If you are a fan of the rhythmic sound of indie music, the name j ember won’t be new to you. While technically a newcomer to the scene, the multi-facet has been making his presence known by serving up a fresh take on the genre, picking up fans with each step he takes. And, in a bid to continue on with his journey towards a takeover of his genre, the artist unveils his new EP, “Full Size Render”. His citing of influences, such as industry legends Oasis and Blur as well as chart-toppers Lorde and Phoebe Bridgers, is a huge indication of the singer’s sound, which can best be described as a fresh and reinvented ode to the classic sounds of years gone past. And, “Full Size Render” is a sparkling example of this. Packed full of alternative indie sensibilities, tracks such as “Part Time Paradise”, “Dumb” and “Better Off” boast a highly relatable narrative on navigating the trials and tribulations associated with navigating your mid-twenties – which is a heavily relatable topic, to say the least – and the artist’s unique sound, making his new cut repeat-worthy.
When contemplating the production process behind his latest release, j ember stated, “we started every song on acoustic guitar. The golden rule was that if it works stripped down, it usually works produced out. We recorded all live drums through tape and all digital through the “Pocket Operator” drum machine by Teenage Engineering (a calculator sized drum machine). We recorded this janky out of tune piano that my aunt got me a few years back, it has this very imperfect sound, and we layered it across the majority of tracks.”
Speaking on the influence family has had on his sound and the making of his latest project, the artist sat down with Wonderland upon the release of his highly-anticipated EP. Head below to read our conversation with j ember.
Hey J how are you! How has this past year been for you?
Hey! I’m good, thanks! It is crazy that “Full Size Render” is out! The year was weird but good? I moved a few different times.
With everything that happened last year was your creativity affected?
It came in waves! I jumped between hypercreativity and nothingness. It was hard to stay sharp during lockdown. This Masterclass ad kept getting shown to me, the Aaron Sorkin one, where he goes, “writer’s block, that’s my default position.” I haven’t bought the class, but I like the mantra. I started doing Morning Pages, sort of a free form daily writing exercise. It is really helpful!
How did you first get into music? What sparked the interest?
I grew up around music. My grandfather would play the ‘doe a deer’ song from Sound of Music on the piano, my uncle showed me Radiohead and M.I.A and my mum showed me CSNY. I played in a few different indie rock bands in high school. I guess it started there.
You’re from Canada, where about? Do you think your hometown impacted your sound?
Toronto! So much good music from here. Andy Shauf, Jaunt BADBADNOTGOOD, Feist! I love that song “Mushaboom”. If I was an elementary school teacher, I would play that song as the ‘morning wake up’ song. They used to play “Love Generation” by Bob Sinclair at my elementary school. I love that one. I saw Bob Sinclair at a club called Opium in Barcelona when I was 19. That was a full-circle moment.
You’ve just dropped your new EP “Full Size Render”, what was your mindset approaching this project?
Stripping back and trying to define the raw elements of the j ember sound. I collaborated with Duncan Hood across the entire project. He produced. Duncan is insanely talented and kept reemphasising the importance of honest songwriting. The project is about mid-twenties anxiety.