In the midst of what has turned out to be a wild year, singer/songwriter Terence Jack has been busy not only writing music but creating a home studio. With this freshly built studio, TJ is ready to rock through the rest of 2020, including the upcoming release of his new record, Bloom, this fall. The latest single, “Heart in Head Out”, from the record is out TODAY and TJ took the time to answer some questions about this crazy year and his music.
MFL: You have your own studio! When did you decide to take this on, what was the process like and how do you feel now that you are on the other side?
TJ: YES! It’s a crazy dream come true for me. For a guy like me who the only “gear” I had until 25-years old was 2 guitar tuner pedals to now having a slough of gear, it’s surprising to even me. I suppose that my progression happened over a longer arch of time than most.
Basically, while my wife and I were looking for our first house, I saw the garage and I planted the seed right away. We were fortunate enough to put in a bid and got the house and 1-year later during Covid we found the time to actually frame in the studio and make it happen. There’s still a few little last things to finish but I’m here all day every day writing, practicing and producing. The goal was to have the process from idea to song with as little resistance as possible.
MFL: Congrats on your new single! This track is so full of hope, which we cannot get enough of right now. How did the idea for “Heart in Head Out” come to you?
TJ: ‘Heart In’ was born of music and chord progression first, and then gauged how the music made me feel. I think it has a triumphant feeling contrasted by the sort of chill downer verses. I think we live in a very heady world and I think we need to get back to our roots of being hearty. As an example, making a decision because I want to help someone opposed to this is going to make me money.
MFL: When can we expect your upcoming record, Bloom, and how will your new studio space affect this release?
TJ: Bloom will be out Oct 2020 and I feel it’s well overdue on releasing it. We have had it ready for a year and forces just stood in the way. I’m very excited to play live with the new menu of songs to choose from. Also, I have a lot of new ideas for new songs so once this is out it’s onto the next as fast as the team will allow.
MFL: What does Bloom represent to you and has that concept changed at all through this past year?
TJ: I think the important thing is what does Bloom represent to YOU. I mean I guess it’s multilayered but I’d like the listener to have it mean something to them that differs from my initial intention. Metaphors everywhere. Ha
MFL: Finally, we are halfway through the year at this point. Do you have any goals or visions moving forward for 2020? If so, what are they?
TJ: Whoa. Personally, educating myself to be the best human I can. For music my goal is to start to record the next album and prepare for a solo tour for whenever the world opens up again.
Little Kid is set to release their newest album Friday, July 3rd. In anticipation of the release, the band let me fire some questions at them regarding the evolution of the musical project and much more. The band consists of members Kenny Boothby (lead), Megan Lunn (banjo, keys, vocals), Paul Vroom (bass &vocals), Liam Cole (drums) and Brodie Germain (drums, guitar, percussion).
MFL: I understand your musical project has been around since 2011. How did Little Kid begin and how did it become what it is today if you can articulate?
Little Kid (LK): The first Little Kid album came out in April 2011, but I had been working on some of those songs since 2009, so in a sense the project has been around even longer… It started out as a way for me to experiment with writing and recording music by myself for the first time (prior to LK, I was basically just in a bunch of joke bands with my friends, and I’d never tried to write a song I sincerely liked). I was really interested in recording on tape and integrating found sounds into my songs, and Logic Songs turned out to be a mix of pretty simple folk-influenced songs and more ambient soundscape stuff. When I started playing shows, I found myself wanting to perform with other people, and Brodie became a pretty consistent collaborator and we wound up recording the second Little Kid album together. From there, the band has seemingly grown a little bit with each release, and each one has been more collaborative than the last. Paul joining around 2015 had a big impact on the recording fidelity as well, because he went to school for that sort of thing and has recorded us in his home studio since then. Nowadays, the songs typically start with a musical idea I bring to the table, and the band helps me develop it musically. The lyrics have mostly been by mine exclusively, with the exception of one song Brodie wrote and sang lead for on our previous album, Might As Well With My Soul.
MFL: Along those lines, since this project has been around for almost a decade, has its intention changed at all while you have grown as a person?
LK: Definitely the intention has shifted over time. Lyrically, I’ve tried to be less prescriptive – I feel like a lot of my older stuff seemed to have a clear message or moral, but I don’t feel comfortable imparting anything resembling wisdom these days. I’ve definitely embraced storytelling more in recent albums, and I think the songs folks have connected with the most have been the ones that tell a compelling story. Also, as I mentioned earlier we have moved towards a more collaborative approach over time. I think things have shifted musically as well: in some ways, the songs are more direct (distinct verses and choruses, less meandering passages), but they have become more experimental in other ways (working in unexpected chords and finding ways to make the songs sound strange without resorting to guitar pedals and computer plugins).
MLF: It seems you have bounced around Ontario for many years! Have you lived outside of Ontario? If so, where?
LK: Sadly, no. I’ve lived in a few different cities in Ontario. For a long time my goal was to wind up in Toronto, and despite a lot of gripes I have with it, it’s probably still my favourite city I’ve been to. I hope I can stay indefinitely, but the high cost of living definitely feels unsustainable.
MFL: How was music part of your upbringing and when did you know it would be part of you forever?
LK: My upbringing was pretty intertwined with church, and that’s where a lot of my most formative musical education happened. I went to a Catholic school, and attended masses occasionally there, but my family went to a Pentecostal church from my childhood right up until I moved out at 17 to go to university. I learned piano and a bit of guitar when I was really young from a more traditional, classically-trained musician, but it didn’t stick. When I was around 11, I got an electric guitar and started taking lessons from a high school student from my church and learned some of the basics there. But music really started to click for me when I started playing in the worship band. I started to notice patterns – a lot of those songs are built around the same chord progressions – and I got some really valuable pushes in that direction from a couple musicians at the church who kinda blew my mind with things like the circle of fifths. I grew up with a piano in the house as well, and I think when I started to play that again around 13 or 14, and noticed the ways it relates to the guitar, it all started to click and I fell in love.
MFL: Little Kid has shared the stage with some incredible musicians! Can you touch on some of your favorite experiences?
LK: We’ve definitely been blessed with some incredible opportunities. A show we often reminisce about was playing with Friendship in September 2017 – they are just an incredible band. One that was kind of surreal was getting a last minute offer to open for Keaton Henson at a sold-out show at the Great Hall in Toronto. That’s the biggest venue LK has ever played… We were told it needed to be a solo set and I was given about a day’s notice to get prepared. I was super nervous and I definitely made some mistakes, but overall it felt great and I think we reached a lot of new folks with that set.
MFL: What do the next few weeks look like for you all in anticipation of the release of Transfiguration Highway on July 3rd?
LK: Not super eventful from the looks of it… Most of us are laid off from work so we are just trying to stay indoors and keep healthy. I’m lucky to live with a couple friends right now so I have company – it would be really hard to be alone through all of this. I’ve also been trying to keep up with what is happening in the US and Canada right now with the Black Lives Matter movement, and trying to find ways to help.
MFL: When and how was the idea for Transfiguration Highway born?
LK: The songs sort of came together separately without a particular concept in mind. The album takes its name from the song “Transfiguration Highway,” and that song is about returning to your hometown and examining the ways both you and the place have changed over time. It was mostly inspired by a visit to Petrolia (my hometown) in early 2019. The title felt fitting for the album, though, because a lot of the songs in the album include some mention of roads or highways and I picture a lot of the characters in the songs as existing somewhere along the highway from Petrolia to Toronto.
MFL: Feel free to answer individually or as a group! Who are you listening to when you are you not working on your own music? I love hearing about what kind of music artists are digging into!
LK: I think some more-or-less band-wide favourites would be Radiohead, Big Thief, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Wilco, and Modest Mouse. Lately, I have been enjoying the Tenci album that came out last week and the Empty Country album that came out a few months ago, and I keep finding myself going back to DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar recently. Brodie from LK recommended a recent album called Floatr by Happyness and that has been a pretty frequent listen too.
Transfiguration Highway is out tomorrow, July 3rd, on Solitaire Records. Big thanks to Dan Rutman for facilitating.