RC: You guys are based in Victoria, in British Columbia. What is the music scene like there?
Patrick: For how small the city is, it’s got a big scene, with like a pretty long tradition of really good bands so we had lots of friends who have really sweet bands in Victoria before we got started, and so we had lots of help along the way which was sweet.
RC: Any bands you want to shout out?
Keenan: Freak Heat Waves!
Patrick: Yeah, they’re one of the best bands in town, for sure.
Keenan: and Fountain.
Patrick: Yeah! Our two best friends’ bands are Freak Heat Waves and Fountain, probably. They’re just amazing. There are older bands, too. Slam Dunk is a classic Victoria band, they’re incredible. There’s tons of bands.
Keenan: There’s a thriving musical community in Victoria, which is really cool. It’s a great place because you’re pretty easily spotted in Victoria if you’re forming a new band, just because it is a fairly small city and it definitely is hugely helpful for pursuing music.
Patrick: If you want to start a band, it’s pretty easy to do it in Victoria, because it’s so supportive.
RC: what are you guys listening to right now?
Patrick: I’ve been listening to a lot of Captain Beefheart, and this group called the Lijadu Sisters. Also, this guy Del Shannon I’ve been listening to a lot. Those are the four albums that I’ve been listening to a lot this week.
RC: Yes, I’ve been listening to that a lot too! I thought you guys were gonna name drop them in the shout outs.
Keenan: Yeah, I’ve been eating that s*** up. I’m really into that. Man, there’s probably something else, I wish I could think of what else I’ve been listening to.
Patrick: There’s always something else.
Keenan: Always something else!
Jons would like to formally recognize Sister Blanche, another local of Victoria who runs the label Gary Cassettes, who released the first physical copy of Serfs of Today.
Listen to more Jons on Bandcamp.