Toronto pop-rock band Jane’s Party released their latest album Casual Island in mid-February and are celebrating with a CD release show April 6 at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern. It’s also a record both members Jeff Giles and Tom Ionescu say they did differently than 2017’s Tunnel Visions.
“We knew that we wanted to make something that was a little more mature, a little more of a stab at kind of a polished sound,” Giles says. “We started off by working with this guy named Derek Hoffman who produced most of the record. We really wanted to try going in a different direction with it. And working with someone who really had a vision for the sheen and the sound that was going to surround it.”
“This was the only one where we didn’t book off two or three weeks and go and just record non-stop for that amount of time and then walk away and dust our hands off,” Ionescu adds. “More stop and go which I personally like. It gives you a chance to add things. If you’re home and it’s about midnight you can boot up your computer and add whatever that thing is. You’re not restricted by this camp experience.”
Casual Island features a handful of different collaborators working with the quartet but comes off surprisingly uniform in terms of quality and style. Both Giles and Ionescu say the ambitious tune “Straight From The Heart” took a lot of sweat and probably tears to nail down.
“I think that one had been floating around in a Dropbox folder,” Ionescu says. “Sometimes something just remains in extreme demo mode for a long time then it takes another one or two people in the band to listen to that and go, ‘There might be an actual song here.’ It was a long burn for that one, maybe two years of constant periodic work.”
“We had this vocal sample that we were really debating whether it was going to make this thing,” Giles says. “It’s a French poetry sample and it essentially played the role of the bridge of the song. In the end, it made the cut and it stayed.”
Perhaps the surprise on the album is a very strong cover of the ‘80s classic “Drive” by The Cars. The recording came from essentially a happy accident coming back in the van from a show outside Toronto.
“It was sort of like a summer evening, a cool evening and it was foggy and misty out,” Giles says. “(Bassist) Devon (Richardson) was in the front with the iPod and I said, ‘I think we really need some music to set the mood here. Can you put on that Drive soundtrack?’ I don’t know if you saw the move Drive but it’s got a dark, interesting driving groovy kind of feel. And Devin put on ‘Drive’ the song by The Cars. We were like, ‘Oh my god this song is amazing!’ So we immediately decided that we got to record this.”
This year has been very busy already for the group after opening a hectic three-week trek in Europe for British singer Tom Odell. Both Giles and Ionescu say another European trek is in the cards for later this year alongside North American dates and possibly some summer festival slots.
Jane’s Party also took a page from Sloan’s notebook when it comes to personal and financial harmony in the group: splitting everything equally. It’s a recipe for success and longevity Giles thinks works well.
“We’re always just rooting for the best thing to come out, the thing that’s going to allow us to keep going,” he says. “There’s no personal bias involved. Also, I think having multiple singers and songwriters, there’s not so much pressure on one person or there’s not that much of a workload that grinds you down. And you don’t feel so precious about the songs you put forward because you know there are two or three other guys that will have great material.”
In the meantime, Jane’s Party will be releasing material throughout this current album jaunt as Giles knows immediacy is crucial in today’s music business.
“We want to keep the music and the content coming out,” he says. “In this day and age it’s so easy just a blip on the radar, so we want to keep that content flowing out. Along with touring, we’ll definitely continue to release stuff. We’re already talking about recording the next batch of tunes, the ones that didn’t make the cut. We’ve already got eight to 10 tunes and we’re probably going to record them and have them trickle out over the fall and winter.”