Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Jon Stancer

Photo courtesy of Jon Stancer.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

With the Fall season already underway, that means we only draw closer to 2022, which is when Toronto singer-songwriter and musician Jon Stancer is expected to put out his new EP ‘In Light Of.’

Not long ago, the pop pianist released the video for his single “This Cannot Wait (Until Tomorrow),” co-produced by Dan Kurtz (Dragonette), where he declared a determined stance on the topic of climate change and pleads for environment protection.

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with Stancer about what he’s been up to lately and more.

Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to become a musician?

Jon Stancer – As a young boy, witnessing the worldwide reaction to John Lennon’s murder was a pivotal experience for me. I didn’t really know who he was. The grief and the shock… grown people crying in the streets and his music playing over all of these scenes. Plus, the weeks and weeks of media coverage… it triggered an incessant devouring of everything Beatles, which led me to just about everything else, including the guitar, the piano and songwriting. I don’t know that I necessarily “wanted” to be a musician at that time, but it’s when I began to discover and immerse myself in music and to explore and cultivate whatever talent I had for it. 

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about where you come from?

Jon Stancer – Her intellect. 

Music Bugle – What was your goal for your latest single “This Cannot Wait (Until Tomorrow)”?

Jon Stancer – The same as with any other, I suppose, that it gets heard and that those who hear it, enjoy it. It’s a tough thing, putting your art out into the world. Just getting something widely heard or seen among everything else that’s out there, is a pretty lofty ambition in itself. That’s always the primary objective, though. You want it to reach and then move people, somehow.

Music Bugle – Did the video for “This Cannot Wait (Until Tomorrow)” come out how you hoped?

Jon Stancer – It did, yes. I had a pretty clear vision for what I thought it should be. I had a lot of ideas for the imagery… I knew it would have picturesque and serene, as well as horrific moments in it. It turned out as I intended.

Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?

Jon Stancer – The unfinished ones.

Music Bugle – What’s something about climate change that you think the general public isn’t aware of?

Jon Stancer – I’m not sure, to be honest. I suppose that if most people were aware that the impacts of climate change could be irreversible inside of 10 years, that we’d have a great many more running around screaming, “What the f**k are we going to do!?” So, maybe that’s one.

Music Bugle – How would you describe your upcoming music?

Jon Stancer – The songs were written during the pandemic, so helplessness, confusion and heartache are palpable, but if that doesn’t get you pumped for it, there’s lots to chew on, I think, both musically – in the arrangements and instrumentation – and lyrically, from song to song. It’s a very musical record, with melodies and choruses and hooks and it’s a very sincere record. It’s a reflection of some of my thoughts, feelings, observations and obsessions over the last couple of years, set to some catchy tunes.

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?

Jon Stancer – I think it depends on the musician. I personally see it as both a blessing and a curse. That you can get your music and whatever other thoughts and ideas out to people anywhere in the world and in real time and that you can interact with them and so on, is absolutely wonderful, but I also think there’s a very unhealthy culture surrounding social media, where “likes” and “follows” are seemingly as integral as, or possibly, even more critical than one’s aptitude at their craft. Ultimately, it’s a fantastic distraction, but I’d much prefer to spend the time on music.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Jon Stancer – I think I’ve been most affected by how it’s affected certain others. I have two kids, both at transitional moments in their lives. It’s been very tough to watch and also to navigate at times and I’ve personally run the gamut of emotions throughout, as have many people that I love. I also know a couple of people who took their own lives in the last year. I don’t believe the pandemic was necessarily an impetus for either of them to do that, but I’m sure it didn’t help. One of the songs on the record is about being on a collision course with mental illness. I feel like there was a lot of this going on for a lot of people during the pandemic. I think it probably has brought a lot of shit to a head for a lot of people.

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?

Jon Stancer – I can give you two, both from Tom Waits… One goes, “My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket.” The other is, “I’m just trying to make a buck like everyone else.”

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