Shotgun Pause: An Interview with Shotgun Jimmie

Interview by Andrew Sisk with illustration by Kristian Bauthus

Shotgun Jimmie has been putting the hammer down on Canadian tour routes for his critically acclaimed album, Transistor Sister, all year.  I caught up with him amidst some time at home in Sackville, NB.

Transistor Sister, you’ve gotten a lot of acknowledgement for it already, has this album felt like a new level for you?

It has been great, and it does feel like a new level. More people are coming out to shows, and generally seem interested in what I’m doing.

You have a history of making DIY recordings but Transistor Sister was recorded at Confidence Lodge Studios, how different was the recording experience compared to your previous albums?

Actually, it was surprisingly similar.  The studio is also Diego’s home and we were tracking all over the place: stairwell, kitchen, etc…..  the session still had the home recording vibe. That said, because Diego has such good gear and is a great engineer,  it ended up sounding more hi-fi than previous home recordings.

Who would you trust to produce your next record?

I don’t think I’d ever have anyone produce a Shotgun Jimmie album.  For me, the whole point of making records is to document my growth. I’ve worked with producers on other people’s projects; I learned tonnes and really enjoyed it, but it just doesn’t make sense for me.

You have toured so much over the last few years, and now I see that you are slowing down over the next few months.  What state of mind are you in these days?

I’m on a health kick. Touring can be a pretty tough on the body, and eating pizza at 3am every night isn’t really a sustainable lifestyle. It catches up with you after a while.  I’ve been exercising daily, getting lots of rest and eating well. I’m excited by this new lease on life.  I’ve never felt better.

You have such a distinctive voice, both singing and lyrical, when did you find your voice?   

Still looking. I think of my “voice” as a work in progress.  I’ve noticed that I consistently gravitate towards tongue-in-cheek territory. I like flipping between sincerity and insincerity. It keeps people guessing.

What place does songwriting have in your day to day life?

I have a bunch of different approaches to songwriting so it ends up infiltrating my life in many ways;  from daydreaming on bike rides to setting aside time with pen and paper.

I write on the road as a means of documentation, and I also really enjoy writing at home. Ideally, my nine-to-five day job would be writing.

What do you have in the works currently?

I have a few shows this fall and then I’m going to dedicate some serious time to recording this winter—possibly small-cabin style.  I have a lot of new material, and no specific plans for it. I thought it would be nice to do some recording just to see what comes of it; for the sake of fun and experimentation, without deadlines looming.

What do you want for Christmas?

A Royer ribbon microphone.