YOU GUYS. I am beyond excited that Canada’s Weaves have got a couple of NYC shows this week, because they are SO AMAZING live. (I mean SO. AMAZING.) You’ve got opportunities to catch them early this evening at Rough Trade for free, or if you want the full, unrestrained experience, you’ll need to head to Mercury Lounge later tonight and/or Baby’s All Right tomorrow. (Regardless, you need to catch them at least once while they’re in town or risk living in eternal regret forever dot com.) I recently caught up with frontwoman Jasmyn Burke to talk about travel, her creative process and more, so internet eavesdrop on our full conversation below, grab a copy of Weaves (out now on Kanine), and I repeat: GRAB SHOW TICKETS OR ELSE!
So you guys are back home after some tour dates now?
Yeah, we’re home after like, two months of touring. It’s nice.
How were the UK dates? I saw you guys stayed in a yurt at one point?
Yeah, it was pretty cool! We try to do Airbnb’s if we have a few days off; we’ll stay on farms or do something interesting out of the city, so we stayed at a yurt which also had a hot tub, and we stayed at this other place that was a crazy beautiful farm. It’s just nice to try and switch it up on the road.
So what’re you up to now that you’re back home? Just relaxing and preparing for the next leg?
Pretty much. We’re kind of doing stuff like this (interviews), and then just getting prepared, because we’re in the US for three weeks, then will have about three days off, and then are in Europe for all of September. So just doing laundry, enjoying my bed… [Laughs]
Well I’m really excited for you guys to come to NYC! The last time I saw you play was actually at Iceland Airwaves. Was that your first time there?
That was our first time there, and it was magical. It was just such a beautiful festival, and I don’t know, it’s just one of those things that I think everybody should go and experience. And we rented a vehicle, too, so we went to one of the hot springs and tried to see some of the land. It was pretty cool.
Right?! I’m actually headed back again this year. I’m totally obsessed.
Yeah, and it’s nice because all the shows are really close together, so you can actually go and see a lot of music. We were able to bounce around to a few venues.
Totally. Although I feel like the night I saw you guys the lineup was pretty stacked with Chastity Belt and Mitski, too, so I didn’t do too much bouncing then. Now, how long have you personally been interested in making music? I read that you were involved in the Toronto DIY scene when you were younger, but was there anything before that?
When I was a teenager I just sort of wrote poems, but playing music in bands didn’t really start happening until I was nineteen or twenty. I started an all-girl band with my friends, and then just went from there, playing in the city and doing a little bit of touring, but nothing too drastic until I guess Weaves started. But I’ve always had an interest in music, both playing it and listening to it, so it was pretty organic.
So how do you find the dynamic of operating as a member of a band as opposed to working by yourself? Because I know you’ve done both at this point, so I’m curious to know if you prefer one over the other, or what the challenges or benefits of each are.
Well even with Weaves I start by writing music alone, and I think in that way, I like to start things by myself in a room. I guess I’ve never really collaborated like I have with Morgan where we really kind of dissect the song and pull it apart and put it back together, so I like the process of working with him and figuring out what we want a song to sound like. But it does always start with me by myself, just looping stuff and figuring out vocals and melodies. For me that’s kind of the most exciting time, is finding the spark of the music. They both have interesting qualities, but I think I like the beginnings, and bringing it to Morgan is fun, too.
And so is your creative process totally sporadic? How do you guys coordinate schedules to collaborate?
Usually I’ll go to our jam space and spend the day there, and then I’ll start emailing him songs, or I’ll tell him a day in advance that I’ll be in the studio so he knows to pay attention to his emails. He’ll listen back to everything that I’ve sent him throughout the day, and he’ll tell me what he likes and what he thinks we should do. So I’ll send him a group of songs, he’ll see which he likes, and then we’ll figure it out from there; I’ll go to his house and we’ll record it properly.
So in terms of the record, did you go into it with any sort of clear vision of what you wanted to achieve sonically or narratively? Or did you just start writing songs and patterns emerged?
I never really have any specific topic that I’m interested in talking about, it just sort of is whatever comes up in life. And I think that all of our songs are kind of different, so it’s not necessarily a particular sound, it’s just kind of whatever pops into my head and going with it. But as a writer, I just try and be honest and open, and hopefully encourage other women to write music. So that’s kind of my goal, I guess, is to encourage more females to get out there and participate in a predominantly male industry. [Laughs]
How’s that actually been for you? Have you noticed any major breakthroughs in 2016, or is it still the whole snide sound guy thing? Do you experience any of that?
I feel like the guys get treated the same by the sound people on the road sometimes; they’re just disgruntled. [Laughs] But I think there’s always room for change. If you see festival lineups, most of the performers are male, and the engineers and sound people are men, so it’s these industries that are just kind of dominated by men in every aspect of it, like producers and directors, so I think there’s always room for change in that way. But I don’t necessarily feel like I experience negative energy towards other musicians, you know? I think people are supportive of women in music, but it’s just having more of us participating. I think that probably could increase. [Laughs]
For sure. And have you (in the last couple of months, anyway) noticed any sort of specific areas that have been inspiring to you in terms of your creative work?
I think traveling and playing these festivals. When you start playing festivals with artists you look up to, but you also see how they perform, and how direct they are with the audience, it pushes you to want to make music that can transcend in that way. That gets my creative juices moving, when I’m seeing these different landscapes and these artists that work really hard and you can see it on stage. It makes you want to do that as well, and to make your music bigger and better, so I find that to be creatively stimulating. And just seeing all these different places! We went to Norway, to Belgium…next month we’re going to Italy…you get to see so much art and creativity, and the existence of humans. Like, I live in Canada, and we don’t really have a lot of old buildings, no castles that are from the 17th century, so even seeing these things and how humans have developed over time helps you feel more part of the lineage, and that almost becomes more inspiring, because you start to really see the importance of art and communication and creativity.
Absolutely. And speaking of all this travel, do you ever get tempted to shake things up and move out of Toronto? Or do you think that’ll be home base for a while?
I think it’ll be our home base for a while. I just picture myself retiring in Switzerland or something. That’s a goal. [Laughs] But we all live within twenty minutes of each other, so it’s really easy to meet up and practice and figure out songs, so I feel like at this point this is kind of where we belong. And I like living in Canada. I think it’s a nice place. I don’t know, maybe Vancouver. Spencer and Morgan are actually from the West Coast, so I guess we could move to Vancouver or something, but for now Toronto’s our home.
All I can say is I get so jealous of people who are Canadian, especially now with this election. And people joke about moving to Canada, and it’s like, no, we can’t just jump ship, but maybe we can plan more northerly vacations…
Yeah it’s scary. But it seems like it’s hard, because you meet communities when you’re traveling in America, and it doesn’t seem like everybody is this right-wing conservative, so it’s hard to gauge. Because the individuals within the country don’t seem that radical, but I don’t know. It’s a hard thing to decipher. It’s crazy. And I’m sure you’ve got your whole group of friends and you’re all like, “Why is this happening? I don’t understand.”
Right, exactly. It’s nuts. But at least that’s a couple months away still.
I feel like Hillary kind of has to win, though. I don’t know.
God, I hope so. But anyway, what’s coming up next for you guys apart from these dates? I know you’re going back to Europe after this, but are you specifically writing anything new now? I don’t know how long it took for you to finish up the last record before it was released, so I’m not sure what stage you’re realistically at in terms of new material.
Well, yeah, we’re touring a lot of the next two or three months, but after that I’d like to start working on the new one. You know, you tour the record for six or seven months or a year, and you want to put out new material because it’s just a natural thing to want to play different songs. [Laughs] So I’m home for two weeks and booked in some time to start writing. It all influences you and makes you want to become a better musician, so I hope going into the studio that some things come out. You know, there’s always the doubt that you’ll be able to write another song, but I feel confident in what we’ve been doing. It’s always a nice, quiet process in the beginning, just feeling human emotions and writing it down, and I don’t want to lose that aspect of it in thinking too much about putting out a record. So I’ll probably just sit alone for a while in my house and write music, and hopefully something interesting will come out. [Laughs]