Let’s Get Unconscious Honey…

22 Oct


I woke up Tuesday at 5:15 am to go to work. Not exactly my idea of a good time but I’ve been working extra shifts there to save up a little extra for some travel. It was a strangely warm morning outside, leaves were golden yellow. It was utterly quiet as I rode my bike. I could even hear the sound of my gears gently creaking and the soft wind sound.

But there was something wholly different about this morning, this was the first morning after the Canadian election! What I witnessed last night was I think as close to history or revolution we ever got. Liberals sweeped a majority under pretty boy Justin Trudeau (who needs acting lessons so says William Shatner) getting rid of the collective Harper cancer, as brilliantly as it was demonstrated by John Oliver. Hope was in the air, and it tasted sweet.

I’m a cynic when it comes to politics. Power corrupts, plain and simple. I won’t be too surprised to find good ol’ Justin backtracking on many of his party’s lofty promises (Justin, prove me wrong!) it’s politics as usual and always has been. I just wonder why we fall for it every time. Politicians are like that boyfriend who always cheats and says he’ll never do it again, and we are like the naive girl that always takes him back and eventually regrets it..again..and again. Sometimes I feel like as a collective, we act so much based on our unconscious, not even knowing why we do the things we do. And it shows in our political actions and decisions as a nation. Though we quit Harper, we went right back to an old drug that in many ways, was just as harmful. I feel we had a close opportunity to move in a fresh new direction (yes I am pro NDP). Anyway, maybe fresh blood will be good for everyone. No Harper is good anyway you slice it.

Apart from the 72 day election mania, September and October flew by! Music and friends have been at the forefront with highlights including a visit from my wife Lisa’s best friend Raj from England, (we took him to the eastern townships, to see Timber Timbre and to try out many great Montreal Poutines including the Poutine Gratinée at Fameux. I did a string of shows in Quebec with Phil’s (my keyboardist) band Couteau Papillon, and almost left them stranded in Quebec City without keys to their car, in the middle the night, in the middle of an alley brawl (long story – I think I have been forgiven for that one?). It started with a One Man Band Fest Pop Montreal Showcase with BA Johnston and Xania, Mark Mills and Jonah Haché performing, all were just pure genius. Then my band, the JCEX played an awesome set at Quai Des Brumes on Sept 19th For Pop Montreal 2015 with Dear Denizen who were pretty cool.  We’ve been really ripping it up lately as a band and are sounding pretty smokin’. We now have a second bass player, by the name of André Bendahan, big hair, big heart, big bass!


Psyched about the string of shows coming up in the next few months, it’s going to be a roller coaster involving up to 5 countries. First show is tomorrow night! This Friday October 23rd @ the Plant with Sean Foster & the Vaqueros. The (185 Van Horne) It’s a Pay What You Can, BYOB event NOT TO BE MISSED! We will even have projections on this one courtesy of Bobby Jones. One week after that, I am off to Iceland, for a string of shows around Icelandic Airwaves Festival, then back to Canada for 2 short weeks before another jaunt to Europe where another JCEX stint begins!

Maestro…dates please!

Fall/ Winter 2015 Dates

I am so excited about playing at Icelandic Airwaves in these truly awesome venues (respectable too for a change!) and discovering this incredible culture, traveling around, seeing the Aurora Borealis and experiencing new music too. For these shows, the JCEX will be a duo asI will be joined by  long time friend and incredible electronic music artist and collaborator Christophe Barthe AKA Pfuzzle. Check out his awesome tracks on Soundcloud. We are “meeting halfway” as he puts it, with him coming in from Copenhaagen and I from Montreal, both meeting in Iceland, an exact halfway point!

There are many other dates in the work in the UK and Germany including a few  possible dates with UK OMB extraordinaire Sam Walker and a tour with Wax Mannequin in January 2016 (he likes the touring like he likes his ice cream, freezing cold!)

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Oh in Final news, The One Man Band Fest submissions are opening next week. Our One Man BAnd FEst – Pop Montreal show with B.A Johnston was a smash succes!! he dates are set for next year from May 27th to 29th. Check the website for details on how to apply:  www.onemanbandfest.com

Well as this new era begins and we close the book on the old and tired one, all I can say is as they Say in Icleandic “Áfram með smjörið” translated as  “On with the butter!” meaning, “keep doing what you’re doing!

Love and Butter..

Jon Cohen

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Heat Wave, Burnin In My Heart…

4 Aug

Martha & the Vandellas…

What a month it’s been! Action Jackson! git yr motor Runnin! I got fire in my feet and smoke in my belly, ants in my pants and lots more where that came from. Summer is upon us and I could barely find the time to sit down amidst this heat wave and write to you to let you know where things are at.

I spent part of the last month at Sled Island Festival an absolutely awesome week filled with music, sun, party and introspection. I had the luxury of staying in a couple of awesome places while there. I ended up couch surfing with two awesome people, one who lived in he suburban sprawl that is the Calgary suburbs. endless urban sprawl each little suburban neighbourhood with its own ecosystem, its own shopping center, its own everything.

Then I moved in closer to the city in a beautiful high rise overlooking the city skyline.  I also decided to do some volunteering while there and got to meet some very interesting and cool people there.  Saw some awesome bands but some that stood out were Jaga Jazzist (from Sweden) Mascaras, three huge Mexican guys with a crazy super high energy drummer, who played the psychedelic surf punk with a prog edge and a hot pink drum kit too! The Ex, Lightning Bolt, Lydia Loveless,  friends and Montrealers Year of Glad (great band) and Avec le  Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche, and was treated to a rare show by punk legends Television, among others were some of the best bands, and the energy in that town was wild during these amazing days with people just roaming the streets of downtown Calgary from venue to venue and bar to bar.

Today I am kind suffering though, got some kind of back issues, not very rock n roll I know. I think it has to do with the fact I drove to a festival last week near Moncton, called Messtival. The fest and show I played were great, a perfect mix of hippy turned raver fest with lots of cool psychedelic and electronic music the likes of Les Paeins, Durians, some cool reggae by Papa Ya and FM Hi low among others. I mainly hung out with awesome hip hoppin dancing queen Xania and the bubble wizard, giving random people free hugs (yes…the hippy love was a flowin’ at this camping fest) of about 500 people even though it was the “lamest event in town” (although the fest was awesome, everyone is supposed to say how shit it it). It was hidden away on 130 acres of beautiful forested land the called mustache county and loserville. Everyone was super cool and the music and activities were awesome. I had a great time.


Now looking into the fall I’ve got a few shows lined and lots of exciting things for both the JCEX and the One Man Band Festival, including some shows in Iceland at Icelandic Airwaves so here we go..

Thursday September 17th @ Pop Montreal (One Man Band Festival Showcase Featuring B.A Johnston, Xania and more) 

Saturday September 19 @ Pop Montreal (Quai Des Brumes) w/Dear Denizen
Friday September 11 @ Let Tremplin – Sherbrooke, Qc (W/Couteau Papillon)
Friday September 18 @ Le Sous Sol du Cercle Quebec, Qc (W/Couteau Papillon)
Friday October 3rd @ Le Zaricot, Qc (W/Couteau Papillon)

November 5th @ Icelandic Airwaves – Lucky Records (Reykjavik, Iceland)

November 6th @ Icelandic Airwaves – The Northern Lights Center (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Pop poster Low ResOur one man band fest event we are putting on at this years pop Montreal which will include BA Johnston, Xania, Mark Mills and Jonah Haché should be a sweet party of a time. All you one man and woman bands out there should keep your ears to the ground for submission news coming up in september! check the One Man Band Festival website constantly (like once every 17 minutes)..

I am still working on finishing up the instrumental album I’ve been promising you but it is taking a tad longer than expected. Should have something ready by end of September. October should be looking atmore recording as well as a few shows in November for Icelandic airwaves in Reykjavik, in December a UK tour and a possible tour in January with Wax Mannequin. More details to come soon! Currently I am working on demos with the band for the upcoming full length, which should be out sometime 2016. So much to do, so little time!

Stay cool but also stay hot!

Love from the Cohen Brother…



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There I Stand ‘Neath The Marquee Moon…

16 Jun


In all respects, the band Television from the new York late 70’S early 80’s era is an absolutely great band. At least they were back in the heyday. I am always struck by the amount of bands that are either making a comeback or have never really ceased touring for decades. Last year I was at a Quebec festival that was stepping into a real blast from the distant past. We ended up seeing acts like Blondie, Billy Joel, Steve Miller Band, alongside other newer acts like Gogol Bordello, Jake Bugg, Father John Misty, Bonobo and many more. Thinking back to bands that really had an impact, these days I am really into Big Star, having revisited some of their seminal albums #1 Record and Radio City after seeing the documentary “Nothing Can Hurt Me”. Theirs is a sad story.

Here is a band that created not one but two albums which are considered instant classics today, yet they  never really “made it” as it goes, they somehow got lost in the shuffle, they never made it big, they never really even got recognized, which resulted in an amazing band going sour (no money) and Chris Bell Dying tragically (age 27) Where Alex Chilton goes on to be an integral part of the New York Art/Punk Scene, producing albums for bands like the Cramps and yet again reinventing his entire artistic persona (an amazing feat) after being head of the box tops (who wrote the song The letter). Only after they disband and die do they ever get recognized. So let that be a lesson to all you aspiring rock geniuses out there, no point in feeling bad, your kids will probably reap the benefits of your blood, sweat and tears, or some record company in Russia, illegally uploading your music!

By this time next week I think I’m also gonna be under the marquee moon, not in New York but in Calgary. Jon Cohen Experimental is performing at Sled Island Music Fest, a pretty cool event which would showcase bands like Television, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Lightning Bolt, Yo La Tengo and many others. Should be good times all around… If you are in the Cowtown area, come by and check out the show, Ill be performing at Broken City Saturday June 27th. JCEX will also gonna be playing another fest in Anagance new Brunswick in August 8th, called Messtival. It’s a kind of camping fest, so should be a good time.

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Musically, it’s been a really cool couple of month for me and the band. We started with a small tour in Ontario (pics below) playing several towns Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton then Toronto for CMW. This was a good tour cause it was my first time out not as a one man band, with a full band and a good bunch of guys/ musicians. Our drummer dan had hookups for places to stay in every city, which was a big help.

Recently one of the songs off the new EP “Blood On The Microphone” was featured in the popular online radio show called “Bandcamp Weekly”. By my last count that play brought about 9000 listens to my EP Passion Pilgrim in just one week and a bunch of sales + new fans to boot, mainly in the US, Canada and UK. Passion Pilgrim has had a good run since last December, charting in 10 cities and  getting good press in New Music Canada, Longueur D’ondes, #CultMtl, Snapd and more. Some people k even tell me it’s on heavy rotation in their player, which is a nice thing to hear. I sometimes try to imagine what situations the music I make is being consumed /enjoyed by others and this pleases me! I guess that’s the push/pull between narcissism and creativity, the Jekyll and Hyde almost al musicians are caught between the fantasy and the reality .

Two New Albums!

Regardless of my inner struggles, sights and sails are still being set once again, I am indulgent but  no longer waiting years between records, too much output to keep in the closet. The news is that I’m not only working on 1 new record but 2 NEW RECORDS at the same time.

The 1st is an all-instrumental album of about 7 songs. It will be released online only and will also feature an animated video for one of the tunes (more to come on this). The new record is an all-solo project for the JCEX and drops in a month (end of July) as a pre-cursor to the full length album which the band and I are preparing to record in the fall due out early 2016 if the gods of rock permit it. This one will be with full band and I have a strong feeling it will be the best one yet.

We’ve been working long and hard on a series of new songs, which I feel are gonna be part of the next big opus for JCEX. More music. Look out for summer and fall dates in Montreal, east coast and area. More tours, more music, more every thing. Till then, we soldier on!

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