Vancouver quartet JPNSGRLS gave us Circulation two years ago – Power of Pop’s Album of 2014 – and new album, Divorce, proves that Circulation’s artistic success was not a one-off. We caught up with vocalist Charlie Kerr (far right, above) via email to talk about the stories behind Divorce.
Congrats on the new album – how does it feel now that it’s been finally released?
Thank you, kindly! It feels like a big rock has been removed from my shoe or like my loud upstairs neighbour has been evicted. It feels fucking awesome, man!
Was the writing and recording process for Divorce, easier or tougher than Circulation – or was it the same?
Much harder. Because we only ever write what is organic to us, I had no intention of recreating Circulation. And sometimes when bands take a departure from their first album it results in a serious sophomore slump. I had deliberate goals with this album that I didn’t have with Circulation. For instance, in the lyrics, I wanted to dissect more on my own specific life experiences and worldview rather than hide behind a wash of indie-rock cliches. Which is terrifying. Also the band wasn’t getting along great.
Divorce is such a visceral word – why is that the album name?
You’re a comic book fan right? For me, my parents’ divorce is my ‘Wayne family getting killed in the alley’ moment. It shaped me as a person. It’s the origin story for so many of my issues. Aside from that personal ‘nerd-ery’ , many of our friends were getting divorced while we were making the record. So it’s kind of a call-back to when the Arcade Fire calling their album, Funeral for similar reasons . Also there were the less literal divorces of Oliver and our manager quitting. Plus a lot of the lyrics for “Oh My God”, “Gap Year” and “Holding Back” came from a specific heartbreak that really did a number on me and because I am wildly sensitive and over-dramatic, I described it as a divorce.
Most of the songs on Divorce are shorter than 3 and half mins – is that economy something you strived for?
Again, we just wrote what was organic to us. No real road map. Actually, “Girl From A Different Dimension” was actually even shorter before the studio, Dave made us add a chorus. I really do love short songs though, “Tyrannosaurus Hives” is one of my favorite records.
How important is it to record material that can be played live? Cuz the songs jump out of the speakers/headphones with such power and energy
Thank you kindly, that’s more-or-less the goal. We road tested every single song on this album before we recorded it. We fancy ourselves a live band so yes, it’s extremely important.
“A Comprehensive List of Things I Love” is a bit of a departure, with female backing vocals and an arty bent – what were you aiming for?
I showed it to the band initially without the back-up vocals but I always had them in my head. I was trying to write a song that The Dirty Projectors would like, because I am such a huge fan of theirs. And The Katherines are friends of ours with incredible voices so it was actually really easy and fun.
What are your plans to promote Divorce?
Tour the shit out of it and make cool content to accompany the music.
Are there any plans to tour in Asia?
God, I fucking hope so.
Check out our review of Divorce here.
Official Site: http://jpnsgrls.com/
… still there’s more …