Published Nov 27, 2009As a producer, songwriter and multi-tasking musician, Vancouver's Jay Arner has kept restless with innumerable projects, from the indie pop of International Falls and the Poison Dart to the icy synth anthems of his current band, Fine Mist. He's also managed to sneak in a few solo releases as well, from tongue-in-cheek remixes to fully formed songs. Now, Arner is set to drop a brand new solo EP called Bird of Prey.
In an interview with Exclaim!, Arner discussed the four-track offering, explaining how he how found time to write more solo songs amongst his increasingly busy schedule. "They're just songs I've written since the last EP [2008's Jay Division]. I'm making music non-stop, but most of it went to Fine Mist this year," he says. "Bird of Prey is the loose songs. They're about the desire to start over and live simply, dread, summer and fall 2009, and feeling shallow because you wish you knew your friends better. In that order."
While the songs were written, played and recorded by Arner, he did manage to sneak in a few guests. Because he couldn't record drums at home, he sampled individual drum sounds from Japandroids' drummer David Prowse and formed them into beats featured throughout the EP.
"It sounds great, but at the same time, it's like a conceptual sampling joke: getting a 'cool drummer' on your song but stripping all his style from it," Arner says.
He also managed to lock down an appearance from Sloan's Jay Ferguson, who lends his vocal cords to the track "Uncoverers." For Arner, working with Ferguson was an important rite of passage.
"I started playing music right when Sloan was getting going, so Jay is very much a formative influence - not just musically but in a DIY way too," he explains. "People have always compared my songs to Jay's; when I was younger I would get defensive about it, being like, 'No way man, I listen to Can 100 percent of the time.' That's a lame way to be. I'm a bit less insecure now, so no duh Can is awesome, but so is Jay's band. It's weird and great to hear us singing together and we sound beautiful."
In terms of a release for the EP, Arner plans to go the self-release route and put out the album via his website. "This is going to be free and digital and I'm going to release it, like, right now, as soon as it's mastered," he explains. "A lot of my favourite things were done similarly this year so I feel like I'm in good company - R. Kelly, Lil Wayne, Drake, me?"
You can hear a stream of "Uncoverers" below.
Bird of Prey:
1. "Bird of Prey"
2. "Uncoverers" (ft. Jay Ferguson)
3. "I've Got Something to Say"