God Only Knows…

19 May

The Beach Boys…

‘Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.’ Or so the saying goes, you reap what you sow. That could not be any truer than that other saying that goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I hope my absence has made your heart grow fond? No?..ok…😉 Yes! If your heart is fond, please lead it to the JCEX LP launch Saturday May 28th @ Casa Del Popolo (4873 Boul St-Laurent) 8pm doors, 10$ W guests the awesome Po Lazarus & one record I’ve been listening to lots these days by Toddler. Nick Huston’s project. Event info HERE.

JCEX May 28 Poster

I haven’t posted anything for months. It’s been a real roller coaster of a year for me. Lost my dad about 6 months ago, that was really tough. I put everything on hold, UK tour, One Man Band festival 2016, house/travel projects, you name it…life was dark for a while, sad, heavy, so real. I felt like an unmoored boat sailing aimlessly, being carried off by strong winds to and fro. My dad was my rock, my friend, and my guide but most importantly, he was always there for me. He was the quintessential wise man, always had good things to say, taught me how to never waste my energy on grudges and never waste my speech, to love your family, and to always keep a focus on your goals and passions. He is sorely missed. I’m still dealing with his loss and am not out of the woods just yet, but at least I have a good family and Lisa, my  beautiful strong woman/wife/best friend/co-pilot.. by my side to help each other through dark times. And you learn, you keep learning to let go. I’m convinced more than ever now, that we are here to learn to let go…as the original JC once said, “Be IN the world, not OF the world” seeing loved ones pass is a hard lesson and a sort of reminder of why we’re here.

But there’s more…there’s music.

The only thing keeping me grounded amidst the noise, is making music these days. Over the winter, in a state of contemplation, I reopened an old pandora’s box of songs from the past. About 11 songs I had written a while ago that I had no lyrics for. I shelved them thinking I would come eventually add lyrics to them. But lately it hit me that I could just release an album of instrumentals.

Why not right?

IMG_3715And so the new record is born. Have a listen to the first track on the record HERE. The record is a beautiful mixed bag of speechless songs. It was recorded in many basements and small studios around Montreal and area at different times. It was remixed by Dave Draves and mastered using Landr audio (trying it out). It is called “Uniformitarianism” based on the 18th century geological doctrine that current geologic processes, occurring at the same rates observed today, in the same manner, account for all of Earth’s geological features. So basically, our history, growth, evolution is a slow and steady process. That idea really comforts me, as it feels like we are being slowly ushered, guided. I don’t think I could even handle it any other way to be honest. 2016 having been so far a difficult and erratic year (the Chinese year of the monkey after all) feels like there is no foundation and everything is in constant flux like I’m dancing on quicksand, seeing all my heroes die.  

 

But music continues to be a beacon, a rock,  a moor on which I can give my creative life some direction. I have strengthened my resolve to keep making music, and as much of it as I can, with no visions of grandeur, no beliefs that this will fulfill my ego, no delusions of riches, just to serve, to make people happy, to make nature happy. I just want to make for the sake of making. Much like the monks of Tibet who slave for months working on gorgeous Mandalas only to destroy these masterpieces once finished, music should be the same way, make it, give it, and forget it. I had this idea of making a record then having it destroyed after one listen. Kind of like the old mission impossible shows “this album will self destruct in 5…4…3…”

Saturday May 28th at Casa Del Popolo, I’m looking forward to this show and I KNOW for a fact if you come, you are going to love it too. Good vibes all around. All the guys from the bands and promoter Josh Carson from (Kickdrum) are super cool friendly people. We’ll be playing songs from Passion Pilgrim (2015) and new material as well. We may even be joined by guest musician Matt Wiviott (Guzheng player).

Big changes with the band as well. Our fantastic drummer Daniel Kiely is packing up and moving to Hamilton (why do the good ones always leave?) He is not only a great drummer but also a great friend. On June 3rd, 4th and 5th, we will be going into Little Bullhorn studios in Ottawa to track our new record. Dave Draves is responsible for gems like Kathleen Edwards (Failer and Back to Me), Wooden Stars, Julie Doiron, Jim Bryson and many other (he told me recently he had Sly and Robbie in his studio!). Finally, in July,  I’ll be tour managing a really great band from the UK called Moulettes, who make beautiful, complex, beguiling music. They are quite big in Europe and have shared the stage with just about everyone from Jean Paul Jones to Gentle Giant to Bonobo. They are going to be touring their latest album “Preternatural”, and playing all the big festivals in Canada including the Montreal Jazz fest July 5th so if you are in town or anywhere in Canada, check out their website for tour dates. I’m pretty excited to be hitting the road with these lovely chaplings.

That’s about all for now. As with any year of obstacles, it only strengthens my resolve to push harder. Watching all these great figures of my life, starting with my dad then my musical heroes, come and go one after another (apparently we lost 23 celebrities in 2016 so far, insane) it just makes it feel so much more like we are just in the matrix, and that in some inexplicable way, we are all being tested, our hearts, minds, thoughts, things we think are “ours” really, we are only relaying the baton. I think part of some great big game that not only humans are playing, but insects, rocks, and trees too, and God Only Knows the rules and point of this game. All we have to do is learn to play together. Life is play, life is joy, death is a reminder of the importance of joy, of life!

Of love…

Speak soon..

Jon Cohen

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Let’s Get Unconscious Honey…

22 Oct

Björk…

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!

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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.

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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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