For over two decades Canadian vocalist, guitarist, producer, engineered Jason Corbett has had a prominent role in the development of the Vancouver underground music scene. After playing in several local outfits, in the early 2012 he felt the time had come to form his own band called ACTORS, skillfully building a sound that is like a time warp incorporating the best new wave synthpop sonic elements from the ’80s to contemporary poweful electro basslines and dark tense Lynchian atmospheres, and that makes for a compelling listening experience.
After several singles, the band have just released the ‘Reanimated” EP, six-track a remastered ‘revived’ versions of six early tracks, let’s talk with Jason Corbett about his project and upcoming plans.
Thanks so much for the interview. Let’s start with the band’s origin, how did the idea for your project emerge, what were your early influences and why the name ACTORS?
Somewhere along the line I had lost sight of what I truly wanted to be doing with music. I took a step back to regroup and slowly started developing what was to become ACTORS. Early influences for me are the two Davids, David Bowie and David Lynch. Of course, other artists inspire and influence, but those two are tops. The name ACTORS was suggested by the talented Art d’Ecco. To me it fits perfectly.
What type of music were you exposed to as a child? Do you remember when and where you started to get passionate about music and your early artistic inspirations?
I was lucky to have friends and family that turned me on to great music while I was young and impressionable. Bowie, The Clash, Prince, Roxy Music and Black Sabbath etc. were a mainstay by the time I was in grade 6. That’s the same year I started playing guitar.
How would you describe your ongoing sound? Do you have any sensations, hints about further possible developments of it?
ACTORS tend to be described as post-punk/new wave or even darkwave but we don’t easily fit into any one category. There are elements of the 80’s but I like to think we come across as contemporary. I don’t think too much about where the sound of ACTORS is heading. I just write what I feel at the time and let the song tell me where to go. To awkwardly paraphrase David Lynch, we catch the fish, we don’t create the fish.
Are the lyrics important for you or are you most focused on your sound? How much is your writing from personal experience and how much does it draw from external sources?
Lyrics are important. They don’t have to be the main focus at all times but they need to be saying something when it counts. My lyrics tend to be from personal experience. Even the ones I think aren’t at first. And then there’s some universal truths that just resonate.
Do you draw on, or are you influenced by, any non-musical cultural resources (eg. films, books, visual art) in your creative process?
As I mentioned above, David Lynch is a big one for me, but inspiration can come from anywhere. I love movies and books.
You have released a six-track EP, titled ‘Reanimated’, a remastered selection of early singles. Why did you believe that those tracks need, as you said, to be ‘re·an·i·mate’ ?
It was nagging at me that those songs weren’t being heard how I intended. I was excited how much better the remasters sounded so I decided to release them as the ‘Reanimated’EP. Those songs are now finally available on iTunes and Spotify for the first time as well. I’ve been surprised how much support the EP has received! I’m very thankful.
You brilliantly remixed tracks from bands like Sunshine, The Belle Game, Gold & Youth and Gang Signs; Will there be more in the pipeline? With which artist/musician would you like/dream to collaborate?
Thanks! I love doing remixes. It’s fun to reinterpret the feel of a song connect with other artists. There’s lots of artists I’m really into. I would love to work with The Soft Moon, Drab Majesty, Cold Cave, The Horrors, Trentemøller, Savages, to name the tip of the iceberg.
Jason built his own studio called Jacknife Sound where you produce other artists, work on your own material and also organize related local gigs. Please, could you talk about it and about your recording process?
Jacknife Sound was initially going to be primarily for my work with ACTORS but it almost immediately became the full-time studio for my work with other artists. I feel fortunate to have discovered that I LOVE producing. In regards to my recording process, it’s always a little different. No two bands are the same. No matter what genre, I like to look at each project and see how we can make it the best it can be.
I read in an old interview that Jason doesn’t like to tour, but I saw that you’re actually doing a short Canadian tour and you’ll also be part of the Terminus summer festival in Calgary. Are you still worried about it? Which are your highlights about playing live so far?
I love playing live. I’m just not a fan of being in a tour van for 10 hours at a time day after day. Canada is a big country so there’s long drives between each show.
I have this feeling that there’s some touring outside of Canada in the cards for ACTORS.
What current bands/artists are you recently excited by?
Drab Majesty, Art d’Ecco, Ultrviolence, Gang Signs, The Soft Moon, Exploded View, Autolux, and too many more…
Many thank for being our welcome guest, just the last usual questions : Your hopes and plans for the near future?
More music. More shows. More.