The last three years will have to forever be known as the moment when the 80s revivalism flood finally broke just enough for the 90s to start roaring back with a vengeance. I've written about a host of bands this year with a 90s touched sound, and maybe it's because my generation -- who grew up on 90s alternative pop-rock -- are finally making their mark in the industry. Maybe it's some other totally unexplainable reason because if there were some secrets to trends in music, I'd be running a studio and making bank off the public's taste not writing for an indie music blog. But, whatever it is, the 90s have returned, and Canadian pop-rock artist Jeen
is one such artist embracing her 90s influences.
We had the chance to chat with Jeen about one of her latest singles, "NY Island," which is featured on her new record, Tourist
. The song has echoes of bands like The Breeders and other 90s female fronted alternative acts in the scratchy texture of her voice and the reverb-fueled jangle of her guitars. Check out the track below as well as our chat with Jeen.
As a Canadian musician, you sing about New York City explicitly on "NY Island." How has New York affected you, and what does the city mean to you? Do you have any experiences in NY that you would like to share?
Jeen: Well, I haven't spent much time there so maybe that adds to the allure. I got flown down there years ago to sing for a big label guy in his office but that was fleeting. I liked the way it sounded and felt lyrically in the context of the song it's sort of meant to represent the end of the race, like you've arrived, top of the pile you know? I'm sure this eludes many native New Yorkers but hey, it is what it is...in the same breath I'm a firm believer in the 'its not where you are its where you're at mentality" so...
How was the process working on your upcoming solo record Tourist different from working with Cookie Duster on When Flying Was Easy. Did you find it more challenging or more freeing or perhaps both?
Cookie duster is a collaboration and its ultimately Brendan's baby, not to mention it existed before I came on board for the last record. I'm one of the writers and it's very much a collaboration between us, a lot less pressure in comparison with my own record. I am the only writer, it's all on my head. I also have to produce my own stuff which isn't my forte. I do what I can do to get by but at the end of the day I'm just trying not to butcher the song. Cookie Duster has a lot more bells and whistles re: production and I have zero production responsibilities which is a big weight off...but yeah, solo stuff puts more of the blame on me if it sucks; that's for sure haha
On Tourist, there's a noticeable theme of moving around and location, not just on "NY Island" but also on a song like "Everywhere I Go." Was that a conscious decision or was it incidental?
Hmm, you know, I never noticed that before so for sure coincidental, but now that you mention it, I'd love to be more vagabond if life allowed but unfortunately I don't have that luxury right now so maybe that's surfacing a bit subconsciously or maybe I just need to get out more haha.
"NY Island" seems influenced by a very specific early 90s sound what initially jumps to mind is The Breeders or, more specifically, Kim Deal. Do you get that comparison a lot, and how do you feel about it?
Once in a while I get the Breeders for sure, and I always get the 90s thing; it doesn't bug me cause it's true. I kind of tuned out of popular music somewhere along the line, I don't listen to anything right now and haven't for a while so maybe my influences are a bit frozen in time. I didn't listen to the Breeders or the Pixies that much back in the day but the bands I did listen to were influenced by them (who wasn't then) so its osmosis I guess, but I think it boils down to a simple style without a lot of frill...kind of a diy vibe. I can definitely think of far worse comparisons. I absorbed the most music in the 90s so it's in my blood, it just comes out that way.