Jason Collett has been playing music for over twenty years, both as a member of Candian indie powerhouse Broken Social Scene and as a solo artists. Although he’s visited Australia with Broken Social Scene in Janauary he will be visting our shores as a solo artist for the first time, joined by fellow Canadians Zeus. I was lucky enough to interview him before he starts the tour.
Electric Skeleton: Do you prefer playing with Broken Social Scene or as a solo artist?
Jason Collett: It’s fun taking a back seat and not concerning yourself with navigating, but ultimately I like being in the driver’s seat.
ES:You will be playing Peats Ridge festival this year. Do you enjoy festivals or prefer playing smaller shows?
JC: Festivals are fun for their social aspect, it’s an opportunity to hang with your peers for a few days, but I love nothing more than playing in a packed, sweaty club where the energy is reciprocated because the room is a defined space. Playing outside only begins to resemble this when night falls and the lights come on. Sunshine and open-air are nice for camping, but not so conducive to rock ‘n roll.
ES: In Australia it seems that bands have to get noticed overseas before they can get noticed here. Is it a similar situation in Canada?
JC: you mean to say that you’re a nation of second-guessing, self-doubters, reluctant to celebrate your own talent? Awesome, I’ll feel right at home then.
ES: You’ve been playing music for twenty years. Has the internet changed how you go about promoting and releasing music?
JC: Well, I wasn’t doing interviews over the internet 20 years ago, but it’s changed how my label and management operate more than it’s changed how I do my thing. Much to their chagrin, I’m just not interested in all the social media hustle. I miss the mystique that rocknroll had in my youth, there’s not much left to the imagination these days. I feel the time spent schilling tweets or blogging about what I ate for breakfast is time robbed from creating. It just doesn’t resonate with me.
ES: How hard is it to juggle having a family when you’re a touring musician?
JC: Family is hard to juggle for most folks, but parenting has become a bit of a fetish these days. Far too many people use it as an excuse to give up being engaged in work they’re passionate about. Kids need to grow up seeing their parents engaged in the world, how else do they learn to do the same? Doing what I do requires some sacrifice on my family’s part, but the flip-side is that when I’m home, I’m not rushing out the door at 8am five days of the week.
ES: This will be your first lo tour to Australia. Is there anything you’re planning to see or do?
JC: The thing about touring is you can’t plan too much. It’s better to be open to whatever comes up. You hope the venue is in an interesting neighbourhood and you can find a decent coffee and maybe a good bookshop in the few hours you have before leaving town again. However, given that we’re touring with Dead Letter Chorus, I plan on letting them be our tour guides.
ES: What are you listening to at the moment?
JC: Al Tuck. He’s the best writer of my generation in Canada. Only problem is, he’s not ventured outside of Canada, so nobody in Canada knows who he is yet. Maybe our two countries should have an unheralded-artist exchange program. We’ll celebrate yours and you celebrate ours and then they won’t have to be imports to their native lands.
The tour dates are:
Thursday 6th January 2011: The Brass Monkey – Cronulla
Friday 7th January 2011: Oxford Arts Factory – Sydney
Saturday 8th January 2011: Northcote Social Club – Melbourne
Sunday 9th January 2011: Northcote Social Club – Melbourne
Wednesday 12th January 2011: The Great Northern – Newcastle
Thursday 13th January 2011: The Zoo – Brisbane
Friday 14th January 2011: Joe’s Waterhole – Eumundi
Saturday 15th January 2011: The Loft – Gold Coast
Sunday 16th January 2011: The Northern – Byron Bay (NSW)
Jason Collett’s latest album Rat A Tat Tat and Zeus’ debut album Say Us are both out now on Arts & Crafts.