Dirtbag Journalism

Jordaan Mason : First Gay Love, Then Gay Marriage, “Divorce Lawyers” keep shotguns in the baby carriage.

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2009 at 4:56 PM

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(Photo Cred : Flickr.com)

When I first discussed the possibility of doing Johnny B early this year, my friend Jordaan was very supportive. I heard about his band, The Horse Museum, through friends, but actually “met” Jordaan on the internet. We started hanging out and I started frequenting Jordaan’s shows at his old house, which was known by most people of Toronto as The Oxford Hotel. This house holds a big place in my heart because it had such a good collective of amazing artists, musicians, residents, and visitors. Every show had something different and great to offer. People may remember The Oxford Hotel as the spot for the Kimya Dawson show in 2007, held in the backyard. The house also had a show with Arts & Crafts newest acquisition, Timber Timbre, which was definitely a memorable one. One of the biggest things to happen to Jordaan this year was the release of his new record, Divorce Lawyers, I Shaved My Head. This record took awhile, but like a good stew, you’ve got to let it simmer and this record is a very good example of that—believe me.

Fast forward to now: Jordaan and friends have left The Oxford Hotel and moved into a lovely new home.  Jordaan’s band mate, Dee, now lives with him and she’s adjusting well. Everything is fucking great for those dudes and I love it. This interview was done about a week before everyone had to move. Check it out.

M: What kinds of mischief does a gay teenager get into in Fort Erie? How was it growing up in such a small town?

Jordaan: I feel like most of my small town mischief had very little to do with me being gay. I did find out that there was a spot where “men go to meet each other,” apparently; I went there a bunch of times at night when I was in high school but I never met anyone there. I basically went to school with the same people for most of my life, so coming out was this weird thing because suddenly I was known as “the gay guy” and I was the only one really for a while.

M: You came out at a really young age. Looking back now, how do you think a lot of your earlier experiences with men, sexual identity, and acceptance have affected how you approach life, love, and music?

J: In general, I’m always a bit confused, but I think that having a lot of time with anything makes you come to understand it more. I feel like I still have a lot of essential questions about my sexuality, but I have had a lot of time to experience it and ask questions. I tend to work out the questions that I still have through songs.

M: Tell us about the first ever show at the Oxford Hotel (your music or otherwise).

J: The first show at the Oxford Hotel was Sarah D, Kimya Dawson, and I—just one week after we’d moved in. It was an afternoon show and over a hundred people came. It was really lovely. I broke a guitar string and a bee tried to attack me while I played. I was really nervous for some reason.

M: Tara Fillion has been documenting/taking photographs of events at the venue from the beginning. When did you guys first speak of her taking photos?

J: I don’t remember exactly when it was, but maybe about six or seven months after we moved in, she told us pretty frankly that she was going to document what was going on and talked to each of us individually about our comfort levels and everything.  She’s the kind of girl who does what she has to do for her art. She was pretty straight with us that she’d be documenting the good and the bad.

M: Do you feel that every event at The Oxford is a different experience? What do you think people who’ve only come a few times take with them when they leave?

J: I think there’s a specific kind of feeling to a “house show,” but it really depends on the bands that are playing and who’s there, and the energy of all of that combining. There have been some slow shows with bad turn-outs on rainy nights or blizzards where we were snowed in, and things like that. However, there have also been shows where there are so many people that it’s actually insane and everyone is really there for that moment. I think what people take with them when they leave can be really different depending on when they came and who they saw. Certain performers have more effect on certain people.

M: My dream would’ve been to see Timber Timbre play at the Oxford. How amazing was that show?

J: The show that Timber Timbre played here was really lovely. It was during North by Northeast, and it was sort of nice to be in this backyard watching music instead of in a big noisy venue for that time. Taylor sounded amazing in the backyard. Ladan (basket of figs) and Kristina Born (whatever jailer) also played, and I love those dudes.

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(Phot Cred : Tara Fillion)

M: Tell us how the Horse Museum started.

J: The Horse Museum started because a few friends were willing, and in the right place, to start making music with me, and I had just been on a long tour with Richard Laviolette and Chris yang where they were sometimes playing along, and Jordan O’ Jordan came up for a few days and played with me and I liked that feeling of performing with friends a lot. So I came home from the tour and said, ‘hey, let’s do this’, and we did. It gets bigger on its own, it seems.

M: Sometimes you’ve went on tour alone and sometimes you’ve been with the band. What is your craziest tour story? What is your craziest tour hook up?

J: I feel like picking the “craziest” tour story is really hard. A lot of really weird stuff has happened.  I think there’s an adrenaline that happens sometimes when you’re travelling, especially when it’s warm, that’s just really overwhelming and you feel like everything you’re doing is really insane.  I feel like the funniest tour story is that I was accidentally booked to play a children’s fair and the promoter really didn’t seem to think it was a problem.  I guess my craziest tour hook-up is a threesome, that’s a pretty random thing to have happen on tour.

M: Through all the stress, years and hard work that went into Divorce Lawyers, I Shaved My Head, how did you feel when you knew that all those thoughts, feelings, and emotions that were written about would be shared with your listeners?

J: It’s not an uncomfortable thing, the topics of these songs. Not to me, anyway. I was nervous for people like my dad to hear them, I suppose, but other than that it’s fine.

M: One of the relationships talked about is the one with an old lover that is now a woman. How did you feel when you first discussed with her?

J: T.M and I have had a good dialogue about the topics on this record the entire time. She also wrote some material based on these same events – a play. We’ve talked a little about working together on something about it in the future. I feel like, because we’re both the kind of people who use our art and performance as catharsis almost, we both really just understood each other in terms of needing to say words about it.

M: How do you think one goes from having someone be their lover/partner to friend/confidant? Was that transition hard for you guys?

J: I think that transition can be extremely difficult and sometimes even unnecessary, depending on how the relationship really went. The transition was still difficult for us, definitely, but I think easier maybe more-so because our problems and reasons for ending the relationship were sexual, not emotional.

M: The CD release show had me in tears. Watching the Horse Museum is truly an experience. How did you feel about that show? Were you scared, emotional, or unsure about it at any point in the night?

J: Up until the show, I was terrified. We were doing a sound check and I got terrified I was going to lose my voice and my throat was going to close up. Once we were up there I felt fine. Playing with the band makes it a lot easier; the band is basically all my best friends, making music with me. Everyone who came out was so supportive.

M: The song, Racehorse, Get Married also makes me cry (like a fucking baby actually). Tell us about the songs on the record that mean something special to you. What are the chances of you making a music video for this song?

J: I think the ones that are most special to me are the ones that really came alive to me again once we were already recording and the band did such incredible things to them. Racehorse is a good example of that. It’s probably my favourite recording on the album because of what happened to it in the recording process. We first recorded it thinking it would just be me, alone, similar to o jarhead, but we ended up building things around it. For Hymn / Her, the instrumental that Sarah and Shaun wrote is really lovely and really stands out to me. I like the idea of music videos, so I would like to do one for one of these songs eventually, but I’m not sure yet. We have a lot of talented people around who could definitely help us if that’s what we decided to do. I have mostly had ideas in my head for a wild dogs video, though.

M: Jason is your partner and band mate. In the few years that you’ve been with him, what would you say is the most beautiful quality, attribute, or even a feeling that you’ve felt when being with Jason?

J: The best word that I can think of is warm. That’s the best feeling. It’s also good to be with someone who you can really trust. The band mate dynamic has been interesting to add on, Jason is much more business-minded than I am and is very insightful in helping out the band with that aspect. He’s a fantastic horn player. All those horn arrangements are his.

M: We recently had our first (and last with Jake before he left for Korea)”Porn Club” meeting. Considering the guys on Sean Cody, Broke Straight Boys are not your cup of tea, what would say turns you on about a man?

J: I like large noses, glasses, stomachs, I like a little bit of a gut sometimes. Hairy chests, the small of the back, short messy hair. Dark features I guess? I’ve been attracted to lots of people who don’t match any of this, either, though. It’s hard to say.

M: What room in the house will you miss the most?

J: I’m going to miss the front porch and the kitchen the most. The porch for very obvious reasons (where I am moving to has no porch), and the kitchen because it had a really good floor to lay on.

M: Have you ever hooked up in the club house? How would you feel if someone hooked up in the club house?

J: I’ve had sex in the clubhouse. A few people have, I think.

M: As the weekend comes to an end and September 1st is around the corner, how do you feel about moving?

J: I am very excited to move. As much as change is completely terrifying, I am looking forward to what’s coming next. and this house is a little run-down and right now it’s mostly empty since three of our other roommates have already left, so it definitely just feels like it’s time to go.

www.myspace.com/jordaanmason

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  1. Lovely interview, Max. Made me very nostalgic.

  2. Thank you very much!!!

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