Cat Jahnke Interview
Talking about the heart of the new album.
For those who are fans of the independent, instrumental side of music, the sounds of Cat Jahnke are certainly not to be ignored. From hit tunes like “Apple”, wonderous covers like “Wheat Kings”, and absolute fan favorites like “Sweetie Pie”, Cat Jahnke certainly puts her heart and soul into her songs. Born of Winnipeg, Manitoba, this Canadian musician had a lot to say about her new album and just how much more then heart and soul she put into it. You can find the interview just below:
First question I have for you here is, how does it feel to release your new album, The Boy, The Girl, the Wolf?
It’s incredible, it’s been a long time since the last one came out. My last album that I released was in 2010. Since then I’ve kind of been lending my songwriting skills to other projects, I’ve been collaborating with lots of different artists in different mediums, I’ve been collaborating with authors, with costume designers, filmmakers, and putting songs in commercials and stuff like that. And it’s been really fun, it’s been a super great adventure and I was on Canada’s Smartest Person, that was a CBC show. So, it kind of feels good to just be back in my own headspace, with my own creativity, on my own projects. I had fun doing all those other things, but I’m really glad to be back focused on this.
I’m assuming you’re really happy with the finished project?
Well, to me this album is the first time that I took the reins on everything myself. So, this is the first album where I didn’t collaborate with the band. I wrote everything, I arranged everything, I played all the instruments, I sequenced all the digital instruments. I feel proud to say that this is an album that came out of my brain, and really tells my stories that I’m finding are personal to me. But also, as I’ve been sharing them across Canada, the stories I’ve heard back from people who relate to the music, I’m realizing that these are really personal and universal at the same time. I’m really glad to be able to spark a conversation. This album really focuses a lot on mental health, mental wellness, and giving a voice and trying to bring into the light something that could be really easy to leave in shadows. It’s easy to pretend that everything is okay, and it’s hard sometimes to admit that things aren’t okay.
What made you want to focus on mental health for your album this time around?
I think that for me it’s always been something that’s been a part of my life, depression has been something that has inspired me, but also kept me from being able to take advantage of that inspiration. It’s given me a product to promote, but it’s made it difficult to promote that product. I really enjoy performing, but touring can be really difficult as someone who more so gravitates towards being a hermit. So, for me I think it was finally time to take ownership of it, and I know that as I’ve been talking about it more and I’ve been hearing other people’s stories, I’m realizing that it’s something that a lot of people need to talk about as well. Whether it’s someone struggling themselves or whether maybe it’s someone who has a friend or a loved one who is struggling, and they don’t quite understand what’s going on. I’m hoping to just be able to reach across that chasm a little bit and say either; “I’m here with you” or “Here’s a glimpse into what your loved one might be struggling with”.
Well I just have to say that I think it’s really inspiring what you’re doing, and even if people don’t get it right away, it’s still an important message that needs to be said.
And I’ve heard that too. It’s funny that you say that, cause’ I did a show in Revelstoke in my pre-release with a choir. And this gentleman came up to me after and said, “I didn’t know what you were doing at first, and then when you played this one song that really reinstated with me, then I understood what you were saying,” and then he shared with me his struggles. So, I have to keep reminding myself that, you know, sometimes your looking out into an audience and if I’m not wearing my glasses, I can’t really see their faces, and so I don’t know if they’re with me on this journey. Then when I get that encouragement afterwards and that vulnerability afterwards, and it’s that boost I need to just keep going.
So, with these questions being asked, what does the future hold for you?
Touring now, I’m really excited about music videos for this album and trying to add some visuals to the words that are coming out, and also hoping to collaborate with some creators to, again, bring the music into other mediums. We’re doing a show in Thunder Bay with a group of painters, which I’m super excited about. I’m working with an author in Australia who has written stuff in the past after listening to my music. So, I’m really hoping to spread this out as far as I can, and to collaborate after the fact to see how I can reach other people. And then, how knows. I’m excited about it though.