Fresh on the heels of releasing his 5th album since 2007 — Field Of Trampolines — Shotgun Jimmie will be in St. John’s this week, to close out Lawnya Vawnya VI. Catch him at the Ship on the 8th, with Pilot to Bombardier, Sleepy, and a reading from Sharon Bala. $10 at 10pm.
You write some of the most fun, catchy indie rock in the country. Is the goal to provide an enjoyable bar show, or is this sound just what comes out?
Thanks! It’s what comes out naturally. When I’m writing I am trying to do a good job, so I guess on some level I’m considering my audience. In general though, I’m more concerned with how I feel about the songs. I try to write stuff that I believe in and value, songs I can get behind night after night.
Joel Plaskett produced your latest album at his new studio. How was that experience?
Joel’s a genius. He and Thomas Stajcer (engineer) were a dream to work with. It was the best four days, great people, great food, great gear. New Scotland Yard is killer; basically, it’s like the hollow deck from Star Trek. You want a Leslie speaker … boom, they got it, Fender Xll … boom, got it, Casio SK1 … boom, got it.
On the new album, you mention “Sucking back oysters, back in St. John’s” in a song about the touring life. How does a trip to St. John’s stack up to other cities you’ve toured through? Is it true you’ve adopted St. John’s slang “deadly” into your vocabulary?
Actually, I believe I picked up “deadly” from Vanilla Ice, who most likely picked it up in Newfoundland back in the day. St. John’s is one of my favourite places to visit. It’s such a beautiful city to walk around (great for exercise). I think the Battery is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Canada.
Touring comes up a fair bit in your music. How much of your year is spent on the road? Is it exhausting or exciting? Kreutzberg comes up more than once across multiple albums – what’s so great about Kreuzberg?
I feel most at home on the road. Typically I tour 4-6 months out of the year. This summer I’m crossing two more countries off the list, England and Norway. That’ll bring my total up to 18 countries. Kreuzberg is a fun neighbourhood in Berlin. It reminds me of Kensington Market in Toronto; it’s in the heart of a big city, but has a small community vibe.
“Constantines Believer” opens with the line “I don’t believe in a lot of things, but I believe in The Constantines.” In a sentence or two, what’s so great about The Constantines?
The Cons give me hope. They are an example of dramatic living love. To me, they represent the feats of humankind and they saved rock and roll.
Are you in art school now? Is that what “Georgia OK” is about? What made you wanna go to art school, what are you after learning?
All my favourite rockers went to art school. David Bowie, John Lennon, Kim Gordon, David Byrne etc.. I don’t have a formal background in music; I’ve always seen it more through the eyes of an art fan. All my pals back home in Sackville (NB) are visual artists too. I came up in artist-run-centre culture and have always admired that community.
I just finished the second year of my BFA, it’s going great and has definitely influenced my music making. The cover of my new record is a sculpture I made for class. Georgia OK is partly sung from Alfred Stieglitz’s (Okeeffe’s husband) perspective and partly sung from mine as a tourist, honeymooner and undergrad student. It’s sort of a collage of various meditations on O’keeffe’s life.
Have you had a look at the Lawnya Vawnya lineup for 2016 yet? Anyone you’re looking forward to seeing? Anyone on there you love that we shouldn’t miss?
I have perused the lineup. I’m particularly excited to see Blimp Rock. I haven’t had the chance yet but I’ve been curious for a long time. I recommend not missing Partner, because it will surely be epic. I love Julie Doiron and can’t wait to see her play. She is one of my all time favourite singers. I’ll be sitting up front or standing in the pit depending on what kind of show it is.