Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Jackson Reed, who discusses his new single “Generation Vietnam” and upcoming work “The November Gales EP,” which is set for an Oct. 14 release.
Review Fix: What was the creative process like for this EP?
Jackson Reed: After high school I took a year off to travel. I went on tour playing banjo with my brother (Old Cabin) and our friend from the Sault, Thean Slabbert (Bosveld). Then I backpacked through the states meeting new people at hostels, and after that I moved in with my family in Melbourne, where I was listening to Australian bands like Twerps, The Babe Rainbow, Laura Jean. When I came home from that trip, I lived with mom and dad who have places on Lake Superior and this giant river in Sault Ste Marie. It was a really great time for writing music and lyrics. I remember having a lot of fun drafting all these silly verses for Generation Vietnam, while my dad was hanging out with me taking pictures. Hahaha.
The other part was at Port William Sound in Mountain Grove, Ontario. It’s like a really beautiful recording studio built by Jonas Bonnetta of the band Evening Hymns. He helped engineer, arrange instruments and gave me time finish songs in his space. His puppy Charley helped out a bunch of the ruff mixes, too!
Review Fix: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Reed: Woods, Portugal. The Man & Real Estate. Those guys have definitely stuck in my iPod for the past five years or so. Also Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, a lot of 60s folk singers and psych bands.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Reed: Slop pop. I think it’s folk-y, but it’s also rock-y in a slop pop way, too.
Review Fix: What makes “Generation Vietnam” a special song?
Reed: It’s a subtle protest song. The lyrics are like, “hey this isn’t right, I can’t go to war, that’s totally against my lifestyle”, and the music is just like nostalgic guitar rock.
Review Fix: How have you grown as a musician from this EP?
Reed: I’m learning how to finish songs and just be cool with that. It’s hard to know when you’re done, with something like a song or a painting. So I’m happy that the EP is done. The vibes are good!
Review Fix: How do you want this EP to be remembered?
Reed: A record that lasts forever, hopefully. I don’t really like showing people the EP I made in high school, three years ago. But I’m also really happy about the songs and the people who collaborated on the record. Jonas plays all over it and he has a great mind for music. Same with Gavin, who did the mastering. So I hope people can get into that, and my new songs. I’m looking forward to writing more.
Review Fix: What’s your biggest weakness as a performer and how are you working on making it a strength?
Reed: My voice hits a lot sour notes. It happens. I’ll be working it by playing shows.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Reed: I’m going on weekend release tour in Ontario. It will be me on acoustic guitar and my friend Jason Willet on violin. He’s from the Sault and a great multi-instrumentalist. I’m playing with bands like Fog Lake, Henoheno, Molly Drag, Inna Powell, Great Chamberlain, Littlefolk and some more.
Oct 14 – Toronto – Saving Gigi
Oct 15 – Hamilton – Doors Pub
Oct 16 – St. Catherine’s – Fiddler’s Pour House
Oct 22 – Montreal – La Cagibi
Oct 27 – Guelph – Silence
Nov 4 – Ottawa – Pressed Cafe
Nov 5 – Peterborough – The Spill
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Reed: I’m really excited to be working with Deadplant Records on this release. They are a really indie label from Grand Rapids, Michigan. There’s so many artists in the states that I don’t even know, but are amazing, and I see Deadplant helping hook me up with them. Grand Rapids is super close to where I’m at in Ontario, so hopefully I’ll go visit them next year if I can set up a tour of the United States.