WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Welcome to Witchpolice Radio. I'm here with a guest who was last on the show, I think it was two years ago. It was at the beginning of the pandemic. And obviously, a lot of things have changed since then. You were in a very unique situation, I think, at the time we talked last on the podcast. But before we get into any of that, if you want to just introduce yourself and give a bit of background about what it is that you do as a musician, we can take it from there.
JOCELYN GOULD: My name is Jocelyn Gould. I'm a guitar player and vocalist, jazz guitar player and also a teacher. And I guess that's about it.
WR: Right. And like I was saying at the beginning there last time you were sort of stuck in Winnipeg, and it was because of the pandemic, and it just sort of started happening -- all the lockdowns. And you're from here, but you're not usually living here all the time. You have gigs and jobs and everything else in different parts of the world. So right now, things have opened up a bit. Things are looking a little different. You have a new record coming out, you're able to tour. I don't necessarily want you to go over everything that's happened between then and now… but what is it like now that things have relaxed and shows are able to happen and you're able to travel and all that stuff? That's got to be a relief for you to be able to just get back to some semblance of the normal grind.
JG: Oh, yeah. It's really wonderful. And it's actually been really exciting. Over the past maybe six months. Things that were canceled have been getting rescheduled, and then, of course, more things have been getting scheduled. So it's almost like we're all busier than ever. It feels just trying to make up for the last two years. So, yeah, things are really happening right now.
WR: Well, that's good. You managed to make a lot happen even though you were in lockdown. Everyone was in lockdown. Because not only did you have a record that got released, you won a Juno… you got just tons of recognition for the work that you've done. And I feel like people were sort of struggling with how to make creativity happen and still be a musician during the pandemic. And it seems like you're someone who… at least you were able to get something happening and get some momentum going for your career and keep your music and your name in people's ears and on people's attention.
JG: Yeah. Oh, that's great. I'm glad it seems that way. Yeah. Of course. It was such a bizarre time. I think it was a nice time to sort of learn new technologies and learn about new ways of connecting with people. And of course, just with every passing year, we’re doing more and more online, of course, all the time. So it was sort of for me almost kind of cool to have the opportunity to figure out how to record myself, how to do live streams, how to kind of connect with people.
WR: Yeah, for sure. And I don't want to spend the whole time talking about the pandemic because I'm sure you're sick of talking about it. I know I am. But I guess just one more thing on that topic: Do you think that some of those techniques you learned and technology you've embraced kind of over that two year period, are you going to be taking advantage of some of that going forward? Like, do you think that now that you know about live streams and you have more experience recording yourself and all these things… that's got to help in the future, right?
JG: Yeah, absolutely. Particularly music. And I think the music community changed in ways that there's no going back. Those changes have been made, and now it's just common for people to have their own little recording studio or now it's common to be able to hop on… two years ago, I didn't know what Zoom was, let alone was I doing podcasts.
WR: Yeah, same with me.
JG: Yeah. I've never heard of it before, and suddenly I'm doing it twice a week. So I totally get it. It's weird that you sort of out of necessity find new ways to keep doing what you're doing.
WR: Yeah. And not all of it is bad. Some of it makes a lot of sense.
JG: Yeah. If you can take anything good, I guess, out of what we've all been through, is that you do learn new ways to connect and ways to communicate and things like that.
WR: Definitely. Agreed. Yeah. Not only did your last record win a Juno, but you got a lot of attention. Like I was saying, every review I heard of it was positive, which is kind of cool. And I mean, it's a great record. It really is an excellent album, but you have a new one coming out, and that's got to be a lot of pressure. Now that you have this debut album that got so much acclaim… and winning a Juno is a big deal for anyone, but winning it on your first record as a bandleader, I mean, that's got to be even more pressure to now top it.
JG: With the follow up, definitely. Yeah. It has crossed my mind that if I were to ever feel like there's expectations placed upon me, it would be now. I think for me, just sort of trying to keep in mind just back to the fundamentals all the time. Why am I making music? What is it that I want my music to say? Who do I want to connect with and just sort of like as long as I'm taking care of the things that I believe in? The rest, I think it's just cool when it happens, but it won't always happen and so enjoy it when it does, but just make music all the time.
WR: Yeah, I like that. Do you think you have a better understanding of why you make it and who it's for and all of that since releasing that first record?
JG: Yeah, I think that's actually interesting. This is something that I've been thinking about quite a bit. I think the first record, it was easy to just be like, oh, this is my first album. Just whatever music I have you're building on, nothing at that time. So it was easy for me to pick the music, easy for me to kind of put it together. The second album I found as I was planning it, we recorded in November. So in the month leading up to November, I found myself asking like, okay, what's this one about? Or how is this different? How is this record different? How is this record the same? What am I trying to say? Suddenly with the second album, I found a lot of questions like, yeah, musical questions, maybe more like philosophical questions kind of coming up within the preparation. Definitely.
WR: Once you had the album recorded and then now it's ready to be released, do you think that you've been able to answer those questions for yourself or are you still trying to figure out sort of, I guess, what your plan is going forward as an artist?
JG: Yeah, I think with this album I think I was able to move maybe a little bit more. And this is like probably very mild compared to… I know you interview all sorts of musicians, so this is very mild compared to some musicians, but I do feel like I got a little bit more… gave myself a little bit more permission to be a little more open. For example, I did some overdubbing of vocals, um so sometimes you hear like multiple of my voice. And I think in my first album, I probably wouldn't have felt comfortable doing that because the guitar players that I have studied, none of their albums sound like that. So I think it’s the slow process of kind of giving yourself permission, just because the people you studied or admired didn't do something doesn't mean you shouldn't.
WR: Well, and I've heard the record, I got a copy in the mail, which was awesome. And I have to say I like it better than the first one, and I really like the first one, so it's really good. And I think what you just said, definitely it kind of explains what I was trying to I was thinking of how to explain this to you, what I thought about the record, but you feel more comfortable. I think that with some of the vocals on top of the guitar, like you were just saying, the whole thing seems looser and more fun, if that makes sense. Not that the other one didn't sound fun, but it almost has a more of a live feel to it, even though it isn't. But you know what I mean? It seems like you're more kind of in a room with people that you communicate well with, and it's more sort of this casual hangout rather than the first one being somewhat more of a more formal setting. Does that make sense? Is that accurate?
JG: Definitely. Oh, that makes me so happy to hear that. You're the first person, actually, that I'm talking to about the album. That's really cool. That is really encouraging.
WR: Is that kind of vibe something that you are going for or something that just naturally happened?
JG: I think it may have naturally happened. That's a great question. I think I was writing with a little bit, maybe more feeling a little bit more relaxed about my writing, maybe feeling like, okay, am I making musical choices based off what I felt was like most musical rather than what I felt like was most impressive. Trying to make the most musical decisions rather than the most impressive decisions, I think is something that has been a part of my kind of maturing over the last couple of years. So that's very cool. It feels more live. I love that. That's awesome.
WR: Good. I'm glad you're not hearing that and be like, oh, no, that's not what I was going for. That's good to hear.
JG: I think that's great. And I also love that now that you're mentioning it, I have found myself kind of liking tracks and liking tracks of my own that are kind of focusing more on energy rather than something super polished. So if the energy is there in a take, we're going to go with that take rather than, oh, but I like play this cool harmonic thing. Yeah. Thinking more about energy.
WR: Do you think that idea of wanting to be impressive, I guess, is that a jazz thing? Is that just because you're playing a genre where a lot of listeners and a lot of people who are into it are really deeply educated and formally interested in the technicalities of music?
JG: I think so. And I think it might also be um a symptom of studying music formally. I think having gone to school for something makes you want to choose the impressive avenue, which the more I think about it, the more I don't even understand what that means. Like anything can be impressive, anything can be virtuosic. But I think there is particularly in jazz because it is a virtuosic music. I think that it can be easy to get caught up in trying to be technically virtuoso, which is kind of just like a small part of what encompasses virtuosity, I think.
WR: Okay. Yeah, it's a weird thing. I don't think you'd expect from, say, a pop album that wouldn't be a consideration. I don't think I think that the energy would be way more of sort of the category that everyone's putting all their everything into. Right. But whereas jazz, it seems like there is that kind of aspect of the skill level is a lot more important than necessarily some of the other elements of it.
JG: Definitely. Yeah. I think that that's very true. And I think that we need to, like, as jazz musicians, really ask ourselves why um technical virtuosity and skills should be a tool. It's not the end of the road. That's not what the end game is. It's like how you practice your dribble so that you can play basketball. It's not like you're not dribbling to learn how to dribble. It's like part of a bigger thing. And I think that we need to keep in mind that that's what technical skill is for with music.
WR: Yeah, that's a good point, actually, I like the basketball analogy. So you're going to be touring with this right now. You're able to actually get on the road and sort of present this to people. Where are you going? What's the tour look like?
JG: Yeah, it's super exciting. This was actually booked this tour for two years ago, so it has worked out really well that we get to do it this year, starting next week, I guess two weeks on June 19. We're starting in Winnipeg and doing all the Canadian jazz festivals. So going west first, a little bit of back and forth, but mostly west first and then east. So we're hitting about, I think, like 13 or so jazz festivals.
JG: From Halifax to Victoria.
WR: Well, that's got to be exciting, too, because you didn't really get a chance to do this with the previous album just because of the situation everyone was in.
JG: Yeah. It's interesting. I was putting the music together tonight to send to my band and the charts and was thinking like, wow, I never had to do this with Elegant Traveler. We never played the songs. We recorded them. Some of those songs I never played again after the album, which is just and now I moved on to the next album. But it's exciting to get to the idea of how the music will grow because it's been played once. Some of those songs I wrote for the album. So they've been performed exactly one time, and then now they'll have the opportunity to grow and kind of become their own thing, which I'm really excited about.
WR: That's cool. Yeah. At this point, are you fully in this album mode now? Is the stuff from Elegant Traveler? Is any of that making it into the set going forward, or have you moved on now to the new Golden Hour stuff?
JG: I thought about it. I might add a couple just because nobody's heard the music. So I may add a couple depending on, like, if I get to a point when I'm creating the set list, if I get to a point like, oh, this song will fit really, really well, then I won't hesitate to throw it in.
WR: Sure. And then when does the record actually formally come out?
JG: June 17.
WR: June 17. So it's right before your tour starts.
JG: Yes. Two days before the tour starts.
WR: And then what's the Winnipeg show? Is that part of that's part of Jazz Fest?
JG: Yeah. So that's Jazz Winnipeg. It's actually Interestingly enough at the Royal Albert. Okay. Yeah.
WR: I thought that you were playing. That's awesome. It's such a bizarre combination of having jazz at the Albert. It's great, though. I love the idea of it.
JG: Me, too. And I used to go there as a teenager all the time, just like punk bands. And I loved it. And it was a dive. Then I heard it got cleaned up.
WR: It did. It still has kind of the Albert vibe, but it's a little nicer. But the ghosts of everything that's happened there over the past few decades is still there.
JG: Well, that's good. I'm glad it doesn't get lost. I was talking about the West End Cultural Centre with somebody recently. Like, sometimes I sort of miss the old West End.
WR: Yeah. Well, the new one is cool, too, but yeah, it's the same thing, right. Just like you have these memories of going to shows as a kid, and then things have changed and improved. Obviously there, too. It's just like the Albert.
WR: But yeah, I like the idea of moving jazz to a place like the Albert, which has this sorted reputation as, like a punk rock hole in the wall and taking they don't really fit, but it's a cool idea to try and make them fit and see sort of how that will play on that stage.
JG: Totally. I love that. And I think it's really sometimes jazz gets viewed as an art music, and it is hard music to learn how to play, but it grew up in clubs. Totally. And so I think it's very cool to bring it, like in Winnipeg, where the majority where a lot of it is associated with the University and the scene is kind of in conjunction with the University. I think just getting jazz back in clubs is, like, really cool.
WR: Well, it could be the first time for someone to come and see a jazz show, too. I mean, someone who usually goes to the Albert and hears there's something different happening there. Maybe they'll check it out and just open up to something they would never have thought to listen to before.
JG: Totally. Yeah. I think that's the best. I think it's really incredible music, and sometimes it makes me a little bit...yeah. I just think that I mean, I'm also a jazz musician, so I think we should just play jazz in all types of venues.
WR: Right. But I agree with you in the sense that I think that it would definitely open up more people's ears to the idea that jazz isn't necessarily what they think it is. Because for me, I didn't get into jazz until I was an adult because I had this preconceived notion of what it was, and I was into punk rock and stuff, and it wasn't for me. But I mean, it's for anybody. It's just you have to hear it at the right time, maybe in the right place. And this kind of thing, I think, would definitely help to change that perception uh that whether it's an older music or it's a University connection or things like that.
JG: Yeah, absolutely. I think so, too. I think jazz can be really accessible and really approachable if people just are open to hearing new music. And I think, yeah, that's a really cool shot. I wonder if there will be anyone just hanging out there that night.
WR: I don't know, when I was 18 or whatever, even 17, getting in, sneaking in the back door. I would go to the Albert just because there was a show at the Albert. Right. It didn't matter who was playing, you know, there'd be a good show at the Albert. I don't know if that's the case now because I'm old and haven't been to shows forever, but yeah, it would be interesting if that happens.
JG: It will be. Yeah, absolutely. That's very cool. And you're not the first person who's been like, oh, that's interesting. Everyone I told, oh, I'm playing at the Albert, they've all been like, really the Albert?
WR: And it almost seems like a lot of the people who are kind of on the bill for the Albert shows, I was looking at the lineup, and it's all stuff that really isn't heavy. There can definitely be some jazz that's heavy and has kind of that edge. But what you're playing is very upbeat and uh it's not dark, and I can almost see some kind of, like really heavy, weird avant-garde show happening at the Albert, and that would almost fit better. But the stuff that's happening there, it's jazz jazz. It's like very, very straightforward and hard to mistake as anything else.
JG: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. It'll be cool. It'll be really cool to see. And I think the reason that actually happened, we have been talking about either the Albert or the King’s Head, and the Albert just has a bigger capacity.
WR: Okay. That makes sense. Yeah. Cool.
JG: Yeah. But it'll be very cool. My 13 year old self that always wanted um to play there Will feel very happy. I'll feel very content.
WR: This will be your first time playing there, I guess, right?
JG: Yeah. Oh, yeah. I haven't even been in there since I was like 15 or something.
WR: The good thing about this being a podcast is someone could hear it when it comes out. They could hear it a year from now and by then you'll be making new music and touring everywhere and all kinds of exciting things I'm sure will be happening. But if someone hears it right when it comes out and they're new to your music, what's the best way to check out what you're doing? Aside from obviously going to the live shows, where would you send them sort of on the internet to find out about you and find out what you're playing and see videos, hear music?
JG: Yes. Well, to purchase the album, my website, jocelyngould.com it's also on all the streaming platforms and can be purchased on iTunes and all that… Facebook or Instagram, I'm really active on @jocelyngouldmusic on both of them and yeah, I post almost every day.
JG: Super active there.
WR: Awesome. Okay. Great. Yeah. And people should obviously check out the Albert show. I think that there's probably more interest Just based on the type of bands I normally have on this podcast. It's probably more interesting than the Albert Than there is in jazz. Hopefully that could change depending on how the series goes. But I really like the album and I'm glad that I'm really happy to get I was really pumped to get it in the mail Because it's always nice. I get lots of CDs in the mail from bands just as like a perk of doing the show and it's especially cool to find kind of follow-ups from people I've had on the podcast before Because it's nice to hear the growth too and then to kind of prepare for wanting to talk to that person again and find out what's changing. I mean, I really like the record. I hope that other people do too Because it's really cool and it has a much looser vibe and as a listener, I really appreciate that.
JG: Oh, thanks, Sam. That's super cool. Oh, that's awesome.