On a rainy day much like this one I had the chance to sit down with Jon Landry of the Stanfield’s, fresh from Europe where they were promoting their new album For King and Country. Here is how she goes, by.
Jon: Well, away we go.
Andrew: Away we go bud. So I’ve been told you are fresh off the boat, so to say, from Europe. What can you tell me about your travels?
Jon: Uhh, shit. Well we don’t really – let me say we suck at plans, our manager is great at em’, but we suck at plans. We were actually promoting our earlier album, Death and Taxes, mostly a whole rock n’ roll affair. Both sides of the band totally started converging into one gross mass.
Andrew: Bringing out the earlier digs. What was, uh, a shiner in your travels through Europe? Netherlands, Germany?
Jon: Oh yeah, the Deutschland, just driving through Holland for a bit. Germany was a high point for sure. Finland, Bavaria.
Andrew: See any nice Dutch ladies?
Jon: (laughter) No shortage of beautiful people, that’s for sure. My wife might be tuning in so I have to keep it, uh, unisex. Nah man, it was cool, man. The crowds are a lot different over there.
Andrew: (laughter) Oh totally. What was the scene like, venues, crowds?
Jon: What we found was that music here compared to Europe is much more of a commodity, almost disposable in its release and composition through labels. On the grander picture, scale, Europeans cherish music much more solely on the need to be cultured and open to new ideas. North American music seems to cater to Joe public much more, that North American mindset.
Jon: The shows, the shows are really cool. The feeling of being in a wholly different hemisphere and people know and appreciate your music is intense.
Andrew: Did the culture shock hit you at all?
Jon: It was a bit of everything, yanno? Seeing how countries run themselves, and how we, in our capitalist leanings, run for the big box way of doing things.
Andrew: Mom & Pop stores are dying out quickly. Music labels don’t run like that anymore, profit is always a big issue and main priority aside from those exceptions and indie labels. Our cultural standing is now one hodgepodge of fuckery.
Jon: (laughter) Butcher, baker, candle-stick maker. It still works like that in Europe, music wise and in many other ways. It’s apparent in Atlantic Canada, that cultural shift west and the fading of the middle class.
Andrew: Of course. Well, now that your back in Atlantic Canada, is there anything you’re really looking forward to? The winter? (laughter)
Jon: Just time to relax, man. Get back into the swing of things. Pick back up where we left off. It’s just good to be home, get some normalcy back into our lives. We were on the road for more than two months, nine time zones over and across. At one point we were out west watching the Cup backstage, two days later celebrating in Germany. It’s nuts, man, being on the road.
Jon: At one point we were in Bavaria, for the uninitiated, Bavaria, being the center of hops country in northern Europe. We were recording in a studio absolutely surrounded by hops, barley, wheat as far as you could possibly see.
Andrew: Was this a rural studio, out in the sticks?
Jon: Totally rural, pure country. Closest town was a place called Roddenegg, doesn’t mean a damn thing in German, but that’s the name it rolled with. (laughter)
Andrew: Sounds smelly. A good quaint area where you can put thought into what you do.
Jon: It was. Fully out of the way of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. No “Oh shit I need to mow the lawn, buy milk, yell at the dog,” just a place where we could concentrate on our work. It’s all about distractions.
Andrew: And that comes back to the beauty of Atlantic Canada, the solidarity. Now that you’re home do you feel that your inspiration to continue working is rising? There is definitely an East Coast, Atlantic Canadian sound to your music, and it surely holds onto your roots as a Celtic folk musician.
Jon: As long as this world is as fucked up as it is, there will always be something to say, write about. (laughter) It all comes from what you’re grateful for, what moves you, what angers you. For instance, we’re here destroying our planet and we have neither the leadership nor the cojones to do something about it at the moment. As long as you look at a situation and you can say “this sucks.”
Andrew: Last night I was listening to Warren Zevon’s ”My Shit’s Fucked Up” and I feel it resonates with a lot of people today, because in all honesty, we’re all a bit fucked up.
Jon: Oh man, Z-Bomb! I love him dude, he knew what was going on for sure. He had a lot of issues his whole career.
Andrew: Drugs, liquor, depression, women, the whole nine yards.
Jon: “Roland was a warriorrr!” Yes, man. I hear that. I love him, man. (laughter)
Andrew: Oh, man. One of the greats — well, Jon, that just about wraps it up.
Jon: That’s a wrap. Thanks Andrew, thanks.
There we have it, Jon Landry of the Stanfield’s. Check out their latest album For King and Country, among their excellent older releases. It was a pleasure to sit down with Jon and talk with him about the world and his experiences. Stay tuned to the Stanfield’s for new music, and stay tuned for the next issue of Acadia’s premier student newspaper, the Athenauem.