Jay Arner
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Jay Arner

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
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"Noisey: WHO IS JAY ARNER AND WHY AM I LOOKING AT HIS GIANT FACE?"

The vanity shot is a tradition in music for artists with massive egos. When your head is so far up your own ass, it makes sense to put your perfectly touched up mug on the cover of your album. Why put some messy, confusing piece of art on there when you could show how beautiful and/or iconic you are? Bob Dylan, Phil Collins, Britney Spears, Dido, Miles Davis, Mos Def, Gavin Rossdale—they all love their own faces.

And then there’s Jay Arner. You probably don’t know that name, but he’s a pretty rad singer-songwriter out of Vancouver whose music falls somewhere between Ariel Pink and Mac DeMarco. This summer he released his debut album, conveniently and sensibly named Jay Arner. As you can see, it features a “giant fucking photo” of his face, but make no mistake, he didn’t do it for the same reasons, as repeat offender, Phil Collins. Not since Jonny Polonsky’s long-forgotten 1996 debut, Hi My Name Is Jonny, has there been a more puzzling close up album cover.

Noisey spoke with Jay Arner in Toronto before his gig at the Silver Dollar, to discuss why a self-proclaimed shy guy would do such a thing, whether he was naked for the photo shoot, and if his cover has become the next big sleeveface sensation.

Oh, and below is the premiere for his video for "Broken Glass."



Noisey: So what made you decide to put that "giant fucking photo" of your face on the album cover?
Jay Arner: That’s a quote, isn’t it? It completes the album conceptually because it’s called Jay Arner, I’m the only one that’s on it, and what else am I gonna put on the cover? It goes with me not having a band name. That’s the thing: it’s Jay Arner and I’m gonna put myself on the album cover. And it’s kind of forcing myself to do something that makes me uncomfortable. I think it would make most people uncomfortable. It’s pretty unflattering, or rather, not very glamorized, just a photo of my face. I’m not making an expression. So to do that and then replicate it 500, or however many times, made me uncomfortable, which I like. It’s good to do that otherwise you’d be eating your spaghetti and meatballs every day, and going to your day job. It’s good to try new things.

I find that a lot of big name stars have done that. Do you think someone like Phil Collins felt it was an exercise in making himself uncomfortable for the cover of No Jacket Required? Or the cover of Face Value? Or Testify? Or is it just ego?
I’m not a big name star. I don’t have the ego, I don’t think to puff myself up to be okay with it. I wasn’t okay with it and when I went to Mint and saw all the copies, I was aghast. But it’s not a big deal. It’s a fun, stupid thing. Obviously I take the music seriously… I just felt like I was playing a prank on someone and it turned out to be me.

Has anyone misunderstood the cover and accused you of being a narcissist?
I don’t think so. I’ve been pretty straightforward with my reasons, and how it’s been in line with the whole solo project. I am just putting myself out there and laying out my motives, like now, in a long-winded and circular fashion.



How anal were you about finding the right photo?
Medium anal, I think. We took probably a few hundred photos with a digital camera. It was probably about 20 minutes of me sitting there on a couple different days. Aside from that—not very anal. To be honest, I can’t grow a beard…

I can’t either.
I’m with you on that. I feel you. You can see I didn’t prepare for this, so I’m unshaven. The way my beard grows in—that’s technically beard hair on the cover—there are these hairs which made it look like I had a goatee. I photoshopped them out.

Really?
Yeah, I did. It looked like I had a stubble goatee, and this was the best photo I could muster. Is that medium anal?

[His girlfriend and bandmate Jessica Delisle interrupts]
Jessica Delisle: Now the original is gonna come out and they’re gonna do a comparison and it will be shocking!

You’ll be in the tabloids.
I want to be on one of those sites where it’s like Lindsay Lohan: before and after.

Did you ask anyone’s advice about this decision?
No, I don’t think.



How quickly do you think you'll get sick of seeing your face like the one in the "giant fucking photo”?
I am fairly desensitized now. It’s actually been a very good exercise in personal growth. I’m more comfortable looking at myself because of it. I might have face dysmorphic disorder or something, but I’m pretty camera shy. I’m a very self-critical person. I still go to a venue in a different city and say, “Whoahoa! There’s my face.” But I’m a little more okay with that. It’s jarring, sure.

So you don’t regret not choosing #232?
No. There’s nothing I can do about it now, so why worry about it. I can stand to look at it and that’s great.

What artists or album covers did you look to for the artwork?
David Bowie’s “Heroes”—I almost did it in black and white. And also Aladdin Sane. He’s got a lot - Noisey/Vice


"Brooklyn Vegan: Canadian singer Jay Arner released his debut album, remixed himself, playing CMJ on tour"

Vancouver resident Jay Arner spends much of his time behind the boards, working at Hive studios where he worked on records by Mount Eerie, Rose Melberg and others. But he makes his own music too -- literally, as he played everything on his solo debut which is out now on Mint Records. Fans of Ariel Pink, Wild Nothing, early Cass McCombs and other catchy bedroom pop artists should check this out. You can stream the whole album in this post. We're also premiering a remix of "Midnight On South Granville" which Arner did himself, which transforms the driving original into something spacier. Compare and contrast below.
Jay is currently on lengthy North American tour, that finds him in NYC this week for CMJ. Confirmed shows are an early-evening one (5 - 8:30 PM) on Thursday (10/17) at Pete's Candy Store with Torres, Spaceships, and Norwegian Arms and Friday (10/18) at Pianos for the free Planetary Group day party with TOPS, Blind Boys of Alabama, Courtney Barnett and more (RSVP). - Brooklyn Vegan


"FFWD: Jay Arner - s/t"

If Vancouver’s Jay Arner had jumped ship to Canada’s musical centre (a.k.a. Toronto), chances are he would have been huge by now. After all, he’s definitely paid his dues. But after years of playing in West Coast acts likes International Falls, Fine Mist and the Poison Dart, not to mention recording countless acts, Arner has embraced his birth name for an album worthy of grabbing Canada’s attention on a national scale.

Arner’s Mint Records debut is a solo album to the core, being entirely self-recorded, self-produced and self-played. Hell, it’s even self-titled and sports a massive photo of Arner’s mug on the cover. Yet despite being the work of one man, it’s surprisingly diverse.

Arner jumps from synth-tinted ’80s revamps (“Surf Don’t Sink”) to late-night rock confessionals (“Out to Lunch”) to School of Sloan pop-power gems (“Don’t Remind Me”) that you’ll be singing along to on first listen. But this is hardly an exercise in genre-jumping, as Arner comes out with a concise statement held together by his frail, sensitive-guy vocals, hooks for miles and production skills that most bands would kill for.

For those searching for Canada’s next great Prince of Pop, look no further than Jay Arner. - FFWD


"FFWD: Jay Arner - s/t"

If Vancouver’s Jay Arner had jumped ship to Canada’s musical centre (a.k.a. Toronto), chances are he would have been huge by now. After all, he’s definitely paid his dues. But after years of playing in West Coast acts likes International Falls, Fine Mist and the Poison Dart, not to mention recording countless acts, Arner has embraced his birth name for an album worthy of grabbing Canada’s attention on a national scale.

Arner’s Mint Records debut is a solo album to the core, being entirely self-recorded, self-produced and self-played. Hell, it’s even self-titled and sports a massive photo of Arner’s mug on the cover. Yet despite being the work of one man, it’s surprisingly diverse.

Arner jumps from synth-tinted ’80s revamps (“Surf Don’t Sink”) to late-night rock confessionals (“Out to Lunch”) to School of Sloan pop-power gems (“Don’t Remind Me”) that you’ll be singing along to on first listen. But this is hardly an exercise in genre-jumping, as Arner comes out with a concise statement held together by his frail, sensitive-guy vocals, hooks for miles and production skills that most bands would kill for.

For those searching for Canada’s next great Prince of Pop, look no further than Jay Arner. - FFWD


"eMusic: Jay Arner - Vancouver producer goes solo with slow-burn debut"

Jay Arner’s self-titled solo debut begins with a low bass groove that sounds like an engine idling, ready to rev “Midnight on South Granville” into high gear. To say the song never bolts away is no complaint, though, as the lyrics recount a night spent catching the bus, missing your stop, getting lost and wandering aimlessly. Set against that chugging bass line, those buzzy synths and that stoner guitar, half-drunk anomie has rarely sounded quite so epic. A Vancouver-based musician who has helmed albums by Mount Eerie, Apollo Ghosts and Rose Melberg, Arner recorded these new songs during lonely sessions at his practice space, recording straight to laptop to emphasize a DIY mid-fi sound, and the resulting Jay Arner mixes mopey postpunk instrumentation with power-pop song structures. Even though the unhurried tempos are far too laidback to sell the “power” in the pop, that spacey, narcotized vibe can be deceptive: The music reveals new sonic and lyrical details with each listen, whether it’s the M.C. Escher hook on “Broken Glass” or the world-weary cautions of “Nightclubs,” which finds a tricky balance between wry and romantic. - eMusic


"eMusic: Jay Arner - Vancouver producer goes solo with slow-burn debut"

Jay Arner’s self-titled solo debut begins with a low bass groove that sounds like an engine idling, ready to rev “Midnight on South Granville” into high gear. To say the song never bolts away is no complaint, though, as the lyrics recount a night spent catching the bus, missing your stop, getting lost and wandering aimlessly. Set against that chugging bass line, those buzzy synths and that stoner guitar, half-drunk anomie has rarely sounded quite so epic. A Vancouver-based musician who has helmed albums by Mount Eerie, Apollo Ghosts and Rose Melberg, Arner recorded these new songs during lonely sessions at his practice space, recording straight to laptop to emphasize a DIY mid-fi sound, and the resulting Jay Arner mixes mopey postpunk instrumentation with power-pop song structures. Even though the unhurried tempos are far too laidback to sell the “power” in the pop, that spacey, narcotized vibe can be deceptive: The music reveals new sonic and lyrical details with each listen, whether it’s the M.C. Escher hook on “Broken Glass” or the world-weary cautions of “Nightclubs,” which finds a tricky balance between wry and romantic. - eMusic


"Bowlegs: Jay Arner - Interview"

Jay Arner’s been behind the scenes producing music you love for a while now – we’re talking Mount Eerie, Rose Melberg and Apollo Ghosts. But now he’s decided to write, play every instrument and produce his own eponymous debut – and what’s more it’s turned out great. With influences ranging from Low-period Bowie to DIY Pop – Arner never fails to drop in the big hooks throughout the set. We caught up with him to talk about the songs, the overdubs and ripping off Return of the Mack.
Bowlegs: For someone who can seemingly play every instrument in existence, who can sing and who can produce – why has it taken you so long to record a solo record?
Jay: I guess I’ve had to develop the confidence to take credit, to say “THESE SONGS ARE DECENT AND I CLAIM THEM.” And thinking of a good new band name is hard.
Bowlegs: OK so you sit down with a new song – but how do you start to build it up, arrange it and develop a direction for it? Did you get a routine down after a while?
Jay: They sort of come pre-arranged– like when I get a song idea I know what are the instruments are going to do. I never really like, play an acoustic guitar and build a song up from a skeleton like a singer-songwriter dude.
So the routine is usually to figure out what I’m hearing, record a demo and then– for this record at least– when I wanted to make the real version I just overdubbed on the demos, replaced some of the tracks, kept some others. It was pretty easy! I record with a lot of other bands, as a member and/or engineer, so I’m used to going fast.
Bowlegs: How the hell do you know when to stop adding, stop re-recording takes, stop waking up the next day and changing everything you did the day before – how do you walk away from a song and deem it as ‘finished’?
Jay: Like I said, I usually know what a song should sound like from the start. So when it sounds like that, I stop. I did change a couple songs on this record though– they sounded too guitar-strummy so I took the main guitars away and added ones that sounded worse. I change mixes around a lot though, but it’s like, lowering the hi-hat by 2 dB one day and raising it 3 the next. It’s actually uh, kind of dumb.

Bowlegs: What records would you deem an inspiration for this album? Did you spin these regularly during the recording process?
Jay: David Bowie of the mid- and late-70s is the all-time inspiration. Low and Lodger in particular on this one. Fleetwood Mac on Tusk and New Order’s Brotherhood are both huge too. And then maybe In The Court Of The Crimson King and Neu 1, even though I don’t exactly sound like those records, they are just inspiring in how fully-realized and weird they are. I tried to steal a bit of the guitar sound from Public Strain by Women too.
But I didn’t listen to much outside music when I was making this album– I just holed up in my practice space for a few days and played the parts. I listened to the drums on Low when I mixed though, and New Order for synthesizer reference.
Bowlegs: I love the synths on Broken Glass - there is definitely something Low-period Bowie in the rhythm of that track. What is the song about?
Jay: Thanks! I tried to break the rhythm up into a few interlocking parts for that mechanical fake funk feel. I stole the drumbeat from Return of the Mack. I wrote the lyrics when I had awful insomnia and would stay up all night feeling totally fractured wondering what the fuck I’m doing with my life. A lot of it was written on very little sleep.
Bowlegs: The reviews will start flowing in soon – being that this is all Jay Arner is that something you are slightly nervous about?
Jay: YES, ABSOLUTELY. But I did my best and I’m really happy with it. That’s the most I can do and it’s out of my hands now.
Bowlegs: So now it’s done, and the fact that it has turned out so great, is Jay Arner the solo artist where the future lies? Will it be harder to go back to your other projects where compromise is part of the course?
Jay: I’ve never collaborated on my own songs, so that won’t be a problem. And because I can do what I want on my own stuff, I’m pretty good at following orders in the other bands I’m in. I love helping my friends realize their music.

Bowlegs: How did you approach the lyrical themes on this record – did you want to explore personal experiences? Is there any songs on this record that affect/touch you whenever you play it?
Jay: I was just talking to my friend (also named Jay) about this last night! I don’t have the brain to make things up, so it’s all real, or at least an aspect of me, amplified. A lot of them are pretty sad– sometimes I feel like I’m blundering through life and the songs are a document of that. The song Sacrifice is about one really specific and intense feeling of regret that would probably make me feel weird now, but I haven’t played it since I recorded it. Hahaha.
Bowlegs: The artwork is almost the final statement of intent – just a large portrait of you. How did that come about – do you see it as a sta - Bowlegs


"Southern Souls: Jay Arner - S/T"

Everything is wet. Not soaking, not oozing, but there is a sparkling humidity in the air. Downtown is nearly void of people, save for Jay Arner who’s out “half drunk, just trying to make some laundry change”. It’s late at night on a Tuesday, after all. Streetlights dangle red in the rain-slicked blackness.

This is the first proper solo LP from the illustrious West Coast producer and (following the lineage of great recording engineers before him) it feels like it’s taken forever and is it ever understated. First listens may wash over the listener like the aforementioned weather, but shimmering beneath the haze is Arner’s whip-smart lyrics and deft sense of melody. Though these songs are rooted in power-pop, there’s more to do with accomplished crackle than addictive crack in this collection. As Arner sings on ‘Nightclubs’: “If you’re here for the veneer to crack, don’t hold your breath.”

All of that to say, the reserved malaise, the smoke-thick synthesizers, the unflappable rhythm section seem part of the master plan rather than any kind of failing. Similar to Destroyer’s Kaputt, this LP takes the trojan horse approach. By making clever use of texture, instrumentation and melody from more typically celebratory music, it’s able to sneak by as ‘a nice pop record’, when really, it has plenty of darkened edges and deep thoughts tucked inside; really, it makes me want to use the word ‘auteur’. - Southern Souls


"Exclaim: Jay Arner - Jay Arner"

Decades from now, when some random musicologists write their theses on the cultural impact of Ariel Pink on indie rock, they won't have to look further than BC's Jay Arner as their main case study. Of course, this is all hypothetical. For all I know, Arner could have no interest in California's favourite psychedelic dream-weaver, but by God does Arner's self-titled Mint Records debut sound totally inspired by him. Nevertheless, Arner's first proper full-length certainly proves he's well worth the hype. Over Jay Arner's modest ten tracks, the young pop savant delivers Kevin Barnes-indebted wails ("Bird of Prey"), Beach Boys-inspired harmonies ("Nightclubs") and slacker-infused shredding that makes old man Malkmus sound like the Richard Branson of shoegaze (album opener "Midnight on South Granville" and the infections "Don't Remind Me"). Carefully tiptoeing around pure punk progressions, unadulterated lo-fi songwriting and thrift-store keyboard vignettes, Arner certainly resembles every other bedroom-based recording artist in this country. The only difference is that he doesn't suck. - Exclaim


"Exclaim: Jay Arner - Jay Arner"

Decades from now, when some random musicologists write their theses on the cultural impact of Ariel Pink on indie rock, they won't have to look further than BC's Jay Arner as their main case study. Of course, this is all hypothetical. For all I know, Arner could have no interest in California's favourite psychedelic dream-weaver, but by God does Arner's self-titled Mint Records debut sound totally inspired by him. Nevertheless, Arner's first proper full-length certainly proves he's well worth the hype. Over Jay Arner's modest ten tracks, the young pop savant delivers Kevin Barnes-indebted wails ("Bird of Prey"), Beach Boys-inspired harmonies ("Nightclubs") and slacker-infused shredding that makes old man Malkmus sound like the Richard Branson of shoegaze (album opener "Midnight on South Granville" and the infections "Don't Remind Me"). Carefully tiptoeing around pure punk progressions, unadulterated lo-fi songwriting and thrift-store keyboard vignettes, Arner certainly resembles every other bedroom-based recording artist in this country. The only difference is that he doesn't suck. - Exclaim


"Spin: Hear Jay Arner's Lovely 'Surf Don't Sink' Ride Synth-Pop Swell Into Garage-Rock Bliss"

Vancouver's Jay Arner has played in enough bands over the years to know how to sound like one when the job calls for it. After toiling in anonymity as a sideman and producer (working on records by Mount Eerie, Rose Melberg, and more), he's stepping out with his fittingly titled first solo album& Jay Arner, which finds the man making every sound you'll hear therein.

Due on Mint Records this summer, the 10-song set is made of analog synths, shimmering guitars, propulsive drums, and playful bass lines. But at the center of it all is Arner's voice — a sonic smile capable of soothing highs and lovely lows. Below you'll find "Surf Don't Sink," the very embodiment of a day at the beach, perhaps helped along by the ingesting of a mild psychoactive substance or two. The music itself shifts between garage-rock and synth-pop with surprising ease. This guy's no hodad. - Spin Magazine


"Weird Canada: Jay Arner - Jay Arner"

Sweet Jay comes correct on his long-play solo debut. This is no mere vanity trip for the Van City staple, as the unassuming mug on the cover laid down every note, lick and casual drum fill. Swoon-inducing New Romanticism and feather-banged bombast is the top down, drive time soundtrack for summer ’13. Vancouver +++. - Weird Canada


"Pitchfork: Jay Arner: Midnight on South Granville"

Vancouver musician Jay Arner is stepping out from relative anonymity with a self-titled album on Mint (out June 25). The cover is a photo of his gaunt face, his eyes unfocused and deeply ambivalent. It's not an arrival so much as a gentle throat-clearing: "I don't know where I live/Got off the bus at the wrong stop," he sings in his flat, calm voice on "Midnight on South Granville," after a minute and a half of murmuring new-wave keyboards and guitars give him a bustling space to slip into inconspicuously.
This sort of underplaying sometimes means people don't pick you out in a crowd, but Arner expertly folds sour feelings into his semi-sweet sounds, and as "Midnight On South Granville" accumulates quivery layers of analogue synths and builds gracefully to its conclusion, it becomes quietly riveting. - Pitchfork


"FADER: Jay Arner, “Don’t Remind Me”"

According to his artist’s statement, Vancouver solo rocker Jay Arner has made the above cover art to his self-titled debut album a close-up of his face in order to confront his own shyness. The photo is framed in an interesting way, then: it just barely shows his naked shoulders, not much to reveal but proof that he stripped for a photographer somewhere, in a semi-intimate act that was presumably scarier for him than the vague knowledge that you would someday see ten square inches of flesh. The photo shows precisely that he showed, and, even more, that the showing was about him not you. That might actually be the hallmark of all great bedroom pop. With that in mind, here’s his fine “Don’t Remind Me.” Jay Arner comes out June 25th via Mint Records.

Read more: http://www.thefader.com/2013/04/03/stream-jay-arner-dont-remind-me/#ixzz2VD0j1EfF - FADER


"FADER: Jay Arner, “Don’t Remind Me”"

According to his artist’s statement, Vancouver solo rocker Jay Arner has made the above cover art to his self-titled debut album a close-up of his face in order to confront his own shyness. The photo is framed in an interesting way, then: it just barely shows his naked shoulders, not much to reveal but proof that he stripped for a photographer somewhere, in a semi-intimate act that was presumably scarier for him than the vague knowledge that you would someday see ten square inches of flesh. The photo shows precisely that he showed, and, even more, that the showing was about him not you. That might actually be the hallmark of all great bedroom pop. With that in mind, here’s his fine “Don’t Remind Me.” Jay Arner comes out June 25th via Mint Records.

Read more: http://www.thefader.com/2013/04/03/stream-jay-arner-dont-remind-me/#ixzz2VD0j1EfF - FADER


"Vice Magazine: I Can't Fuck You All, Barbiturates, and Jay Arner"

SEX – I CAN'T FUCK YOU ALL

With that cocky paragraph title, will I be called the next Samantha Brick? I hope not, that shit was annoying.

I'm unsure if it's due to innate aspects of personality or related to my carefree upbringing, but I am very open about sex, and often wish the rest of the world would be too. I write about sex, I talk about sex, I have sex. However, my sexual candor has gotten me into some precarious situations. People mistake my sexual nature for a desire to have sex with them, or more accurately, somehow mistake my sexual openness with an expectation that I'll have sex with them. Not everyone of course, most people are far more awesome than we give them credit, and honest misunderstandings happen. Yet the other day, someone was trying to fuck me whom I did not want to sleep with, and he quoted things to me I had written in this column, as some sort of argument, a harsh rebuttal of my spurning. “Well, you wrote that you're into.....” Awesome, thanks for the pageviews. Now I'm writing that you can go to hell.

I want a samurai sword to chop away penises. I've invented a version in my brain of that game Fruit Ninja except it's me, a red-headed Beatrix Kiddo slicing peens flying at me. A reader requested an extra dirty column this week. Sorry, this is not that column. This is a reminder that “no” means “fuck off, bro.” And while I'm at it, I'm tired of hearing this “her words said no, but her body said yes” shit. Sometimes people flirt, sometimes people will even give you a kiss or drunkenly dance with you. I don't care if a girl has given you permission to fingerblast her or her pussy is in your face, if she says “this is as far as I want to go,” or “stop,” those words MUST be respected. If a girl is telling you “let's have sex,” or is physically sliding your penis inside her she probably wants to fuck you. If she is pushing you away from her and saying “No, I don't want this to happen,” she DOES NOT want to have sex with you. I realize it's hard to think with those things all armed and ready for battle, but please just fucking evolve.

It's quite simple. NO means NO, for everyone. And if I have to say it more than once, “NO” means “Fuck off, seriously or I am going to chop off your penis with my samurai sword.” You think I'm kidding about this samurai sword thing, but I have a tab open where I'm searching for one on Etsy right now.



DRUGS – BARBITURATES

“A prayer for the wild at heart that are kept in cages,” the subtitle of Tennessee William's Stairs to the Roof, are words that have always been dear to my heart, along with a special fondness for Tennessee himself. Beyond appreciation of his work, I feel some deep affection for the man I can't fully explain. Although it is believed that Tennessee choked to death, barbiturates were also found in the room, a drug he abused throughout his life along with alcohol and amphetamines.

Today barbiturates are rarely prescribed, replaced by their B brother benzodiazepines, which have a lower risk for overdose. Like benzos, they were prescribed largely as anti-anxiety and sleep medication. Common early brand names included Veronal and Luminal, or perhaps you have heard of Seconal. Particularly fascinating to me is the super short-acting Pentothal, known as “truth serum.” I'm often an open book, those close to me might prefer I was prescribed whatever the opposite of Pentothal is, but I am quite curious if it does, in fact, work. Bill, is that what you shot Beatrix Kiddo full of before she stopped your heart? Spoiler alert! But fuck you if you haven't seen Kill Bill yet, and for fuck's sake it's in the title.

By the 1960s scientists figured out barbiturates were pretty fucking dangerous. In 1965 the Drug Abuse Control Amendments were stamped into law, and then came the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. All those fun drugs got a stamp of their own, the one that read, “warning,” but many of us see and read “fun.” Doctors tapered off prescribing them, although the drugs were still available on the streets through the 1980s.

Many, like my dear friend Tennessee have experienced the haunted merry-go-round of prescription drugs. The user, like Tennessee, truly does experience anxiety, depression, or other demons that lead to their prescription as an illness. However, the longer you're on the ride the faster you go until around and around and around and eventually the drug itself creates the same symptoms you started taking it for, and you need more, more, more, and the withdrawal process is more painful and difficult than what forced you on the ride on the first place.



ROCK 'N' ROLL - JAY ARNER

The segmentation of this column is so random, I’m always curious of the artist's reactio - Vice Magazine


"RCRD LBL: Jay Arner - Don't Remind Me"

On "Don't Remind Me," Jay Arner engages in some scuzzy, towering power-pop – an ode to emotional pain, smoldering guitars and a mile-long sludge of production that touches on a foreign era. Mostly, though, it's just a catchy summer jam that could form a perfect mixtape bridge. - RCRD LBL


"FFWD: Jay Arner - Bad Friend/Black Horse"

Vancouver man-about-town Jay Arner has all of the makings of a slacker-pop savant — the breezy approach to songwriting, the laid-back production, the shaggy hair ­— but he’s the furthest thing from a burnout. Aside from his time in notable bands like International Falls, The Poison Dart, Fine Mist and Bleating Hearts, Arner has slowly but surely been laying the foundations for a solid solo career.

The latest on that trajectory is the double A-side 7-inch featuring the tracks “Bad Friend” and “Black Horse.” In an email, Arner told me “It’s sort of fake punk in an obviously totally not punk way,” and that’s a perfect way to describe “Bad Friend.” Clocking in at a minute and a-half, the bullshit-free track is built on fuzzed-out guitars and busy drums, with enough harmony and melody to keep it from getting aggressive in any way. Basically, it sounds like a younger Sloan (fun fact: Arner collaborated with Sloan’s Jay Ferguson on a 2009 EP).

The flip side sees our hero and his band getting contemplative with some warbly synth and dreamy guitars on “Black Horse.” It’s a total departure from “Bad Friend,” but both songs are united in the fact that Arner’s such a fantastic songwriter.

This is a short and sweet 7-inch, to be sure, but there are enough hooks on here to keep you flipping it for a while. Then, hopefully, Arner will issue the top-notch full-length that he undoubtedly has in him. - Fast Forward Weekly


"Exclaim!: Vancouver Pop Maestro Jay Arner Drops Solo EP Featuring Sloan's Jay Ferguson and Japandroids' David Prowse"

By Josiah Hughes
As a producer, songwriter and multi-tasking musician, Vancouver's Jay Arner has kept restless with innumerable projects, from the indie pop of International Falls and the Poison Dart to the icy synth anthems of his current band, Fine Mist. He's also managed to sneak in a few solo releases as well, from tongue-in-cheek remixes to fully formed songs. Now, Arner is set to drop a brand new solo EP called Bird of Prey.

In an interview with Exclaim!, Arner discussed the four-track offering, explaining how he how found time to write more solo songs amongst his increasingly busy schedule. "They're just songs I've written since the last EP [2008's Jay Division]. I'm making music non-stop, but most of it went to Fine Mist this year," he says. "Bird of Prey is the loose songs. They're about the desire to start over and live simply, dread, summer and fall 2009, and feeling shallow because you wish you knew your friends better. In that order."

While the songs were written, played and recorded by Arner, he did manage to sneak in a few guests. Because he couldn't record drums at home, he sampled individual drum sounds from Japandroids' drummer David Prowse and formed them into beats featured throughout the EP.

"It sounds great, but at the same time, it's like a conceptual sampling joke: getting a 'cool drummer' on your song but stripping all his style from it," Arner says.

He also managed to lock down an appearance from Sloan's Jay Ferguson, who lends his vocal cords to the track "Uncoverers." For Arner, working with Ferguson was an important rite of passage.

"I started playing music right when Sloan was getting going, so Jay is very much a formative influence - not just musically but in a DIY way too," he explains. "People have always compared my songs to Jay's; when I was younger I would get defensive about it, being like, 'No way man, I listen to Can 100 percent of the time.' That's a lame way to be. I'm a bit less insecure now, so no duh Can is awesome, but so is Jay's band. It's weird and great to hear us singing together and we sound beautiful."

In terms of a release for the EP, Arner plans to go the self-release route and put out the album via his website. "This is going to be free and digital and I'm going to release it, like, right now, as soon as it's mastered," he explains. "A lot of my favourite things were done similarly this year so I feel like I'm in good company - R. Kelly, Lil Wayne, Drake, me?"
- Exclaim!


"Weird Canada: New Canadiana :: Jay Arner – Bad Friend"

From the distorted cruise of Aaron Levin:
Sometimes it’s just the feeling that perseveres. Not the delicate soundscape nor the sparing metaphor; just a pervasive memory lingering; echoes and ambers from the fires of pop and catch. “Black Horse” is a rare breed of languid summer burners and ethereal dissonance, capturing a bleary, pitch-shifted vision into one of the most enduring songs of the season. Bad Friend provides a welcomed balance to “Black Horse”‘s minor-key nostalgia with the title track “Bad Friend”: a distorted cruise through granular addiction and classic 90s jammery. An unsurprising favorite at the HQ. Grip+++. - Weird Canada


"Magnet Magazine: Sloan’s Jay Ferguson Believes In: Going Overground"

Bryan Adams. Loverboy. Triumph. Celine Dion. Music fans of the United States of America, is this what the Canadian music scene looked like to you in the 1980s? I think these were among the few artists from up here in Canada that enjoyed a worldwide commercial profile, while the groups of a more underground nature remained regional and off the international radar. Over the past seven years or so, the tables have definitely turned. Now, it’s the underground scene that is the more prominent international musical ambassador of Canada: Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, Feist, Metric, Crystal Castles and others all enjoy a healthy profile across borders that would have seemed unthinkable a decade or two ago. So with the Canadian underground currently overground, does that mean there is no more underground? Hmm, not necessarily. There are still lots of fine artists and songwriters up here who are keeping the underground alive and will perhaps become the new overground. No pressure, though. May I mention a few that you might dig? OK, here goes:

Jay Arner
From out west in British Columbia. Played and plays in bands such as International Falls, Fine Mist and Team Strike Force but has also released recordings under his own name. I was introduced to his music via our piano man, Gregory Macdonald. They grew up and played music together and taught each other how to play Guided By Voices songs. Here’s a song that that might make Neon Indian, Washed Out and Panda Bear all go back to the drawing board. - Magnet Magazine


Discography

"Bird of Prey" EP 2009, self-released
"Bad Friend" 7" single 2012, self-released
"Jay Arner" 12" LP 2013, Mint Records

Photos

Bio

For years, Vancouver multi-instrumentalist Jay Arner has teamed up with others to translate the sounds in his head.

He's fronted an indie rock band, played synthesizers and samplers in a pop duo, manned the drums for a piano punk songwriter, and held down the bass in a eight-member collective. Along the way, he's also become a sought after producer and remix artist, working out of the legendary Hive studios and recording acts like Mount Eerie, Apollo Ghosts, Rose Melberg, No Gold and many more.

Now, finally, he is going it alone. Every sound you hear on his eponymous debut album due out this summer through Mint Records was self-recorded by Arner in his 72-square-foot practice space using a precariously perched desktop computer and his home recording gear. The sum of his many talents, these 10 songs sizzle with DIY energy and encompass the scope of the songwriter's diverse resume.

Opener "Midnight on South Granville" sets a dark tone with its coldly mechanical intro before flourishing into a lush post-punk synthscape that reflects Arner's love of analogue electronics. Elsewhere, the bass-heavy pulse of "Broken Glass (In the Hall of Shattered Mirrors)" draws on '70s pseudo-funk, while "Wildest One" is an abrasive surge of distortion and "Don't Remind Me" is a soaring pop anthem that recalls classic Murderrecords songcraft. The lyrics are filled with self-doubt and wry cynicism, but don't expect confessional heartbreak these timeless melodies and intricately wrought arrangements are filled with noisy pop sweetness, and there's not an acoustic guitar to be found.

Given that Arner wrote, performed, recorded and mixed every note on the album, it's only fitting that it's self-titled. The cover artwork is a close-up photograph of the man's face. This is him at his most unfiltered and uncompromising, with only his musical whims to answer to.

Band Members