Manitoba Music is launching Snack Sessions, a new music video series streaming live via Facebook. In each session, a Manitoba act will be featured in a live performance plus a interview and profile. Read on and stay tuned for more Snack Sessions! Snack Sessions is made possible by the support of Corus Entertainment, with snacks provided by Old Dutch and Half Pints Brewing Company. WATCH THE VIDEO
By Graeme Houssin
From its lo-fi bedroom-recording origins to playing Sled Island Music & Arts Festival and beyond, JayWood has flown far in the two years since its first performance.
“I never expected [JayWood] to grow into what it is, and it really did catch me off guard,” said frontman Jeremy Haywood-Smith. “I never expected to have a band, play shows and definitely not travel from all this.”
After three EPs and dozens of local shows, JayWood made its way through the Manitoba festival circuit this year, with sets at Big Fun Festival, Prairie Wind Music Fest in Cypress River, Sherbrook Street Festival, and Harvest Moon Festival in Clearwater.
“A lot of the Manitoba festivals are a lot more communal, which I absolutely love,” said Haywood-Smith. “With the Manitoba festivals that I’ve played, it feels like a community coming together.”
In June, the group also played a set at Sled Island in Calgary along with Dirty Projectors and Petra Glynt, an experience Haywood-Smith called “overwhelming, but amazing”.
“I definitely had a much bigger stage presence in Calgary,” said Haywood-Smith, “just because I wanted to give anyone who was seeing us for the first time something they could really become more invested in.”
JayWood – a portmanteau of Haywood-Smith’s name – began as a solo project, and has appeared with a variety of members since its first appearance in 2016. Earlier this year, Haywood-Smith’s previous accompanying band departed, making way for a new lineup: Sara Provencher, Ben Stokes, and Tyler Wagar.
“What each member brought to this project is irreplaceable and unique to their own style,” said Haywood-Smith. “I knew that anyone new to the band would bring something completely different, and, as difficult as it was initially, I had to become more open-minded to those changes, despite how fond I’ve become of any song’s sound.”
Recently, the group opened for local alt-pop outfit Lanikai at The Good Will Social Club, presented by Winnipeg Folk Festival, before jetting out east and performing a set with Vancouver’s I M U R and Edmonton’s The Royal Foundry for Halifax Pop Explosion, presented by BreakOut West.
Now JayWood is gearing up for the release of their first LP, slated for release in early 2019. So far, the group has released two singles: “Another Life”, released in early August, and “Club 3D X”, released in October.
“Club 3D X” touches on the darker sides of club culture while “Another Life” deals with a topic a little closer to home for Haywood-Smith: his past struggles with mental health issues, a subject he stills finds hard to talk about.
“It was a little difficult to put that song out first, just because I hate getting so personal,” said Haywood-Smith, “but at the same time, the longer I do music, the more I realize how important getting personal is when you wanna try and connect with people.”
The LP, called Time, is a concept album and a coming-of-age story that expands on themes Haywood-Smith been writing about since he started JayWood.
“It definitely offers a few new sounds and styles that I haven’t really showed off yet,” says Haywood-Smith. “I’ve had the amazing honour to work with so many talented people to help put it together, and I think that really shows in the music.”
Keep an eye out for Time in the new year. Until then, you can hear the first single “Another Life” and other music and videos by JayWood on their Manitoba Music profile.
Stay tuned for more Snack Sessions...