Jane’s Party, Toronto-based pop-rock quartet, chatted with [Space Is] to give some insight on band life and its relationship to entertainment-based events around the city. Zach Sutton, manager and drummer of Jane’s Party, shed some light on how the group goes about selecting which venues to work with, tour highlights, and playing in the Toronto music scene.
We were curious to know which venues Jane’s Party decides to work with. Given the scope of Toronto, there are many spaces to choose from. “It depends on what kind of show we’re doing. When we’re touring, we are looking to fill spaces, a good space that has a sound system, lighting, and promoter to work with. The same goes for Toronto - however, it’s different here because we know people, we play shows with friends. As for Toronto shows, it depends on what we’re up to. For example, we did a release show at Horseshoe Tavern which went really well. Normally, we like playing more cover-based material at the Cameron House.”
Can you give us some insight on the Toronto music scene?
“In general, I think a lot has to do with how you promote it. There are a lot of people in Toronto that want to see live music, but they want to experience something that brings them out of their work lives. The reception is always good, but it’s also what you put into it. Having a good plan, and an engaging night for fans, such as playing covers, bringing in special guests, and stuff that makes it more than just going to see a band and going home. Something that makes people talk the next day, something totally out of the ordinary for them. You have to have a strategy to performing. Think about how you make it an event, and if you do that - the reception is good. People have high expectations. People are spending their money, and their night out, and it’s not something they necessarily want to do - so its being engaging and respectful of your fans time and money.”
What is your process for planning shows and events?
“The big thing is not overextending yourself. Giving each event the time and respect it deserves. For JP - its live music, a four-piece rock & roll band. It acts as a launching point for things that could be more interesting, like having special guests coming up to sing songs. For us, every time we play a show, we think - here’s the venue, situation, length of set, so what can we do to captivate people? We know we need to learn cool and relevant covers, so let’s get someone up on stage. At Horseshoe Tavern, we played Christmas songs - we researched what songs would be cool if we did them. It’s something we can feel comfortable with by putting a unique spin on it.”
Is there a specific event that the band enjoyed or that marked the band in a special way?
“The Tom Odell tour in Europe last year was a brand new experience on so many levels. Any opportunities to play on bigger stages and in places where we don’t normally play are usually the most fun and engaging in different ways - like if we have something like a festival, or something different to shake things up a bit. There’s a show my grandmother was able to come to at Hugh’s Room - age 94/95 at the time. It’s about having the right people there - and seeing friendly faces in crowds.”
Describe your ideal or favourite event space. Have you found it? What are some features of different spaces that you enjoyed?
“Somewhere that sounds good, looks good, and people are there. Pretty much my only requirement is if people show up, there’s good music, and good lighting, people will have a good time. This might be sort of weird, but I’ve never gone looking for it. I’ve had good nights and bad nights at the places that I love. It’s always been a combination of right venue and right crowd.
In terms of places that I really enjoy, they’re places that have been around for a long time. Places that have a sense of nostalgia - Massey Hall, Elysee Montmartre in Paris (old theatre). Old is cool - stuff that has stuck around for 100 years or something - where there’s a history built in. For ex the Canadian Opera Company is new but it has that sense of nostalgia, it has so much class built into it. It might be an old soul thing - I live in a 130 year old loft space, in an old general electric factory. Maybe I’m sort of drawn to that, it’s tough not to be I think. But again, I go looking for the perfect combination of things. You can play in someone’s basement but if the right crowd is there - it’s stellar. And if you play in the most beautiful place in the world and there’s no one there… there’s some key ingredients that need to be there for the audience and the performers.”
For more on Jane’s Party: