Interview – Jordan B. Wright

Toronto’s Jordan B. Wright recently released a music video for his third single “Midnight Sun” to Youtube from his LP Everything Blue. I had the opportunity to ask Wright more about his music via email interview. Continue reading to find out more about the artist.

First off, can you introduce yourself to Canadian Beats readers?

Sure. I am a Toronto musician who you may know from my bass playing with The Cliks, Tara Slone (Joydrop), Random Order, or from when I played keyboards and guitar in Johnny Major. I have played bass on many albums over the years and fronted my own band The Wisk. I have also had the opportunity of working with talent such as Morgan Doctor (Chantal Kreviazuk), Beth Washburn, Dinah Thorpe, and Michael Peter Olson (Arcade Fire, Drake) who all played on Everything Blue.

Who are your influences?

As a kid I listened to my parent’s record collection, which included David Bowie, Nina Simone, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Supertramp, CSNY, Bob Marley, and anything my older brother brought home such as The Who, UB40, and Depeche Mode. I can relate to the moment in the movie Almost Famous when the character William Miller played by Patrick Fugit is enthralled when he inherits his sister’s record collection. There is something special about sitting down with a record, opening up the cover, looking at the enlarged pictures, gently placing the record on the player, watching it spin, and hearing the slight hisses and scratches as it plays. The quality over the years has changed so much from record, to tape, to CD, and now digital format where everything is compressed and something special is lost. I inherited my grandfather’s record player, which I still enjoy more than CD’s and once I get the funds together I would like to release Everything Blue or my next album on vinyl.

As a teenager my friends introduced me to the Ramones, Fishbone, Rancid, Hepcat, and lots of good Reggae, Ska, and Punk Rock. I remember listening to King Apparatus in high school and later having the pleasure of working with talented musician Mitch Girio when he asked me to join Sound System.

Whom, or what, have been your inspirations when writing tracks?

I have been influenced by many bands including Metric, Mates of State, Stephen Malkmus, The Pixies, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Of Monsters and Men, and The Lumineers.

Advocates such as Naomi Klein and Dean Spade have had a large impact on me inspiring me to take action in my own advocacy work around creating safe spaces for gender non-conforming and trans folks. I worked hard this year to create an All Gender washroom for both staff and students at an elementary school I work at in Toronto.

What has been the reception for your album Everything Blue so far?

I am overwhelmed by the amount of attention Everything Blue has been receiving. My single Come Save Us was released by Exclaim and I have had interviews with CIUT, CFRC, and was approached by the music programmer for CBC’s Here and Now for a copy of Everything Blue.

I felt really lucky for all the support I received in recording Everything Blue including my kickstarter which allowed me to record at Canterbury Music with Juno Nominee Jeremy Darby and master it at Lacquer Channel with Noah Mintz. My CD release party at The Burdock was sold out and I have sold many albums on top of the presold copies from my kickstarter.

My band is also now being booked by Music City North and I feel we are off to a great start for a new Indie band with our first full length album release. We have been added to the Soundtrack of the City Music Festival on Saturday July 9th at The Cameron House.

What surprises do you have in store for fans attending your show on July 9 at the Cameron House?

If I tell you it won’t really be a surprise, but I’ll give you some hints. We will be playing a full set of music for our fans. We will also have some amazing give-aways at the show, but you’ll have to come to the Cameron House Saturday July 9th to find out what they are. I’ve heard Soundtrack of the City is a great music festival, so I am very excited and feel proud to be a part of it.

How was the filming experience for the “Midnight Sun” music video?

Getting into Camp 30 was a little bit nerve wracking and exciting because we were unsure if we were allowed to film there. Two police cars were parked at the end of the street and we thought we might be asked to leave, charged a fine, or worse case scenario be arrested for trespassing. We walked our instruments onto the site, and were never approached by the police. As we continued to film, families entered the site with their children, so it seemed it was not an issue to be there.

As for the crew, I have worked with Dani Gagnon before when we filmed Shake This, and it is always a wonderful process working together. Dani moves quickly with the camera, has great ideas, is very professional, and Erica Schiopu always comes to help out. My band consisting of Jennifer Bryan, Monica Julie, and Renee Cross were all excited to rock out for the scenes, and we had such a great time.

Whom, or what, inspired the track and the accompanying video?

Midnight Sun is about betrayal, being able to shake hands under the moonlight aka “Midnight Sun”, walking away, and learning from situations which are not healthy for us.

At Canadian Beats, we like to include fun questions to help fans get to know you a bit more.

Who are your favourite Canadian artists?

Sloan, By Divine Right, Metric, The Deers, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Tokyo Police Club, and Blue Rodeo.

What was the first album you ever purchased?

Thriller by Michael Jackson on vinyl. Though at age 8 I was a little afraid of the music video, but I loved the music.

What inspired you to pursue music?

My grandmother used to play piano when I was just high enough to see the keys and she played so beautifully. My mom was always singing to me when I was little and sometimes she would play acoustic guitar. She told me she used to write songs when she was young and that inspired me to write my first song at the age of seven. I think I always considered music a hobby until I was in my first year of University where I felt bored with first year courses. My best friend from high school, Robyn Bright, asked me to move to Edmonton and play bass in her band so I dropped out of University and moved there within a weekend without knowing anything about Edmonton. All I knew is that I wanted to play music and that it was the first time in a long time that I had felt anything so strongly.

What would be your dream line-up for a show?

Billy Talent, By Divine Right, Joel Plaskett, Sloan, and Metric. These bands have all inspired me over the years and shaped my writing style.

I find playing music festivals extremely rewarding; you get to play among so many talented musicians. I am really looking forward to playing bass with my friend Dinah Thorpe this summer at Hillside Music Festival in Guelph, July 22-24.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?

A warm sleeping bag, my rain boots, and if I had internet access, my computer so I could skype with all the talented musicians out there.

Finally, is there anything else that would like to say to our readers?

Come on out to Soundtrack of the City at The Cameron House July 9th for a fun night and some great giveaways. I will be there early around 9pm for anyone who wants to come have a drink with me.

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