April Come She Will…

1 Apr

Simon & Garfunkel…

Twas the winter of our discontent….wait a minute.. WAS?? It seems like when I open my front door to step outside (most likely to buy food or some necessity, otherwise I’d probably stay in) I still get that blast of cold air, that chill that just seizes my entire body up like an invisible straight jacket, numbing my brain and reminding me of why I am insane to be living in a climate like this. Where is this “Spring” you speak so highly of?

But April come she will.. And like ol’ Paul Simon says in his lovely ballad, “when streams are ripe and swelled with rain”. It’s somewhat of a message about hope and rejuvenation. Never mind the fact spring has officially welcomed us over 10 days ago; we are still prisoners of a guest that has long outstayed their welcome. Is this some April fools joke that mother Montreal has played on us? Maybe… but I remain hopeful and full of spring in my step (got rid of my boots today).

Why you don’t ask?? Because although the seasons are taking their merry time to make a move, I am taking matters into my own heads, grabbing the bull by the horns (I am a Taurus after all, though I was recently told by my keyboardist that everyone goes back one astrological sign cause there’s a new sign in town???) As I was saying, I have my sails set high and many, yes many plans for what’s to come this spring and summer and I dare say some of it may be of interest and reason for YOU dear reader, dear Canadian and / or international fan, friend or family member!

But before I speak of the future, best to speak of the past, up to this point. Although I have put the One Man Band Festival on hold this year, it was not to just sit around, eat corn chips and watch episodes of Peep Show (which I also did…intensely). It was to focus on music again. In the last 4 months, I have been busy releasing an EP, making a music video, writing new material, playing shows, jamming with other bands (Check out Couteau Papillon, an very cool band) and reawakening the Jon Cohen Experimental, Experience, Experiment, Zen Orchestra, call it what you want, my lovechild even, whatever it is, it is back, like a hungry bear that has been hibernating for the last winter and can’t wait to start eating human flesh (wait a minute) and berries.

Somewhere in the interim, my wife Lisa and I went back to our let secret little corner of the world of Mexico, an unbeknownst Lost type paradise world, where the gulf meets the Caribbean, where the nature abounds and the sunset never ceases to hypnotize me and make me cry inside. On Isla Holbox, what the water lacks in color it makes up in pure natural beauty. We spent almost 3 weeks conversing with Iguanas, imitating the pelicans, chasing the birds, being chased by raccoons, learning patience like the heron, and finally playing about 10 million games of backgammon (new board got broken in really fast) which we are totally addicted to now. Oh yeah I was also writing tons of music with this new travel guitar I picked up for 80$ on kijiji, check out the pics below! Playing music in front of a beach at 30+ degrees is a pleasure that I feel totally grateful and lucky for. Coming back to the sheet of whiteness that was Montreal, hitting me like a ton of bricks is one I am not.

Between working on music and chugging away at my translation business, I took the time to re-center, and get in touch with my subconscious, to really look at my last years and to take stock of the lessons learned and the people who have taught them to me. I did yet another meditation retreat (this one only 3 days in Montebello Quebec) but it reaffirmed my love for this art of looking within, for deep concentration and this feeling of tapping into something greater than ourselves, of letting go of ego, even if just for a little while. In just 3 days, I gained a renewed appreciation for giving, for sharing and for helping others, trying to be less selfish, and more useful to those around me. It sounds corny and fuck, well it is, but that’s what three days of silence and vegan food will do to you!

As you may or may not know, I now have a band of merry pranksters (Dan, Jamie, Phil and Myself). I am excited about this one because it also means we will be touring again! Heading out on tour in May for the Passion Pilgrim EP and new songs and a kick ass band if I may say so myself. We have been lucky enough to be invited to play CMW festival in Toronto this May, among other festivals to come over the summer I hope. The new EP has been charting countrywide and hitting some pretty nice top spots in some cities, which is quite cool and makes me feel like giving back by planning more tours. For those of you, who will be in any of these places, please come check us out, or spread the word!

Thursday May 7th, Ottawa, ON @The Rainbow Room, 10pm

Friday May 8th, Kingston @ Café Musikki, 10pm

Saturday May 9, Hamilton @ This Ain’t Hollywood matinée show (tbd)

Saturday May 9 CMW Festival @ The Magpie Taproom), 9pm

Sunday May 10, Montreal  @ L’esco

We are going to do our bestest to show you a grand ol’ opry of a time, and to make these shows a celebration, a celebration of rejuvenation, of what may come over this spring and summer. A season full of hope, full of bloom. I can say with confidence for all of us that we earned it, every single one of us who suffered this brutal sub zero winter will be vindicated with one of the best most kickass summers we have ever had!!!

Is this a prediction? Is this April fools? No, it’s simply a fact! See you all in Bermuda shorts at the shows! Don’t miss our tour, come see us and say hello.

Some other fun stuff:

Passion Pilgrim now be purchased on iTunes and Spotify

Check out our song (In Order To Survive) on CBC Searchlight contest and Vote for us for best new song please!

Happy Spring!

Cohen & Co.

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Video Killed The Radio Star…

9 Jan

The Buggles…

Happy new year y’all! I hope it is igniting some serious life drive and new perspectives.

Although it did for me up to now, I woke up early this morning with an enormous feeling of dread. It was 6 am and -15 degrees outside, 15 cm of now on the ground, cat huddled up near the heater and I couldn’t help to get the feeling of enormous pressure, a feeling that 2015 could prove another one of those major decision making years. So many plans, so many new dreams! There is no shortage of new dreams nowadays.

We made an immensely awesome video for the song “In Order to Survive”. Today we unleash it to the world! It was filmed by Robert Donachie and Edited by Arnaud Lamy. They both did an incredible job on a very low budget and I thank them for their time and devotion. They are both very capable and creative friends and this video shows that. Here it is! (note) YouTube comments are highly appreciated and encouraged!

In the course of the last 3 months I made the major decision to put the One Man Band Festival on hold for this year after much deliberation. I was missing playing music, I was missing touring, and I was missing playing in a band. I was burned out from last 3 years work (volontary of course) on the festival and thought I need to let the grass re-grow on this one and focus on other things even if just for 1 year to feel the love for it again, it<s hard work putting it al together and really frustrating at times too. Part of me feels like I am letting a community down and people in Montreal as well, but the other side says that now I can devote this time to what I do best, make music. And so I have released a new EP this year, Passion Pilgrim, is a compilation of 5 songs recorded on my last tours. The EP contains hypnotic beat-driven tunes with catchy hooks. It was recorded innovatively using 4-second loops and up to eighteen instruments at once. And mixed by Dave Draves (Little Bullhorn, Ottawa, On), mastered by Roger Siebel at SAE Mastering (Phoenix AZ).

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We recorded it in 1 day and it contains elements of plate smashing, dancing feet on my head and lots of other psychedelic and psychological elements to get into your subconscious and eventually force you to join a cult (you’ll see what I mean) I especially like the instrument drawing part and singing in my onesies.

So what’s in store for the JCEX in 2015, what’s in store for OMBF 2016? Only time will tell but I believe taking a break will be good for OMBF, we are talking about forming a whole new team and really biting back in 2016, we are talking about some great new OMBs coming to Montreal. So much but until then we need a break!

As for me I’m playing with a band now, some cool people who happen to be great musicians, we had our CD launch on Dec 3rd @ casadelpopolo with the lovely Xania (on tour in Europe now) and it was pretty killer (check the pics out below).

So it being 3am as I write this, I’m lying here thinking about what’s next… For now the plan is to play some shows here and there, Im playing bass with Couteau Papillon which is fun, and they have a  show coming up. The JCEX wil also be playing some summer festivals (check the tour dates) and possibly a tour sometime in late summer if it can be possible, trying to give les expectations to my life and more in the moment stuff (easier said than done)..I have to somehow negotiate all that with the purchase of a new home in the spring which I am really excited and nervous about! Feeling like such a grown up these days (whhaa happened??!)

All these plans and pressures seem really daunting when you think about them all at once, but then again I guess that’s why the passage of time was invented. I hope you all enjoy the Video and New record if you haven’t heard it yet, you can stream or download it HERE. As for all you radical One Man and One Woman Bands who wanna play the fest, get in touch in the early fall for OMBF 2016. We haven’t forgotten you yet!

Happy new year to all you hepcats, keep those chins up and see you on stage!

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Walking On, Walking On The Moon…

7 Nov

The Police…

There’s a quote by the famous Carl Sagan, which goes “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”. During his heyday in the 1960s, when the US was at (cold) war with Russia, there was a drive for both countries to reach the moon, to explore and establish a technological ‘upper hand’ if you will and to demonstrate to the world a kind of technological supremacy over the enemy, by reaching the yet unexplored outer space. But even though one might say that on a political level, this space race was fueled by a need for some good old-fashioned chest pounding to scare off the opponent, the actual drive to overcome the incredibly difficult obstacles that humans are faced in reaching into the great beyond was not sparked by a desire for war. It was the direct result of the unique ability for humans to dream, to think of tomorrow, to project our existence into a yet undiscovered and uncreated future. Indeed it was our ability to dream that brought us to space. This was the sixties, an era that for some unknown reason exploded on humanity like a supernova of creativity, of fearlessness, of mastery and imagination. We were unafraid of the consequences of our actions, we were thinking of the future.

I often wonder why music was so powerful back then. Was it because it was not separate from all other aspects of life? Was it because people not only identified with their heroes but rather embodied the ideals that these heroes sang and wrote about? Was it because the desire to create art, to spend every waking moment of ones life in crafting it, perfecting it, living it, was not one based on supply and demand, on the promise of wealth, on the cult of personality, on the creation of product, or on the desire for fame?

As I make music, I can’t help but be affected by this decor of disposability, by this pressure to do more, to be more, to write a “hit” song, to be a respected songwriter. Although I only lightly entertain these thoughts and like many other musicians, am guilty of secretly hoping to stroke my ego by writing an album everyone will love. What I really want to do is make music that will encapsulate my experience and that will convey feelings that people can use to their own experience. Music that can re-ignitie people to dream, to find that “something” that has been drained in every aspect of our self obsessed consumer driven society.

That something…is nothing.

dec. 3rd poster lake

Where is the nothing, where is the unknown, where is the uncreated, the space where silence is the sound of order, that is where real creativity lives. That was my approach in creating this new record called passion pilgrim (my 3rd album to date) that I present to you. It was written as a reflexion of my many travels over the past few years and was recorded in a very unique way, using only a series of 4 second looops, all played live by me, and linked together through an ingenious system of loopers, samplers and sequencers. On December 3rd, I , along with new bandmates James Andrew Rosen (ex-Shoot The Moon), Philippe Lachance (Couteau Papillon), and Daniel Kiely (Wind Up Radio Sessions) will be performing excerpts from the record along with a few new songs. In writing the ep, all I had to do was close my eyes, shut my ears and take it in, why…because somewhere, something inside me something was waiting to be known.

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 On December 3rd, come to the Passion Pilgrim EP launch at Casa Del Popolo in Montreal (with    immensely talented guests Xania (opening set) and Linda Luttinger doing on canvas live painting to music).

 There is no fee at the door, you pay what you can and my EP will be on sale. We will be on at 10pm .

In other news ,we have been working hard on a video for the song “In Order To Survive” which I think you”gonna love, cause the song is good and the vid is engaging. It was so much fun to shoot. Shot in 2 days all Outremont and the Plateau, the vid includes scenes with plates smashing right beside my head, people dancing on my face and skateboarding through traffic. I can<t wait to shoot another vid. I can”t wait for you to see it too! Check out some pictures of my new york trip, of the video shoot and of the new EP here… CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE CD ON ITUNES

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