Jeen | Interview | New Album, ‘Tracer’
Without sounding dated or cliche, Jeen takes us down the rabbit hole of decades past yet this feels very present.
‘Jeen’ (2020), ‘Dog Bite’ (2021) and the latest ‘Tracer’ (2022) could be a trilogy of sorts. ‘Tracer’ exudes the warmth of something familiar without being or feeling nostalgic. Every great record shares what the artist loves and inspires them with the listener. This is where ‘Tracer’ absolutely shines.
“Like passages of time”
You recently released a new album, what was the creation process for ‘Tracer’ like?
I started writing the songs for ‘Tracer’ winter 2020 and finished around late spring 2021 so everything was still pretty locked down from the plague. I was fighting a lot of anxiety and panic attacks at that time, as I’m sure many can relate. It was just a shitty time in general almost everywhere in the world so I was grateful to have this album to pour myself into, somewhere to hide out for awhile. But yeah, I took the song demos (made at my house) to my co-producer Ian Blurton and after some pre-pro. We went into his studio for a 2 week block to record the album.
What can you say about the tracks?
There’s 10 tracks on this LP and they’re all pretty across the spectrum. Arguably the heaviest moment I’ve ever recorded could be the bridge of ‘Heaven x Headrush’ and then maybe the chilliest I’ve ever been on ‘Little Idea.’ But like I said, society was even worse than it usually is when I wrote/recorded these songs so I feel that tumultuous vibe, like the back and forth, push and pull across the 10 tracks if that makes sense. Everything was really peaking when I wrote ‘No Way Around’ and I sometimes think I wouldn’t have found the vocal harmony for that chorus if I wasn’t entirely losing my shit the week I wrote it. Anyway, Ian Blurton sings with me on a few songs too, most notably ‘Spinning Wheels,’ so that was a nice element and I almost nixed a song from the album that ended up being one of my favourites in the end (‘Gone Too Far’).
Tell us more about the recording and producing process for ‘Tracer.’
This is my third album co-producing with Ian so we have a good system going. We didn’t use many outside musicians and just played the instruments ourselves for the most part…partially due to the state of infection rates and I’m also just a bit of a recluse in general I guess. However, we did have Robin Hatch come in and lay down some synth on 5 of the songs (tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 8). Ian hooked it up and I only met her that recording day. She was lovely, and just really fucking slayed all her parts too so all respect. Stephan Szczesniak plays the drums/percussion and my father in law Tom Szczesniak (who happens to be a genius musician) played bass on the song ‘Tracer’ too. We made the album at Ian’s studio ProGold in Toronto, the same place we made ‘Dog Bite’ and the self-titled one ‘Jeen’ from 2020.
How would you compare the upcoming album with ‘Jeen’ and ‘Dog Bite,’ your previous two albums? Do you feel this is a continuation, like being part of a trilogy?
Well if it is a continuation I hope it’s more than a trilogy so I can still make another album but yes I guess in a way they are connected. Like passages of time are connected more than like concrete though. Doing records back to back def starts feeling like chapters to a bigger thing. They all weave together.
What are some of your other influences, musical or otherwise?
I don’t listen to any music at the moment which I know sounds stupid but it’s true. I haven’t for like a really long time actually. I used to listen to tons of stuff, like any kid, so it hasn’t been my whole life or anything. I just find I over analyze music like crazy right now. Like any music that is close to my genre doesn’t really bring me enjoyment because my brain just starts tearing apart every note…it’s lame. I could listen to classical music or rap or death metal and find some enjoyment there because I don’t write that stuff and I can’t analyze it in the same way. I hope I grow out of it because it’s like a bad glitch. But some fav old bands that come to mind are Jane’s Addiction, the Who, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Bob Dylan lyrics, vocalists like Layne Staley or Chris Cornell…too many great artists to choose.
Are you planning to hit the road to promote the upcoming album?
I would love to so much but I’m self-funded and can barely make these albums and pay my rent let alone fund a tour without support. I wish though and my fingers are always crossed for tours, would love to make something work so we’ll see. I really hope so.
What else currently occupies your life?
Honestly, it’s been so music focused (hyper focused) these past few years, I haven’t done much else. When I’m not recording, I’m writing songs and when I’m not doing either of those I’m stressing about it ha. I’d actually really like to start a side project before too much longer if I could. It would be nice to try something new like that, something where I’m just a part or half of something bigger as opposed to being the whole main thing all the time. It would be nice to collaborate to get out of my own head for a bit.
Thank you for taking your time. Last word is yours.
Thank you for having me! I am always grateful to have support from It’s Psychedelic Baby, which means a lot and once I get some physical copies of this LP in my hand you’re the first on my mailing list.
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