Halifax, Nova Scotia pop singer-songwriter Jenn Grant will be playing at the Rock House tomorrow night (Friday, May 20th) in support of her incredible new album Honeymoon Punch. Below is a quick interview with her about the album.
I just want to start by saying that I love the new album. What inspired the curious title Honeymoon Punch? Is that “punch” as in with a fist or is it a reference to the drink?
Thanks Damian! It’s a reference to both… because I like that the title can have alternate meanings but also that it sounded punchy. In the same way that the record does I think.
As a whole Honeymoon Punch is probably your most upbeat, danceable album. Did you intentionally set out to make it sound that way or did it just kind of happen?
I think it’s a bit of both. I started on a trend of writing that way and wanting to express myself that way, and was also listening to a lot of Phoenix, and wanted to challenge myself to go in a different direction. Or maybe even to challenge myself to go deeper into a direction that is really me. I love to sing sad songs and I always will, but I had yet to start filling my catalogue with dancier material and it’s great to start to have the diversity in the show. I really felt that the audience wanted that and I was happy that I was in a place where I could give them a little of it.
The album has a pretty stylistically diverse range of songs. I’ve picked up on hints of Motown (“Heart of Sticks”), rockabilly (“Getcha Good”) and New Order style, 80’s synth-pop (“Walk Away”) just to name a few. Were there any particular albums or artists you were listening to while writing/recording Honeymoon Punch that might have influenced the album’s sound.
Yes, a little bit of Kate Bush, a lot of Phoenix and Laura Veirs. As well as Coconut Records, which is Jason Schwartzman’s musical project, to name a few.
Honeymoon Punch has only been out for five months and I read on your website that you’re already getting song-writing fever. How does the typical Jenn Grant song-writing process go? Does inspiration usually come in one big prolific explosion or in little bits at time?
It comes over time, in little spurts over a year or two between albums and then there is usually one grandiose swoop of song writing the last two months before or during pre-production.
You’re also a great visual artist and painted the covers for your previous albums. Why did you choose not to go that route for the cover of Honeymoon Punch?
I wanted to step away from my previous patterns and for me, putting myself on the cover, or twice, was a bolder move for me. I think I used to hide behind my art in some ways. I found visual art easier to share than my voice or song writing. I personally am starting to enjoy all the risks there are to take in the music business.
You’ve covered some pretty iconic Canadian artists; Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” on Echoes (2009) and Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire” on Buck 65’s 20 Odd Years. Have you ever gotten any feedback from Neil or Leonard on your covers?
No, I haven’t, and I never even thought about it until now, which is probably strange. Maybe Leonard Cohen will hear his “Who by Fire,” since Buck is already a living legend in Canada!
Are there any other songs or artists you’d like to cover in the future?
Sometimes I want to cover Fleetwood Mac, but it’s very overdone, but there are few albums that I have loved as much or for so many years more than Rumours. I find choosing cover songs very hard.
Thanks for your time. I’m looking forward to your show on Friday.
Catch Jenn Grant live at The Rock House tomorrow night (Friday, May 20th) with Repartee. Tickets are $15 at Fred’s Records, The Ship and O’Brien’s Music. Honeymoon Punch is also available at Fred’s Records.