Jason Collett (Broken Social Scene)

Most indie fans will know him as a member of The Broken Social Scene. But Jason Collett has long maintained a solo career, having released four solo albums. Collett had a chat with The Dwarf on returning to Toronto after touring his fourth full-length album, Rat A Tat Tat. I asked him if he was tired after the tour, he said he was okay. I asked if it was snowing outside, he said yes. But he didn't wanna talk about the weather (thank god). He just wants to talk about music.


It must seem weird for Collett being part of such a huge collective, then touring as a singer songwriter. Especially since it's a genre he kind of hates. He actually finds it "rather anaemic as a genre" and "despises most of it". But he admits that he is what he is.


But there's something different going on with Collett that makes him stand out amongst the herd of malnourished singer songwriters out there. That's because Collett doesn't hide away in a little lonely singer song writing cave. He wants to be constantly challenged, and admits to the absolute essential nature of being part of a community of artists who "swim in the same school". He does this by surrounding himself with equally talented musicians. In this case Zeus, who will be touring with Collett as a band in their own right with their debut album Say Us.


Zeus formed Jason Collett's back-up band Dark Horse before recording under the name Zeus. Best friends Carlin Nicholson, Mike O'Brien and what Collett describes as a "huge tribe" of talented musicians from Barrie, Ontario, moved to Toronto with the sole purpose of making music. They had the balls to approach Collett and told him they should be his backing band. To really convince him they learnt and performed for him his entire back catalogue. Collett was charmed by their energy and talent, and from there they formed a tight little community. "We've got a bunch of writers, and everybody is a good snob about their taste," says Collett, and "They will tell you when you are full of shit".


Collett was approached by an agent at this year's SXSW, with a proposition of coming to Australia to play both festival shows (The Peats Ridge Festival) and bars. He's excited about performing at both, but it's clear he has a favourite. While he loves the social aspect of festivals and the opportunity it offers to make a lasting impression over a few days, he also admits of loving the black box of playing in a bar, where the energy is contained and intense, a place he feels is just that bit more loose and rock and roll.


And what can we expect from the show? Well that's something he says he finds hard to explain. "It's hard to grasp, but in an age of technology when every man and his dog is making music, these guys know how to play, and they can play really really well. They're some of the best".

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