Teen Daze is Jamison, a relentlessly positive producer who hails from a small mountainside town outside of Vancouver. When he’s not making what he describes as ‘postmodern collage wave’ or remixing others’ tracks as Teen Daze, he also has an ambient/folk/postrock side project called Two Bicycles. He found time in his busy recording schedule to discuss discomfort and his upcoming album.
Chat interview by Carly Blair, photos shot by David Zilber in Abbotsford, Canada.
So your debut full-length All of Us, Together is coming out this May. Can listeners anticipate any big changes from your previous releases?
Yes and no. It feels different to me, just in that it feels like a culmination of all of my previous releases… I feel like this record is exactly what I wanted the project to sound like. There’s a familiarity in it, if you know what that Teen Daze sound feels like, but it still sounds fresh. I’ve always wanted to create something that shares both sides of my two favourite types of music: music with high energy (dance music, specifically), and peaceful, relaxing music (ambient or post-rock, specifically).
It’s true that there’s a dichotomy to your releases.
Yeah, exactly! I think this record works that balance well. There are moments where it’s very mellow and quiet, and those moments transition into parts that are much more dancey and upbeat.
How do you feel about being such a prolific musician? Do you think that gaining a higher profile will affect the rate at which you release music?
It’s actually quite the opposite: having a larger audience makes me want to release more and more! It’s something that comes very naturally to me, and where I might consider a lot of that output to be good enough to release, a lot of people are still interested in hearing it. So I guess I like releasing so much because I like giving those people that want to hear my music something to listen to.
How generous of you. 😉
Hahaha. I’m the same way when it comes to prolific artists that I like. Apparently, when making Andorra, Dan Snaith from Caribou wrote something like 90 tracks for the record. That’s so inspiring to me!
Chad VanGaalen is also extremely prolific. Must be something in the water up there!
Hahaha! I definitely am able to tell when I need to stop working on something specific, but when it comes to the act of writing/recording/programming in general, I’m always working on something. Especially now that I’m in a situation where I don’t need to be working on something, I’m still opening sessions up every day and starting new ideas. In fact, I probably have 11 or so songs that I’ve made since the record’s been done!
Wow! You sleep though, right?
Hahaha. Maybe too much!
Maybe that’s the secret. I’m writing down tips.
Lots of fruit juice and lots of sleep.
Duly noted! This month’s theme for our magazine is ‘The Uncomfortable Issue’. So I thought I’d ask a few discomfort-related questions. To start things off: What’s the interview question you dread the most?
‘Where did the name Teen Daze come from?’ Only because I’ve answered it so often.
OK, fair enough. I DON’T WANT TO KNOW.
Many great thinkers have been disdainful of comfort. For example, Lao Tzu (the father of Taoism) said, ‘A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.’ Your music tends to be very relaxing and to convey a message of positivity. What’s your take on the role of discomfort in the creative process?
It’s a powerful creative tool actually. For me, the act of being somewhere foreign tends to bring out creative ideas, just because when I get comfortable in a workspace, then it becomes a place to watch movies, or sit on Reddit. When I’m in a place that’s new, and I have given myself the task of writing, then I know I won’t be distracted by those comforts.
Do you think you’ll ever make music that’s more abrasive?
Right now, the music is a pretty strong expression of who I am as a person. The only way I can see myself creating something that’s more abrasive will be if something changes within me as a person.
Do you ever do things to take yourself out of your comfort zone?
Honestly, I’m a pretty simple guy when it comes to that stuff. I tend to keep things pretty comfortable. I understand that life isn’t all mellow and positive, and that sometimes it’s important to go through that discomfort, in order to change. I don’t want to become complacent, but at the same time, I’m just like everyone else, and being in a distressing situation isn’t ideal.
I guess life throws us into plenty of uncomfortable situations without our choosing anyway!
Teen Daze plays on 13 April in De Nieuwe Anita in Amsterdam. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.