Published Jan 01, 2006For many American bands, Canada is a curious land whose prime exports are comedians and strong beer. But for Jets to Brazil front-man Blake Schwarzenbach, it's so much more. "I'm definitely going to be an old man in Canada," he says without a hint of irony, on the line from NYC. Schwarzenbach's love affair with Canada began about 20 years ago when his Buddhist mother and her husband left the U.S. and started an organic farm in New Germany, Nova Scotia. Schwarzenbach spent most summers there, away from his hometown of Berkeley, California. He even had landed immigrant status and had planned on becoming a citizen until a tour with his former band, Jawbreaker, messed up that plan.
Now that the New Yorker is in the same time zone, he visits twice a year and last summer the farm became more than a temporary rest stop. He spent six weeks there writing songs for what would become the third Jets disc, the stunning, multi-dimensional Perfecting Loneliness. It's a record that melds the raw, emotional post-punk rock of his broken jawed past and the decidedly more melancholy and sombre piano-heavy material of the band's previous release, Four-Cornered Night.
Schwarzenbach says it's a record that's as much a product of locale as it was of state of mind. He's quick to point out that his bandmates (bassist Jeremy Chatelain, drummer Chris Daly and guitarist Brian Maryansky) were a key part of the equation, as was producer J. Robbins.
"I wrote some of the last record there too, but more so this one," he notes. "Some of the acoustic songs were written entirely there and strangely some of the more electric songs on the record began acoustically there and when I got back to New York they became these electric band songs. They could have been folk songs but it was much better to have everyone go nuts or to make them very layered."