A Chat With Arresting And Prolific Songstress JEEN

4 November 2022

All-round Canadian singer/songwriter JEEN not only canned/released 6 albums in 7 years in her own right but she writes – then and now – for other artists too, such as ‘Great Big Sea’, ‘Serena Ryder’, ‘Res’, ‘Hawksley Workman’, ‘Brendan Canning’, ‘FUWA FUWA’, Martin ‘Doc’ McKinney and more. That’s what I call a centipede songsmith.

She operates in a broad spectrum of pop, rock, folk, and all related music genres she likes. Lyrically a lot of her songs reflect personal experiences and issues. Don’t expect a lot of musings about the birds and the bees.

Last September Jeen’s new full-length, baptized Tracer came out. An arresting, sparkling, and at times turbulent and flamboyant work. Listen to it below and fall in love, as I did.

As usual Turn Up The Volume starts an interview with a piece of music. I picked one of my
favorite highlights, the LP’s opener Chemical Emotion, a magical mixed emotions gem.

Hello Jeen,
welcome and thanks
for doing this Q & A

How and when did your music career start, Jeen?

“I was 13 when I got my first guitar/wrote my first song and that was the beginning
of the end I guess. I quit high school and moved out of my parents in gr. 10 to pursue music full-time. It was hard a lot of the time at the start, being only 16/17 yrs. And
on my own in this industry. In retrospect, I guess I kind of fed myself to the wolves.

I had to busk to pay my rent and that’s how I met my first manager when I was
singing n the street. He was a well-connected guy at the time so I was swept up
by the wealth/success, he had but ultimately it ended badly because I signed away
my publishing rights to them, all before the age of like 22 (I did manage to sue
them and get my publishing rights back over a decade later).

Anyway, not an easy start in some ways but I learned a lot too.”

You also write for other artists. If you do so, do you have the artist’s
music in your mind or is it a JEEN song for somebody else to perform?

“Maybe depends on the circumstances a bit but if I’m writing for someone else’s album I just want them to be happy with it because in the end it will be theirs, not mine, so I follow their lead. If it’s another artist’s work it’s my job to help create something they resonate with, something that gets them excited, and if/when that happens it makes me happy too.

Different scenario but I’ve also co-written for someone’s side project where there were multiple writers and I was asked to share some of the lead singing… so that process had more of a personal touch where I would contribute with my own nuances in mind.

Approaches vary though, like I had an old song I had written in my teens but never put out or released or anything and a vocal trio decided to record a version and include it in their live show. In that situation, it was a song I had fully written alone but just not a song I could connect with or use myself as an artist.”

Which track would you pick to introduce your music
to people who do not know your work?

“Hard to pick just one but the first that comes into my head is maybe the song Jungle
or Shallow or Buena Vista? Because they sort of walk the middle line of the spectrum.

However, those recordings have my older more lo-fi self-production, which I don’t necessarily prefer but still, they have the right roots. in terms of the more recent LPs
I would say Chemical Emotion and Anything You Want would be good intros to my stuff too.”

You made/recorded/released 6 longplayers in 7 years. So I suppose you never
had a songwriter’s block and how can you even find time to work for others?

“Well, I haven’t been doing a lot of co-writing for others lately so my time has been my own at least. I’ve gotten myself into a loop now where I’m basically low grade uncomfortable when I’m not writing like a vague sense of distress starts setting in if too much time passes.

I don’t particularly struggle with writer’s block but there are plenty of times I have to stop writing for the day (or days) because I am sucking. I also write a lot of songs that never see the light of day because they aren’t good enough and loads of ideas that I start and never finished for the same reason. So, no long-term writing blocks necessarily but I have my issues.”

The new album TRACER came out two weeks ago. Is there
a big picture to it or do the songs stand on their own?

“I think they stand on their own but are def chapters from the same book. putting out albums back to back has made the writing process for each LP pretty condensed. the songs for Tracer were all written in a pretty small phase of time so although I see them as pictures or snapshots of a larger scene they are each very much their own little island as well.”

The album’s cover is a bit blurry and you look at us
with one scary eye. Is there a story behind the image?

“Haha, because shit is serious, Jean-Luc. I’m not fucking around lol joking. I was just
falling in love with those old seventies photos where they would overlay 2 images/double exposure stuff. I would like to explore that style more in the future, where it gets super dreamy and hazed out but this was my first attempt.

The word Tracer was meant to reference the trails you see behind movement when
you take drugs like acid/LSD or even just when you’re a kid writing words in the air with a sparkler/fire cracker. Something that is there but not there, so I was hoping to get a bit of that feel too. The flowers on this album cover are also the same flowers in the Little Idea video.”

One of the singles is the glorious LP’s opener CHEMICAL EMOTION.
What’s the song about? Any connection with the fox in the video?

“I was going through some stuff when I wrote this album and this song was
me trying to convince myself to just let it go a bit or at least make some peace
with the chaos or something.

It’s a song about the people/places/things that keep you going and get you excited about being alive because shit can be really hard sometimes and without those charms and good triggers what are we left with. Also had that Hunter S. Thompson quote in my head at the time: “Buy the ticket, take the ride”. I love that line.”

LITTLE IDEA, another single, is a magnific and moody ballad.
Was that the idea when you wrote it?

“I was unsure of this one at times in the album process because I thought it was too soft and different from my usual stuff. The melody came easy, like I’d always known it almost but as convenient as that sounds it also cornered me because every time I’d try and make an adjustment or even change the lyrics it would threaten to fall apart. It was a little more fragile than the others I guess you could say.

I was initially worried about including it on the Tracer LP at all in fear it might be too far off the rest of the album but Ian and Steph (co-producer/guitarist + drummer) convinced me otherwise, thankfully.

Did you listen to records of other artists to inspire
you in the writing process for the album?

“Weirdly I don’t really listen to music right now or for the last 10, 15 years even.
I know that’s lame of me but yeah, I’d have to say there were no direct influences
in that way for Tracer.”

Suppose TRACER was the soundtrack of a movie.
Which one or what genre would it be, Jeen?

“Any cartoon/animated movie would be cool.”

We’re nearing the end of 2022. What’s the best
track and album you heard so far, Jeen?

“See question #9, I’m so clueless on this stuff. Although I will say my band
mate/co-producer Ian put out a sweet record with his band, Ian Blurton’s
Future Now
this year, called Second Skin and it’s excellent.

Three things you really want to happen
in 2023, musically and/or privately?

I hope I get to make/release another album.

Would love to start a side project, co-writing/share vocals.

And it would be great to see working musicians get more of what
is deserved in terms of a fair/functioning/sustainable ecosystem in
this industry or music is doomed.

Thank you for this interview, Jeen.
May the road rise with you.

TRACER here…

JEEN: Linktree

Turn Up The Volume’s 20 BEST TRACKS Of The Month – SEPTEMBER 2022

A stream of rattling rippers, jagged jams, and magnific musings

All 20 on Spotify.



Band: AUS!Funkt
Who: Post-punk misfits from Toronto, embracing in the process
the elements of electronica, dub, disco, garage rock and blues
while maintaining grittiness, simplicity, and repetitiveness.

My favorite cut of their new dance-crazy
EP Hey! I See You.

If your limbs don’t get activated by this stomping synth stunner
it’s time to get on the phone and fire your shrink. Right now.

For everybody else, shake your booty.

AUS!FUNKT: Instagram – Facebook

GORILLAZ share new – their 8th – album, titled Cracker Island with the world next year, on 24 February 2023. As usual Damon Albarn invited a big-name cast of guests, like here for this song, called New Gold with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and Bootie Brown behind the mic.

Feel the vibe.

GORILLAZ: Instagram – All Albums

Who: The musical project of singer/songwriter Jordan Speare
assisted by guitarist/bassist and friend Andrew Billone

Their debut album Silhouettes lands after all this
year’s singles (one per month) are released. .

The September one, DUMB is my favorite (so far).

Frisky, tingling, and totally catching.


BURN THE LOUVRE: Facebook – Instagram

LUKE HAINES (mastermind of former Britpop-rock outfit The Auteurs
and R.E.M. guitarist PETER BUCK have their second collaborative album,
named All Kids Are Super Bummed Out on 26th October.

First single, titled Psychedelic Sitar Casual is a jangly R.E.M. like
rocker that gets under your skin sooner than you can say fuck Putin.

Tune in and pogo like you used to.

HAINES & BUCK; Website

(Photo by Turn Up The Volume – Brussels, 2019)

Toronto‘s noise generator METZ celebrate the 10th anniversary
of their smashing self-titled debut LP with a new tour.

Along the tour announcement, the trio shared two tracks, of which one is
pretty special. COME ON DOWN features their longtime friend Joe Talbot
of Bristol punks Idles.

A perfect match in noise hell.

METZ: Bio – Discography – Instagram – Spotify

Band: ON
Who: An punk-rock-experienced Toronto trio

New album: ON
Released: 20 September 2022 via Indiestructable Records

Closing cracker AMENDS is my kind of electrical eruption.
It’s an imposing Led-Zeppelin-like heavy blues-rock knockout
including unhinged wah-wah electricity. Nasty stuff!

No, it’s not Jimmy Page on guitar, or is it?

ON: Facebook – Bandcamp

American/Celtic punks DROPKICK MURPHYS have their 11th album, named
This Guitar Still Kills Fascists out on 30 September. The LP accentuates
the sharp-cutting lyrics of the late great and heavily influential (ask Bob Dylan)
American folk hero Woody Guthrie (1912-1967).

If you’re a Murphys fan you know what to do when
this massive chant ALL YOU FONIES comes on.
Yes, screaming your lungs out.


DROPKICK MURPHIES: Facebook – Instagram

Who: Old-school no-nonsense five-piece rock
band from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

New single SHOUT is a wallbreaker, a let-it-all-out loud haymaker.
Think The Black Crows and Guns ‘n Roses have a nasty rollicking riff fight.
I wonder if it’s Axl Rose who’s screaming his head off in the end.

Holy riff smoke.
Play it to the max.

DEAD LEVEE: Facebook

(Pic by Turn Up The Volume!)

Boston‘s noise rock icons PIXIES have no intention whatsoever to retire.
They have a new – their 9th – album out on 30th September. It’s baptized

This taster, titled DREGS OF WINE
off the new LP is a burning belter.

Check it out.

PIXIES: Website – Instagram

Who: A wheelchair-fronted, high-energy
alternative rock band from the North East.

New single: TELL ME

Expect a rollicking ripper bucking up all the way. A sterling crackerjack that
scurries full tilt with steamy swagger pushed by a flat-out rhythm section,
storming guitars – think Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid riff – and James‘ lively
vocals. When the sizzling chorus kicks in, it’s go mental time.

Tell all your friends about this exuberant score!

ALEX JAMES: Facebook – Instagram

Who: Singer/songwriter/guitarist Jeff Tostee uniquely exploring
a world of gritty blues and garage rock with drummer Micaiah
, taking their name from the 1967 Detroit Riot

From the forthcoming – 3rd – album
Fake News, due this fall.

This red-hot-roaring corker thunders all the way with
turned-up decibels for the psychotic guitar-charged chorus.
Think Queens oF The Stone Age fronted by Jack White.

Hurry yourself to a green field and freak out.


(Photo credit Paul Elledge – press via website)

Chicago‘s bombastic veteran rockers THE SMASHING PUMPKINS
orchestrated by main man Billy Corgan are back in town.

Next year, on 23 April, they’ll share their new longplayer
ATUM: A Rock Opera In Three Acts with the world,
with no less than 33 songs.

The first single is an uppercut called BEGUILED.
A mid-tempo upper with a rotating heavy metal riff.

Nice one, Billy.

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS: Facebook – Instagram

Artist: JEEN
Who: All-round Canadian singer/songwriter who has written for many recording
artists such as ‘Great Big Sea’, ‘Serena Ryder’, ‘Res’, ‘Hawksley Workman’, ‘Brendan Canning’, ‘FUWA FUWA’, Martin ‘Doc’ McKinney and more. She was a member of ‘Cookie Duster‘ with ‘Brendan Canning‘ of ‘Broken Social Scene‘.

It’s the lead-off track of new – her 6th – album Tracer, out October 21st.

Jeen: “It’s about letting yourself drift in the flow of everything and hanging
on as hard as you can to what makes the shitty parts more tolerable.”

After only one spin, you’ll know that Chemical Emotion is a mesmerizing humdinger.
Jeen‘s emotive voice bewitches right away, the mid-tempo cadence emphasizes
the meditative reflection perfectly, the compelling chorus brings Alanis Morissette
to mind, and overall the orchestral sonority and the layered harmonies lead to
a thrilling triumph.

And I know it sounds trite, but you made impossible possible sometimes

JEEN: Facebook – Instagram

(Press photo via YYYs)

Who: Pop/rock trio from New York fronted
by the gorgeous Karen O

Today their new – 5th – longplayer Cool it down is out,
their first in 8 years. A few weeks ago my ears started
trembling when single BURNING came through my

Still love you Karen.

YYYs: Facebook – Website

(photo via AYU – press)

Artist: AYU
Who: Singer/songwriter/producer born in Bern (Switzerland), and living in Hamburg (Germany) delivering a mixture of contemporary pop, future-thinking electronics,
catchy RnB tunes and sweet indie.

AYU seduced me before with her infectious tunes and this one
is another one to embrace. Tremendously sticky with an irresistible
I love-you chorus.


AYU: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter 

Who: Drawing from an array of influences ranging from hip-hop, indie-pop,
to pop-punk, Gonzalez is an artist that refuses to be put into a box.

From her upcoming debut solo EP

Gonzalez serves an effervescent cocktail of hip-hop-pop-rock sparks
inviting you to jump out of your lazy couch for a hip-swaying two-step.

Make your move here…

August Gonzalez: Instagram

Who: Riveting rock outfit from Costa Messa, California that
made an auspicious entrance onto the music scene last year.

New single: I CAN’T HELP YOU
From their upcoming debut LP, out January 2013.

Expect a melancholic smooth guitar pop uplifter. The brisk combination of a jaunty rhythm section, flickering guitars, a toe-tapping melody, a contagious chorus, and last but not least Madeline Star‘s soulful and romantic voice, turn I Can’t Help You into a glam gem.

Help yourself right here.

WIDOWS GOLD: Instagram

PPhoto by Arne Frøkedal

Who: Chamber psych-pop duo – Linn Frøkedal
and Richard Myklebust – from Norway.


For this new composition, the duo’s minds went down memory lane
to get inspired by the musical preferences of their
adolescent years.

They came back and cemented the experiences of those bygone
times for the future, in a song. The End Of The Beginning is a shoegaze rainbow,
but one that’s sepia colored. The mood is blue-sky, idyllic, and halcyon. So is
the musing’s slo-mo progression, Frøkedal‘s foggy vocals, and the glowing
synth waves.

Start dreaming here.

MISTY COAST: Facebook – Spotify

Who: Folk-pop singer-songwriter from West-Wales

Debut single: BISCUIT TIN

This is a firm energizer with a resistless pick-me-up groove
and a highly stimulating sonority from start to finish. Its lively
melodiousness, vigorous vivacity and zealous vocality make
you reach for the repeat button again and again.



(photo by Turn Up The Volume)

Who: Chicago born singer songstress

Furman released her new album
All Of Us Flames last month.

A very notable one with this sepia-colored beauty, named
TRAIN COMES THROUGH as one of the many highs on
the record.


EZRA FURMAN: Instagram – Facebook

See/hear you next month, music junkies

Prolific Songstress JEEN Shared The First Single ‘CHEMICAL EMOTION’ Of Her New Upcoming Album

Daily electricity to load your batteries

20 September 2022

Artist: JEEN
Who: All-round Canadian singer/songwriter who has written for many recording
artists such as ‘Great Big Sea’, ‘Serena Ryder’, ‘Res’, ‘Hawksley Workman’, ‘Brendan Canning’, ‘FUWA FUWA’, Martin ‘Doc’ McKinney and more. She was a member of ‘Cookie Duster‘ with ‘Brendan Canning‘ of ‘Broken Social Scene‘.

Albums: Gift Shop (2018), Jeen (2020), Dog Bite (2021) and a new
one is coming up. Wow! 6 longplayers in 6 years (hello, Radiohead?)

It’s the lead-off track of new album Tracer,
out October 21st.

Jeen: “It’s about letting yourself drift in the flow of everything and hanging on as hard as you can to what makes the shitty parts more tolerable…I was thinking of that Hunter S. Thompson quote, “buy the ticket, take the ride.” It was written in April 2021, which was a rough part of last year for me. I needed to write something that reminded me to tread lightly, to forget about the heaviness of everything.

After only one spin, my ears told me that Chemical Emotion is an utterly mesmerizing doozy. Jeen‘s emotive voice bewitches right away, the mid-tempo cadence emphasizes
the meditative reflection perfectly, the compelling chorus brings Alanis Morissette to mind, and overall the orchestral sonority and the layered harmonies lead to a thrilling triumph.

And I know it sounds trite, but you made impossible possible sometimes

JEEN: Facebook – Instagram