Lead Photo: Laura Hermiston
Canadian indie alt-pop/rock artist JEEN recently released her new LP, Dog Bite, co-produced with renowned musician/fellow bandmate Ian Blurton (Change of Heart, C’mon, Future Now).
JEEN is an established songwriter with a penchant for crafting hooky, sync-worthy songs who released her debut solo album in 2014. Prior to that, she was the vocalist and co-writer for Cookie Duster, the side project from Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene) and appears on their 2012 album When Flying Was Easy. She has also written for many recording artists including Great Big Sea, Serena Ryder, Res, Hawksley Workman, Brendan Canning, FUWA FUWA (j-pop) and Martin “Doc” McKinney.
We had the opportunity to chat with JEEN about new music, her creative process, and what she’s learned along the way.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your album “Dog Bite”?
JEEN: I had my self-titled album lined up for release early 2020 when everything got locked down. So when I decided to release it anyway, I knew I was going to write another album right away; one I could (hopefully) release in a more normal world. 2021 proved to be equally chaotic, but writing/recording/releasing Dog Bite through the worst parts of the pandemic was the only thing that kept me sane. I’m not sure where I would have been this past year and a half without having this album to focus on.
Kat: What do you hope fans connect with on the album?
JEEN: If they connect with any part of it I’m happy. I try and write as honestly as I can, without sounding like someone I’m not. At times I guess I can do that to a fault, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters to me is that it resonates with someone out there.
Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?
JEEN: The creative process is my favourite part of this whole thing. Writing and recording really helps keep my head in check. but if I had to pick something I guess I’d say maybe lyrics can be a challenge at times, especially when you’re writing a ton of songs back to back… have to really dig in once you’re on your 14th song in a row or whatever, to make sure the message still has depth and it’s not just regurgitated, surface garbage.
Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far?
JEEN: I’ve been doing this for a long time now so there’s been a lot of cool moments… but one of the things that comes to mind would be my involvement in the Ruby Gloom animated series. I co-wrote/sang the theme song and was also asked to be the singing voice for the character Misery (co-wrote the songs she sang too). It’s a pretty adorable cartoon, so I was happy to have been a little part of it.
Kat: What have you learned along the way?
JEEN: Not to follow trends cause you’ll prob just die with them. Also (still learning) to be less critical of myself but it’s not an easy habit to break. I tend to come down pretty hard on myself so I’m really trying to work that out cause it never helps anything.
Kat: What’s next?
JEEN: I’m going to put out a little lo-fi xmas cover next month and we’re going back into studio for two weeks to record the next album, so I’m super excited about that. We’ll start rolling it out hopefully around March 2022. And I guess I really need to start looking at playing live again. After everything that’s gone down, the landscape out there has really changed. I’m a bit scared about the state of it all but I’m really looking forward to next year, whatever it might bring.
To connect with JEEN visit: http://www.jeen.ca