By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Over the last 25 years, Jon Eckert has made a name for himself within several bands as a guitarist in several Toronto-based bands.
On Jan. 11, 2020, Eckert released a new album, ‘One Stop East,’ which marked a return to songwriting with a new focus and a fresh, alt-country feel to his work.
During Winter/Spring 2020, inspired by isolation from COVID-19 lockdowns, he wrote all except one song for ‘Solitaire,’ which was originally intended to be an acoustic EP. That changed drastically as he adopted a “band” sound, but without the need for a drummer or to rely on electronic drums.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Eckert about his new music and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Toronto to someone who has never been there before?
Jon Eckert – It’s a nice city. Lots of neighborhoods, lots of interesting pockets. There’s a vibrant creative community here. It has its own problems obviously, but overall very cool.
Music Bugle – What was the hardest song for you to write?
Jon Eckert – I’d say that “Rewind” from my album ‘One Stop East’ was a tough song. It grew out of the death of a close friend. It was hard to capture the exact mood I was looking for. It could be better still, which I hope to find through live performance, eventually. Wink, wink.
Music Bugle – What were some struggles you encountered while putting together ‘One Stop East’?
Jon Eckert – ‘One Stop East’ was a true DIY project. I was learning about recording as I was trying to execute the songs. Apart from drums, I performed all the music on the album and was literally figuring out as I went. So much fun though.
Music Bugle – Being involved in the music business for so long, what has been your biggest memory so far?
Jon Eckert – It’s been the live shows that have always captivated me. Playing in cool environments such as a barn, a stage by a lake, watching the sun set when you’re deep in a jam. I’ve always been a sucker for the sensory aspect of music.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Jon Eckert – It’s hard not to have live performances to work towards. However, there has been very fertile ground in terms of recording and creation. I have become increasingly interested in sonic textures and soundscapes, which I’m excited to incorporate in future projects. There is definitely a “sound” to isolation, which can be surprisingly sweet and reflective with a bit of a dark undertone.
Music Bugle – Who are some of your musical influences?
Jon Eckert – There are so many. I’ve always loved the blues and 70’s rock bands, but also really enjoy electronic and ambient music. Every genre has its gems.
Music Bugle – What do you feel is left for you to still accomplish?
Jon Eckert – A whole lot. In many ways, I feel like I’m just getting started.
Music Bugle – What’s something people should know about you as a person, away from music?
Jon Eckert – I talk too much and really like cookies.
Music Bugle – What frustrates you the most about today’s music industry?
Jon Eckert – I think it’s a really exciting time to be making music. We can do so much at home and with fairly limited resources. The only frustration is distribution and trying to get the music to people’s ears.
Music Bugle – What was the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make in regards to your music?
Jon Eckert – Deciding not to peruse music as a primary living. Realizing that I was just playing to make the music sound good and have fun. There was likely not going to be much in the way of recognition or fame, so I really need to let the joy of creation drive me. An important truth that took a while to figure out.