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Almost A Dirty Dozen with JON STANCER – November 2021

| 19 November 2021 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Today, Toronto-based alt-pop/rock songwriter Jon Stancer announces In Light Of, his impressionistic and achingly beautiful new EP, will be out on January 21st, 2022. The album’s lead track, the tense and moody, “These Arms (Won’t Let You Go),” features a dynamic instrumental makeup of lulling piano and ambient textures contrasted with rugged beats and richly emotive harmonies. Stancer’s vocals are tender and nostalgic, pining for the loss of his children’s innocence years as they grow into independent young adults. “I did for you, all I can do,” he sings. “You’ll figure it out.” “The song is the 2nd track Stancer has shared from the forthcoming EP. It follows “This Cannot Wait (Until Tomorrow),” a “poignant plea to act fast on climate change,” which was released along with a very startling and provocative video, back in August.” We get Jon to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I have a new, 6-song EP, In Light Of, coming out on January 21st. It’s a nuanced record, lyrically, sonically… There’s a good amount to chew on, so may take a few bites. I slipped a Bee Gees lyric into one of the tracks… Intended for whoever catches it.

2. What got you into music? Can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

There was always music playing throughout the house when I was a kid. My mother played and taught the piano. My sister also played and practiced devotedly. I was exposed to a lot of classical music that way. And there were often records playing. And the radio as well… On any given day, it might be literally blasting Vivaldi, or Bach, or maybe Cleo Laine, or Frank Sinatra, or Seals & Crofts… Eventually, my interest evolved into a desire to play, and then a little later on, to write. When I was around 11, I played an instrumental version of a Beatles song on a crappy little guitar in front of a bunch of my classmates. I was too shy to sing publicly. So I just sat there strumming the chords for 2 and a half minutes. And not very well. When I finished, the room completely erupted. I think that was probably the moment.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I became infatuated with the White Album at a very young and impressionable age. Obviously, a very eclectic record, so vast in scope, and so influential in bending the notion that an artist or band should only create or exist within one particular genre of music, all the time. “Honey Pie” informed and impacted my sensibilities as much as “Helter Skelter.” That these completely obverse and incompatible songs are on the same record, written by the same guy and performed by the same band… I think that that record, just for its incredible diversity, probably guided my taste – which, like that record, is all over the place – or, configured my musical outlook, more so than anything else.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

This changes all the time. I get into something for a while and then something else turns my head and I sort of soak that in for a few months, or years… I loved Tears for Fears when I was growing up in the 80s and I listened to a lot of 70s era Genesis in my later teens. I was deep into the Beach Boys for a number of years during my 20s. I got really into Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and Elliott Smith when they first came out. And I was heavy into Super Furry Animals, Supergrass, Pulp and also Blur for a time. Neil Young… Talking Heads… Is that five?

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for Leslie Feist. Her voice, her sound… I saw her live recently, and I wept.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’m told it sounds a little like John Lennon ate Radiohead. One writer said Curiosity Killed the Cat, Belouis Some and Lightning Seeds, all of whose music I was unaware of. I didn’t cringe, which was good, nor could I disagree with it. I just thought it was interesting that to this person, my music sounded like all of these things that I had never heard before.

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I actually don’t think I’ve had one of these moments. I’m not really the type to get that way. Perhaps with a very rare figure, like a Bo Burnham. I once met Cuba Gooding Jr. I think he was actually put off by my not giving enough of a shit.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Throughout my own life, some kind of creative outlet has been as important as physical exercise or eating properly. Making music has always helped to keep me motivated, engaged, fulfilled and overall, happy. Professional Kite Flyer or Time Machine Explorer!!

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Q: Would you agree that some of my questions are mundane, trivial and pedestrian? A: Yes.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There’s undoubtedly more than one. And I don’t think any clear winner.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I think the The Basement Tapes sessions would have been pretty cool to be a part of. It really feels like freedom to me, that record. The environment and the scene in which it was made… I’ve always loved the idea of that… The songs on it, which are just so imaginative and eccentric… The looseness of the playing and the arrangements… The silliness and randomness of some of the lyrics. When I hear that record, I hear and I feel freedom… Creative freedom, emotional freedom, physical freedom… I’d think that was a pretty memorable experience for all involved, and what came out of it was completely unique.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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