WR824: JayWood

Episode 824 September 02, 2023 00:47:41
WR824: JayWood
Witchpolice Radio
WR824: JayWood

Sep 02 2023 | 00:47:41


Hosted By

Sam Thompson

Show Notes

The good news: JayWood just released a new EP. The bad news (for Winnipeg): he’s skipping town!

Jeremy Haywood-Smith was back on the podcast to talk about decamping to Montreal, the ‘Grow On’ EP as an extension of 2022’s acclaimed ‘Slingshot’ long-player, and much more.

Need more JayWood in your life? Check out our previous interviews on episodes #308 (Aug. 2018), #589 (May 2021), and #708 (July 2022).

This episode brought to you by our pals at Devine Shirt Company!

Huge thanks to everyone who supports the podcast on Patreon! You can help out for as little as a couple bucks a month if you like the show and want to throw some change in the guitar case!

As always, if you like the podcast, please tell a friend or 20! Rate and review on your podcast player of choice! Word of mouth is still the main way Witchpolice Radio reaches new ears. Thanks for listening. 

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Episode Transcript

WITCHPOLICE RADIO: I'm here with a returning guest. I think this is probably your, what? Fourth time on the show? JAYWOOD: Maybe third or fourth time. Fourth time now. WR: Yeah, it's been a few times, and I feel like there's some guests I've had on the show over the course of doing this that I just am happy to have on whenever. And I mean, usually when I have you on the show, I try to do it when there's something happening in your musical life. But yeah, I don't know if we even need to do the typical, like, introduce yourself because you are JayWood and people know you, and you've been on the show before. You've been very active in the local music scene and beyond for the past number of years. You had a very successful LP that came out relatively recently that we've talked about on the show as well. And now you're back on the show and you have a new EP out. J: Got a new EP, which, kind of funny enough, does the thing I said I wouldn't do the last time, where you were like, are you just going to keep putting out the I don't know, the doubles of every version? Like, no, of course not. And then I put out a different version of Thank You. WR: Well, I mean, if you have them, I guess you can, right? I guess there's nothing that yeah, obviously the new EP is something we want to talk about. First of all, let's just start with what's going on with you personally. You're moving away from Winnipeg? J: I am moving away from Winnipeg, yeah. It's the biggest one. Yeah, I'm moving at the end of September. I'm feeling pretty excited about that. I'm Winnipeg born and raised, so I've been here my whole life. And I think just at a point now, I just turned the big 30 in August, and I was like, whoa, I got to do something. I mean, I've been thinking about doing this for a long time, but I think it just feels kind of nice to be making such a shift in life at this point in my life, rather than when I was like, 20 years old and had no idea who the fuck I was or what the fuck I was doing. So, yeah, feeling ready, feeling excited, feeling good about it. WR: And you're going to Montreal, right? J: Going to Montreal? Yeah. I mean, that's the first step. And then who knows where else after that, but just something different. WR: Does this kind of coincide with sort of the way that your music has taken off? I mean, you got signed a few years back, you've put out this record that was long listed for the Polaris Prize, is getting a lot of attention. Does all of that sort of tie into the reason for maybe leaving Winnipeg? J: Not necessarily. I think that stuff is also really great and amazing, but I think it's just like I don't know. I don't know if it had any direct correlation to music at all. I think I was just like, I just need a mental change. I've been here forever. I've seen so many things come and go, and I'm just, like, feeling ready to just experience some different things from a different angle. And I also kind of want to miss this place too. When I'm in it, it's just like I kind of resent it, but anytime I'm away from it, I'm just like, oh, nice, I got to come back and be like, oh, feel held by this place. So I think I'm in a weird hater. I feel like I've been a hater for a while, so I'm like, I got to sift that also. WR: It seems like it's the true thing, though, that everyone who moves away eventually comes back, whether it's permanently or whether they just come back. I know so many people who have moved and said, I'm never coming back to Winnipeg, and then ten years later they're living here again or something happened. So it draws you. The city sucks you back in. J: I'm not leaving on bad terms, though. I feel like I'm leaving on my terms, which makes it that, like, it would have been hard if I was like, man, I've burned every bridge, or, know, exhausted all my resources, and now I just have to be here. But I'm like, oh, I feel like Winnipeg would be fine if I was still here, but moving, I get the chance to really appreciate it and have some contrasting experiences. Yeah, I think also the music things are quietly it's about that too. I think I kind of also just want to see what else is out there and be in a new community and all those things, just to feel inspired again and rejuvenated because yeah, I've been doing this for a minute now. WR: Yeah, you have. Yeah. I think the first time you were on the show was like 2016 or something, which is a while ago now. Wait, maybe 17. It was somewhere in there, though. J: Was it 2018? I think it was 2018. WR: Okay. I knew it was in the teens, though, for sure, right? J: Yeah, it was in the teens. That's a minute. WR: Yikes. J: Yeah. It feels like it's only just getting started, which is crazy. WR: Yeah, it is kind of crazy because I guess your first album came out in, like, what, 2019 or so right, 2019, yeah. But it does seem like you're just getting started. It seems like all this work you've put into this point is sort of finally starting to pay off. J: Yeah. Which is a really great feeling. It's just like, oh, man, it's not going to just happen overnight. And I think it's harder than it's ever been now to make the thing happen and make the reality just because as much as I hate that, the whole landscape of it is completely different now. You can blow up on TikTok and that equals a career in music somehow, or you can make trash music that somehow connects at the right time, and it's like, all right, cool. So a lot of it is up in the air. But it's nice to know that if you just kind of do the thing well and just work with the right people and just have a great community supporting you, you can do a lot with the app. WR: Yeah. You've kind of done it the sort of the more traditional way of just plugging away at it until it kind of hit where the people it needs to hit. J: Totally. Yeah. I feel like even while working on the last album, I was like, if this album isn't it, I probably would have been like, all right, I did the thing. I had my experience with it. But after the label signing, I was like, I guess I bought myself a couple more years in this thing. We'll see how this goes. I may as well make this into a thing while I'm doing that. WR: I'm glad it's working out for you. J: Thank you. WR: The EP that you just put out, I mean, this is, like you said at the beginning, there are some retreads, I guess, from the previous. I mean, this is is this just kind of like more of a placeholder sort of between that album and then whatever you have coming next? Or was it something that you really wanted to release as its own sort of piece of music? J: Yeah, it feels like that. I feel like Dirk was originally going to be on the album and it just didn't line up properly. Jacob Portrait, who produced or co produced Thank You on the last album, he was actually going to produce that track, but we spent so much time on thank you that we ran out of time, and I was like, okay, so solid. I should do something with it. So I just finished it myself. Or I finished it at Collector Studios. And obviously Will and Art will always help me with that stuff. But yeah, got that finished. I was like, all right, you know what? I could put another as a single. But I also had Heavy Eyes, which was another song that was going to be on the album. But that song, for anyone that's heard it's, like, it's got a lot going on. And I'm like, man, I don't know how or how this fits on this thing, but I kind of fucked with it. So I was like, all right, I'm just going to put it out there with that. And then I was like, okay, what else? If I can get, like, two more songs, three more songs, I can put it out as an EP, which putting out two songs nowadays, I feel like that immediately looks like it's rolling something out. So it's like, I just got to put it out as a package deal type thing. So putting the original version of thank you on there was kind of a no brainer because it's like, well, I'm not done talking about Slingshot yet. Because as soon as I start talking about the next thing, that whole I can no longer talk about that anymore. So I think the idea of putting up the EP that's like an extension of that was like, sweet. I get another year to talk about this album, which I think every artist should spend as long as they actually want to talking about one album rather than mean, like, talked about this album for a year, done with it, going to talk about the next thing. It's like, so much fucking work. It's just so much work. I just want to appreciate the effort and time that went into it and celebrate it as much as I can before I am done talking about it and onto the next thing. WR: Well, and I guess this gives you the chance to expand on some of the themes too, right? I mean, to give more detail, I guess, of what you were trying to say with Slingshot. J: 100%. I've been doing this instagram write up thing of going through each track of Slingshot every time. I don't know who's, if anyone fucks with this or whatever. But now I'm at track eight. I'm like, I have to I'm so far in it. Had it been like one track, no one fucked with it. I would have just deleted it. But I'm like, shit, I'm so far in it. I got to keep it going now. And it's sick. I think I'm trying to line it up so by the time the last one comes out, it's like, all right, I'm moving. And it kind of just really cements the end of an era for Slingshot, but also just for life in general. WR: Yeah, that's good timing to make that all work out like that. So I was reading on your I think it was on the Bandcamp page for the EP. There's a cover song on this EP. There is a cover -- and we can get in the cover in a second -- but the one thing that stood out to me in the description on the Bandcamp page and I'm not sure if you wrote that or someone wrote that for you, but it mentioned that the album that this song was originally on, that you're covering, was the first record you'd listened to a long time, start to finish as a full album. And that jumped out to me because that's the only way I listen to music. I must still set my old, old ways of just putting the thing on and leaving it to play the whole thing, right? So that was almost like, shocking to me. It's like, what do you mean? J: I think what I meant by that was it's the first album I kind of was waiting for to come out, and I got it, and the second it came out, I just sat there and just sat in one place and listened to it rather than I feel like a lot of albums that I listened to because maybe that wasn't fully accurate. It's like I'm doing something while listening to it, for sure. But that was the first album in a long time where it's like, I'm just going to listen to this album. And I did nothing else other than I was, like, laying in bed just listening to it, which is a very weird setting to listen to. The album that I'm talking about is Call Me if you Get Lost by Tyler the Creator. It's like laying in bed late at night listening to that album. It's a pretty hype kind of fun album, but I was like, I don't know, I was really stoked about it for whatever. Just felt like a very charged album and I was like, I'm just going to listen to it. And yeah, it was nice to just experience that. I'm like, Fuck, I have not laid in bed listening to music in so long. So it was really nice. And I remember listening to it in one go and then going to the studio. And I think that day, I think we were working on just saying honestly, and I was like, no matter what, I cannot put anything that I've just absorbed into the album. And I was like, I can't do it. I don't want to do it. Because anytime I'm working on a project, I kind of stop listening to music in a way. A lot of people will talk about that period when they're working on an album and like, all right, no more new ideas. We lock them all down and we just work with what we got. And I kind of broke the code to listen to that album. I was like, Shit, nothing let in. Nothing gets let in, however. And this kind of segues into the cover I was like, I like this enough that I want to kind of celebrate and kind of encapsulate this moment. So covering Sweet off there was a challenge, for sure, but it was, like, a really fun time. And I am so grateful to Brett Ticzon for helping me with that one because that would have been a very hard song to do on my own. And it's crazy to believe that one person did it on their yeah, well. WR: I think that going back to the way you listen to the album. I think you're right, though. A lot of people don't listen to records that way anymore. I mean, I'm guilty of that, too, of having it all in the background, listening start to finish, sure. But doing work or doing the dishes or whatever else is happening and yeah, it is like a lost thing of just sitting there and fully immersing yourself in a record. J: Totally. I was listening to a Questlove interview and he was talking about the day that Songs in the Key of Life came out and his whole family just put it on a record and they just sat and listened to it. I'm like, that is so insane to have people that just waited for the thing they put it on. They all just sit and talk to and just have a listening party and just actually absorb the thing. It's like, man, being a little more intentional is kind of the move, I think, to try to find those moments as much as possible. And I think that also even circles back into the move as well. I feel too comfortable to even be intentional here anymore. WR: Okay. JB: I think because I've been in Winnipeg for so long, because I've established myself in the like, there's this kind of like, I can just chill and not really have to try type thing. And I'm like, ewww, I kind of don't want that get. I want to earn that. I feel like I've sure I've done a lot, but I think I want to be intentional about how that feels to me as well. I'm still hungry in the idea of stolen to do a lot of things. I still have a lot of goals I want to do and I think yeah, being intentional with the time and effort of where am I getting my energy? What am I putting my energy into? WR: Do you think that Winnipeg has... like do you hear Winnipeg on your music, on your songs? Like when you listen back, is there something about this city that is kind of I mean, obviously it's going to rub off on you because you're from here and you grew up here and you're playing shows here and all this stuff. But is there like a Winnipegness to your music that you think might... J: ...change my music personally? WR: Yeah. J: Is there a Winnipegness to my music? WR: Because I don't think it's as obvious if it is as a lot of other people. Some people are very, very Winnipeg and you can just hear it like bleeding right through. And not that it's a bad thing that yours doesn't, but yours I think is maybe a little harder to pinpoint where it's coming from. J: I think mine doesn't for this year. And I said this in an interview, like some point last year, I think, and I said it and I was like, oh, shit. That's an interesting point where I think I write from the perspective of Escapism a lot of the time, not from the idea of being where it's like it doesn't sound like Winnipeg because I'm never in the headspace of I'm in my wherever I'm playing music and reflecting on this, it's like, no, I'm actually miles away. I'm not even in this physical place. I'm in my brain. I'm in whatever universe I craft and build for myself and that can look like this, that can feel like this. So I think because of that, I don't think there's a Winnipeg sound in it. WR: Yeah, well, you're also doing something that's maybe sonically a little different than a lot of other Winnipeg artists as well. Right? I mean, I don't know of too many people who are doing something that really is the mean. I don't want to get into the whole what genre are you? Because it's like but you know what I mean, right. I can't think of any real immediate comparables that are doing the same thing as you are. And so that maybe is part of the reason why it doesn't necessarily have that local feel to it, even though it does in a weird way that I can't. J: You know. It's funny, and I was actually just talking about this today, but Winnipeg is a very unique city in the sense that if you are doing something that's very much in your own lane, you can have that experience of, like, you're the only person doing it. And that's really sick. And you won't see a lot of clone bands or a lot of people doing the same thing. So it means everyone gets their room to do the thing. But I think a lot of people maybe get lost in the idea that because you're doing your own thing, it means it's like I don't know. Damn, I feel like I have to watch everything. I'm that's all that we're doing. It's live. But because you're doing your own thing, I don't know, it's easy to get really distracted by noise and a lot of other opinion and things. I think you can even when I was first playing shows in Winnipeg, I felt like I was lacking the Winnipeg sound so much that I started trying to make music to sound like it to fit into the community. WR: Oh, really? J: Yeah. Actually, the first couple songs I was doing, as soon as I was asked to play a show, I was like, oh, let me write some songs just to kind of sound more like the bands that are playing around me. And I was like, These songs are fucking ass. They're so shitty. And I was like, you and I was like, not having a good time. So I was like, all right, let me just go back to what I was doing. And yeah, that's kind of the stuff that made me find my confidence and find my stride and feel good about the whole songwriting thing. WR: Yeah, it's really interesting that you tried to force it and it didn't work. [00:27:13] Speaker B: Didn't pan out for me. Like, I don't like being from, like, I don't know, something... A lot has happened to maybe kind of help this to make this more a thing where it's like, I haven't felt part of Winnipeg in a long time. I think that's a combination of the know, loss of family and the whole label thing. It's like I feel like people maybe look at me differently now. I look at the city differently now. I think my attachments and things just feel different. It's like, also because of the pandemic, I didn't have an organic exit or maneuvering out of this community. So it's like, I went back in and I'm like, who the fuck are all these goddamn kids? What the fuck is going on? Shows feel weird and different now, and I'm like, eww, I don't feel like I fit in anymore. And it's just weird. And I still want to go to shows. I still want to put on shows. I still want to be a part of the community, but I just feel weird about it. WR: Yeah, I think the pandemic definitely didn't help with that, right? Because going to shows after the pandemic, it still feels weird to go shows now. J: Okay. WR: For me, anyway, but I'm ten years older than you. Eleven years older than you. So for me, all these fucking kids. J: For you specifically, though, you're such a pivotal part of the community that it makes sense that you're at those shows. You got to be at those shows. You see Sam Witchpolice, you're like, Oh, hell, yeah. I remember the first time I saw you at the Park Theatre. I would love to do an interview with like, I was so stoked because I knew what that meant, and I was just like, Shit, we got the attention of the right people in the community, so keep going to shows, Sam. WR: Thank you. I appreciate that. But the idea of all these kids, right? Like, you were just saying, it definitely seems like these kids are getting younger and younger and doing insane things musically, too. It's like, there's people who are, like, 20 years old, and it's just how did you come up with this? This is crazy. J: It's insane. I was actually just talking about back when I first joined the community, like, you were just saying a bunch of new bands that were so good so quickly, so early, and I was just like, what the actual fuck? What's the point of even doing the thing? But they were just like, oh, it's just a hobby. It's like, this is what we do. Or me, I'm just like, forcing the thing or not forcing it, but working on the thing, it's just like, man, a lot of talented kids, they have that. I hate that I'm even using this language. It's disgusting. I'm like talented kids. I'm like eww. But yeah, it's just a lot of talented people getting into music early enough and being excited enough about it to do it all the time, to be at the shows, and honestly, being able to be on social media with the attention span that they have, that I don't have that ability I don't have anymore. So it's a crazy advantage to be young. Yeah, but being older, I got history on my side. I got experienced. I got all the things that are needed for the longevity part of it. WR: That's right. You've been through all the shit that they haven't learned about yet. J: All the ups and downs. I remember big fun. I was there. These kids can't talk about Big Fun. They can talk about Big Sun, but they can't talk about big. WR: Before you go, though, you are doing a farewell show, right? J: Doing a farewell show at the Good Will, of course, with Ami Cheon and several DJs in the IO Sound Construct Group, which Hayden McKay has kind of put together. Yeah, he's been really busy with that and making sure that there's a DJ community within Winnipeg which didn't exist prior to the pandemic that I was fully aware of. I could be completely wrong. We're talking off base. But, yeah, I'm happy that so many friends that I know or so many people I know are just into DJing and have good tastes of music. So I was like, Sweet, let's do something together and just put the show together at the Goodwill because it feels like it ends where it begins type and yeah, I'm stoked about that. WR: I keep seeing your name showing up on posters and stuff. It's like DJ set by Jaywood. J: It's the funniest thing ever. I learned how to DJ maybe less than a year ago. I've wanted to DJ for years. For years. For years, I've wanted to learn how to DJ. But finally actually, Anthony Sannie taught me how to DJ. And then I learned from Hayden and then I learned from Jason and Brett. And I kind of just watched them and. I slowly picked up something, I was like, all right, you know what? I'm obviously not going to be DJing like them because they're all fucking really good at DJing. But I was like, I know how to transition between songs. I like, that's enough for me. I'm going to just do that. And yeah, it feels like I kind of cheated the system by just making a new job for myself. It's like I can DJ. And I'm like I feel an insane amount of imposter syndrome because it's like there are better actually, like, if you want, like, a really good DJ, hayden, Jason and Bret Anthony, those are your, like, Adam Colier as well. But I'm just like the guy that's just like I like some, like, Jay, what's the thing I do? And I DJ, I guess. And that's cool. Oh, my God, it was so fucked up. There was a guy, a big son, that was like, oh, man, it's so cool to see you playing shows. I'm like, what do you mean, man? He's like, aren't you a DJ? I'm like, what the hell? I was almost insulted. I was like, you know, I do that. But this is the thing I do. I play shows and make music, but crazy people don't know who the fuck I am. WR: No, that's kind of cool. That is cool. Yeah, well, it's good too, because you have, like an alternate way to do stuff, too, musically. I mean, if you can't play a show, DJ is a little bit easier to show up somewhere and do. Right? J: That's exactly the whole thing behind it's. Like, I don't want to play solo shows. It doesn't make any sense for what I do. It's like me with an acoustic is not going to make any it's just not going to do the songs justice. But me doing a DJ set is cool because I listen to a lot of music. I'm always listening to new music. Download an hour's worth of music, happily fill that hour for a person and just be like, here's some songs that I like and cool. We get a hang. We got to chat. We got to be in a space. Because I think the thing that's really grounded me within Winnipeg is I've never let any of the stuff that has happened over the course of the label, the players, it's not gotten to my head to the point of I'm beyond these people. I'm still such an approachable, personable person. I'll be at shows, I'll be hanging at everyone's thing, and I'll be just in the trenches with everybody. So I think being able to DJ is like a nice, chill way of just being able to be in the crowd while still having a thing to do within it. Yeah, it's like being at the party and cleaning up at the party. WR: Yeah. But there is actually enough of a skill to it that you're playing music that, yes, you like, but also other people will like enough that they'll want to hear it. Because I've attempted to DJ a couple of times, and this is like, 15 years ago, and these were reggae nights, and I listened to massive amounts of reggae. J: Okay. [00:39:06] Speaker A: But I was playing stuff that I wanted to hear, which would be like, a nine-minute dub song that no one can dance to because it's like three minutes of just straight echo or listen to some really hardcore gangster dance hall stuff, which, again, you can't really dance to. And both times I tried it, it was like, no one's on the floor. I'm enjoying myself, playing records that I like. J: I just had an experience with a DJ very similar in that headspace of they were into their set, and it looked like the crowd was very much not into the set. And that kind of was a bummer on the night because I think everyone just wanted to dance. And unfortunately, that just isn't what happened for the crowd. WR: Yeah, I think you need to take that into consideration and I obviously didn't that maybe other people might want to hear this, too, rather than just like, I've got loud noises, I can hear you. J: Yeah, it's like you're the guy with the microphone, so you got to pick and choose, I think. Yeah. Looking up and reading the room is very important, which is something I think I'm very lucky that I get to do in performing. Are people fucking with this? But I don't think I've figured out how to get people back into the thing if they aren't. So it's all practice. I think DJing will help me perform better and vice versa. I'll get better at that, too, and I'll get better at performing. WR: Are you hoping to do more DJ gigs once you moved? J: I think so, yeah. I don't just want to be like, an okay DJ. I do want to get better at it. I want to be confident at it, and I want to feel really like I want to be as good as the guys that taught me how to do it, so I can feel less of, like, an imposter. So shout out to Soundconstruct, to Hayden, to Anthony, to Jason and Brad for kind of holding it down in the music space for Winnipeg. But, yeah, I want to be on that level where I can be pretty confident that I can DJ an event. Well, I Djed a few events now, and I can comfortably do that, but I want to be very confidently doing it, for sure, hopefully. WR: So if people want to hear the new EP, what's the best way to check that out? J: Yeah, it's on all the streaming platforms. So Spotify, apple Music, deezer amazon Music. Shout out to Amazon Music for putting that fucking billboard up in Toronto. That was crazy. Very cool. So thank you, I mean Amazon, if you're watching, thank you for that was awesome. So yes, wherever people listen to music, it's on there and it's on Bandcamp and SoundCloud as well. WR: And then as far as I mean, obviously you're moving. You have a going away show and then you're moving. What's the best way? Because someone could be hearing this a year from now. Maybe they're in Montreal, maybe you're on tour, maybe you're coming back to Winnipeg for a show, whatever. What's the best way to find out about upcoming show dates and things like that? J: I think Instagram is the one. It's the Facebook for my generation. That might make sense to you. It might not. I don't know. WR: Okay. JB: Instagram is definitely the way. And I feel like I'll definitely be visiting Winnipeg here and there. I love Winnipeg. We're not on bad terms. We just need some time away from each other. Yeah. I'll be around.

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