Faith Healer’s recent release, Cosmic Troubles, orbits a dark galaxy of ‘60s psychedelic indie-pop that never travels too far from the light. From playing in The Tee-Tahs to Punk Explosion, Faith Healer – a.k.a. Jessica Jalbert – steps out with sun-kissed harmonies and echoing fuzz on her sophomore solo effort. Georgie caught up with her to talk about becoming Faith Healer, the spirit of collaboration, and why boxing is not in her future.
G—Your second album, Cosmic Troubles (Mint Records), was released under the name Faith Healer, while your first album, Brother Loyola (2011) was released under your actual name. Why did you adopt an alias for the second album?
Jessica Jalbert—I was running into some challenges when I was using my own name. There are a lot of preconceived ideas about what singer/songwriters performing under their own name might sound like and I didn’t want to feel restricted to that. It’s not just going to be me sitting on a stage with an acoustic guitar, quietly whispering into the microphone. This is a rock band.
G—By taking on this new name, have you developed a stage persona as Faith Healer?
When I started writing and performing music, I was alone. I wasn’t writing large arrangements; I was writing things that I could play by myself on stage. Slowly, over the years, I assembled a band and started writing for a band rather than just writing for myself. This album is me becoming Faith Healer instead of Jessica Jalbert, the solo artist.
JJ—I don’t have a fake persona or anything like that when I’m up on stage. The idea to represent myself as a band and not as a person is indicative of how my music has progressed. When I started writing and performing music, I was alone. I wasn’t writing large arrangements; I was writing things that I could play by myself on stage. Slowly, over the years, I assembled a band and started writing for a band rather than just writing for myself. This album is me becoming Faith Healer instead of Jessica Jalbert, the solo artist.
G—Can you tell me more about the cover of Cosmic Troubles?
JJ—Sure, it’s just a really ugly picture of my teeth.
G—That’s an interesting juxtaposition with your music. Why did you decide to go with that for the album cover?
JJ—It manifests from the idea of having a lot of people watch me while I perform. The thought of that kind of stresses me out, so I wanted to lighten the pressure by not having everything be so focused on me. I’ve always been really insecure about my teeth so I thought I would put them out there for the whole world to see, and then that way it would just be a funny joke.
G—Renny Wilson collaborated with you on Cosmic Troubles, as well as on your first album. Why do the two of you work so well together?
JJ—We’ve been friends for a long time and we have operated in the same kind of circles. We both appreciate each other musically, so I think it works well because we don’t have clashing personalities. I would like to have him involved in any musical project I’m working on because I trust his instincts and he’s just a good guy to work with.
G—You have collaborated with so many local artists. What do you think it is about the Edmonton music scene, or Edmonton, that nurtures collaboration?
JJ—I wonder if it’s the kind of place we are – geographically, and in terms of world city importance. There’s not a lot of bravado in the arts scene in Alberta. It’s not like Montreal, where there’s a reputation of being an artistic central hub in the country. It’s a weird kind of humility. Edmonton doesn’t have a “we’re too big for our britches” kind of mentality, so there’s going to be a lot of collaboration because there’s not a lot of competition. For me, having a lot of people support one another and encourage each other just engenders a lot more positive creation.
G—Last question: if you were a boxer, what would your entrance music be?
JJ—It would be a major bummer song like “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground.
I’m not very aggressive, so I think I would be the worst boxer of all time. I can’t imagine what my entrance would be like. I would probably slink into the ring.
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and