By Patrick Harney
Vancouver’s Jo Passed is playing in Winnipeg at the Handsome Daughter on October 26. Stylus caught up with the prolific musician to talk about life on the road and what keeps them going.
Stylus: I see you were recently on tour, how was the tour? Where did you go? What are some memorable events from this past tour? Do you prefer touring or playing at home to local crowds?
Jo Passed: We went down the west coast to LA and came back up! It’s always such a fun time, I feel so fortunate to have the best buds, Bella, Daniel and Spencer who play with me in my band and I love them so much.
I formed this band on tour so it’s hard to say what a home crowd is, playing in Vancouver feels like I’m playing on tour these days and usually is part of a tour. I sold all my stuff a couple years ago and live out of a rat infested cardboard box that costs $500 dollars a month.
Stylus: How/when did you get your start with music? and from there when did you decide on progressing into songwriting if you didnt song write from the beginning?
JP: I started playing Taiko Drums when I was 4 but I think the dancing part of it reminded me too much for my parents who are dancers. I used to take naps and feign sleeping to not have to do the Taiko drum classes, eventually I switched to Piano which was A Ok!
I later quit piano to form jo passed and devote more time to songwriting, but I’ve started playing the piano again. I also noodled my own little tunes and songs when i was a kid, but they were more like funny movie classical themes then rock music.
Stylus: How long have you been playing music live? What made you make the transition from bedroom music to playing on the stage?
JP: I’ve played live shows since my teens. Bedroom jams and live music have never existed independently from each other for me. I’m usually writing in bedroom dreaming of what they’d sound like live.
Stylus: You recently(ish) made the transition from a member of a band to a solo artist, how has this transition been? What are some of the pros and cons of solo work vs group work?
JP: I do have a band so it’s not so black or white. I don’t like most ideas so it’s nice to confine myself in demo land and just be negative by myself. I like to hear full releases as I’m writing so it was hard working with the uncertainty of another songwriter or with jamming parts out. One song leads to the next for me, but I can get kind of stopped by an unpredictable song by another writer. I’m starting to open up though and wanting to form more collaborative bands now that I have my own thing going.
But ya, I like feeling free to fuss over every instrument and write arrangements that work with the full band together. I think it’s a byproduct of growing up as a piano player and spending most of my life by myself in front of a machine, now the machine is a laptop as well as a keyboard and all those other instruments.
Stylus: You said you have been playing since your teens, how has developing your style in the public eye felt?
JP: I’ve changed approaches and styles a lot. The good news is, so has the public and the public themselves have even changed. So often, I don’t know how consistently they are considered the public anymore. My friends give me shit for singing softly sometimes.
Stylus: What were some of the key moments/realizations you have learned to help you move forward with your sound and your musical career?
JP: When I started to allow myself to love, guilt free, my guiltiest of pleasures.
Stylus: Is there anything in particular that keeps you want to write/play music after all this time? An event/quote/person that you look or does it change from day to day?
JP: There’s literally nothing else I could do but keep going.