Small Talk: JORDAAN MASON

Who are you and what do you do:
My name is Jordaan and I’m a little confused about how to answer this question sometimes. I guess I’m a writer, musician, and filmmaker, mostly. I’m also a student at the University of Toronto in the Cinema Studies program and I work at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Music Gallery part-time.

Current obsessions:
I just got Netflix so I’ve been watching a lot of terrible films in the “gay and lesbian” category. I don’t know if that’s an “obsession” but it’s definitely eating up my time. Music-wise I’ve been listening to a lot of Lower Dens, Smoke, and Molly Drake.

A song or a record that will always put you in a good mood, without fail:
“Birthday” by the Sugarcubes.

An album or artist you think is really under-appreciated, and why they are deserving of more praise:
My go-to answer for this kind of question is the album “A Kali Yuga Opera” by Holy Haunted Head, which is an album my friend Simon Thrasher and his friends made back in 2004, which only recently became available online. It’s literally magic from start to finish. I am constantly in awe of it.

Most played track on your iTunes:
“Being It” by Arthur Russell.

Most cherished musical object:
My first guitar, which is currently basically just a pile of garbage in a bag to hopefully be reassembled in the future. I wrote and recorded my first four albums with it. It fell apart on tour at a certain point in time. I suppose I wasn’t very good to it all of the time but it was very good to me. I have been using another guitar for almost the same length of time since then but it still doesn’t feel quite the same.

Proudest moment:
The album release show that was held for an album me and my friends made together called “Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head.” That has stuck with me. We worked together on that album for three years basically so it was a long time coming. I was really nervous and I remember crying in the bathroom during soundcheck and freaking out that my throat was closing up and I wouldn’t be able to sing. Back then I was playing with a large group of friends called The Horse Museum which ranged in size on any given night. That night, we were fifteen strong. We all had a big group hug before we hit the stage and I felt so much love from everyone in the room and all my nervousness went away. I was really proud to be joined by such a marvelous group of people who had all put so much time and energy into helping me make that project come to life. It was an honour playing with them.

Most vulnerable moment:
Pretty much every time I get up in front of people and sing songs. Especially in the early days when I had less control over where I was playing and who I was playing with – I kind of just said yes to any show back then and sometimes that put me in situations where I didn’t feel safe at all.

If you could score a film for anyone, who would it be any why:
Some filmmakers I like a lot that are still actively making films are Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Claire Denis, Lynne Ramsay, Gregg Araki, and Tsai Ming-Liang. To be honest though I have a very difficult time thinking of my music visually. For that reason, I’ve only ever made a single music video in my 10 years of making music. I would be happy to have someone include my music in a film if they could figure out how to.

Your favourite use of a song in a film:
When “Untitled #3” by Sigur Ros plays at the end of the film “Mysterious Skin.”

Favourite venue to play in and why:
My favourite local venue is the Music Gallery, hands down. It’s the most beautiful sounding room in Toronto. The Tranzac also has a special place in my heart. As far as non-local venues go, I have fond memories of The Rugroom in New Paltz, NY (now defunct) and the Punk-A-Low in Guelph (also defunct), and recently I played a great show at a place called Ground Zero in Troy, NY.

Dream venue to play in and why:
I thought long and hard about this and I honestly can’t think of anything. I feel like I’m happy to play anywhere where people are willing to listen.

First band t-shirt you ever purchased from a merch table:
Bright Eyes. I lost that shirt to an ex-boyfriend many, many years ago.

Band you’d leave your bandmates for:
I don’t technically have full-time bandmates to leave and I’ve been very lucky to work with the folks I have worked with over the years in various incarnations of what I’ve been doing. I’d love to work with The Knife though. If only to get them back together.

Album you want to expose your kin to whilst in the womb:
“Vespertine” by Bjork.

If for some reason you lost the ability to make and play music, what would fill that gap:
I would just continue writing.

What was your last dream about:
I don’t really remember my last dream very well except that it was kind of disgusting and kind of beautiful all at once.