Interview: The Jon Cohen Experimental

JCEX-PRESSPIC-Jon Cohen of The Jon Cohen Experimental (ex-The Dears) has just started a European tour which will take in The Grand Social tonight, Friday 20th January. Jon answered a couple of questions via email after his flight across the Atlantic.

Nessy: You’re on tour in support of your album “Behold”, how do you think that you have progressed as a solo artist?

Jon Cohen: I definitely have come a long way. There are new ways I’m doing things now, new approaches to music, new philosophies on how to play it how to record it and write it. I have a lot more care in my approach now because this album is my project. My baby, so we’ll see what happens when this baby grows up!

This tour is a solo tour but you still manage to play a number of instruments to reflect each song you play. Do you play them all at the same time or how does that work out?

I use looper pedals, I use triggers, drum pads, mini korgs, theremins, basses and voice amongst many percusive interuments and pan flutes. It’s quite a feat. Each instrument represents more of a modd than a song, it’s quite fiun to play this way cause you have to be really concentrated and yet let go at some point and let the thing drive itself.

People still refer to you as Jon Cohen from The Dears, does that annoy you? Or is it just another part of your life?

It doesn’t bother me too much, people need a kind of reference, so does the media. To be honest at first I was selling myself like that (ex-dears) member to the industry and the media but that was more to put my foot in the door and get people to notice what I’m all about. It’s a tool I use sometimes to get people to listen but its not the only too, also being an ex-member of thr dears doesn’t define me as an artist, its only one page in the great big book of Jon!

You seem to blog a lot when you’re on tour. Does that help with writing music or are they two completely separate ways of expressing yourself?

I think the both feed into each other. Touring is a great outpour of my artistic side, whether its writing and playing music or writing my blog or even the business side of it, I feel very creative in that time span, I feel like it’s a god time to tap all ressources and outlets for artistic endeavours, writing is one of those outlets. Also the blog is aa great promotional tool and a great way to stay connected.

Your tour is quite extensive and you’re making your way as far as Finland! What’s the one thing you miss about home when you leave and what’s the one thing you can’t left without?

The one thing I miss the most is my home, the idea of having my own personal space and all my comforts. But at the same time, I don’t really miss it, Im in the mode of “everything is new and exciting”. They make these amazing chocolate babkas near my place, I think I will miss those the most! I’ll tell you one thing I won’t miss, the -25 degree and snowy weather!

I heard you’re filming a documentary about the tour? How much everyday stuff will you film?

It all depends on the guy ewhose filming it, we met up last night and discussed a few ideas but Its gonna take place in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin, so it will involve everyday travels, music of course and all the stuff in between. Until we start the process, your guess is as good as mine.

It’s not as cold here as it is in Montreal this time of year, is this like a summer holiday to you?

Yes!!! It was -1 in London when we landed. The pilot on the speaker tells us “it’s a bit chilly in London -1C, hope you bundle up!” I don’t understand, does he not remember WHERE we arrived from? Only the cold frozen tundra that is Canada!!

Finally, if you found a Genie’s lamp and had three wishes, what would you wish for?

Silly goose! Everybody knows when you find a Genie’s lamp you use your wish to wish for more wishes!!!

All the dates for the ‘Passenger’ Tour can be found here. The album, ‘Behold’ is out now.