Connections can make or break a career, and that’s even more true in the music industry. For Toronto quartet Jane’s Party, connections have helped drive the band to success over the past year. From collaborators, helping hands and even just inspiration, the band has many fine people close to them, and with the release of their latest album Tunnel Visions the band has made the most of these relationships.
The most important connection for the album was Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, who produced the album and kept the band grounded. “He told us not to worry about what people would think because it’s all been done before” said Devon Richardson. Keelor helped get songs like “Daydream” and “Cigarette Buzz” off the ground in a process Richardson admits wasn’t always easy, “We’d fight some of Greg’s ideas at first, but ultimately the results were amazing.”
The band started as a garage band, even going so far as to self-produce their first album. Despite this, they say working with Keelor has been their best move yet. “It was only beneficial to have Greg, we’re still a creative force, driving decisions, so it really just helped drive the album forward.”
Seeing if they would return to the garage in the future Richardson said “We’ve thrown around the idea of breaking down some newer songs or releasing some acoustic songs that didn’t fit the album.”
Another important friendship to the album was The Darcys who reworked an early demo of “Coming On Strong” into the single it is today. “I asked them if they minded taking a stab at our song,” said Richardson, “They called me saying ‘You need to come over and listen to this’ and they turned up the dance vibe on the track.” Initially the band had mixed feelings on the rework saying: “This isn’t the track we recorded but we dig it.” But, after bringing it to Keelor in the studio, the band found a compromise.
“Coming On Strong” also found the band pulling strings for a music video, with quite a few guests involved, even Shad. “All the musicians in the video are friends of ours,” says Richardson, “All these people we played shows with were in Toronto and it came together.” Their slow-motion karaoke video required some trick-work for all the extras involved, “Everyone had to memorize a sped up version of the song,” laughs Richardson. But one guest went the extra mile “Jim Cuddy was on the song already, so we knew it would be perfect to have him sing in the video,” explains Richardson. “Even though he was on crutches he trooped on, it’s why he’s sitting in the video.”
Close connections also inspired very personal songs on the album. “I was looking after my uncle in the hospital when he had cancer, it took a toll on me,” says Richardson. “I wrote ‘Tunnels’ around that, and as we recorded it I got the call that he had passed.”
Their friendship with a local film crew scored them online success when the video of their cover of The Weeknd’s “In The Night” hit the web. “We wanted to venture out from the band vibe and we like the Michael Jackson sound he has,” said Richardson. “We wanted to use it to introduce our synth to the band’s sound in a fitting way.”
With a set at NXNE coming up and even a show with Jefferson Starship (who coincidentally have a single titled “Jane”) , it looks like Jane’s Party will be making even more connections very soon.