Jordan Klassen has the kind of voice that makes you feel. Layered with range, hope, whimsy and what’s been described as unsentimental sincerity, the Vancouver-based singer/songwriter crafts chamber folk-pop ballads that carry listeners on a journey through his emotions, good and bad. On new album Big Intruder, out September 22nd via Nevado Music, Klassen evolves past a brooding collection of pop songs into a more mature, realized style, filled with alternating vibes and moods that somehow never grow old. Check out new single, “The Same Thing Over and Over,” a lithe, contagious reflection on the joys of repetition, and read our interview below. –Maya Eslami
“‘The Same Thing Over and Over’ sums up the themes of the record quite well – pushing back against cultural sentimentality and spectacle, and embracing the joy of ordinariness and the mundane. I wanted the song to juxtapose the fun of a pop song with lyrics about routine.”
WHAT YOUTH: Your new album Big Intruder is about growing up and making adult decisions. What was that experience like for you? And how did it play into writing the album?
JORDAN KLASSEN: The experience was a tumultuous one – I really wrote the record because I began to realize how terrible I am at commitment. I started to see how this cultural narrative of individualism – which in theory repulsed me – was actually a huge factor in how I made most of my life decisions. I worship immediacy and convenience and I’m deeply suspicious of hard work. There was this huge amount of freedom I experienced when I decided to marry my now-wife, and in general just started making big decisions that would exclude many other potential avenues I could take. In a sense the record is a celebration of the joy of choosing, of big commitment.
The album was recorded and produced entirely on your own. Was that a beneficial process for you? And how was it different than past sessions?
Yeah I think that it was beneficial in that I really got to live the dream of no time constraints. Every other time I’ve recorded there’s always this sense of urgency, mostly financial, that looms over the process. This time I could experiment, redo, record a thousand takes, scrap everything or record things the wrong way without any insecurity. I think it made ‘Big Intruder’ a record that is very thorough and very earnest.
The lyrics for “The Same Thing Over and Over” celebrate satisfying repetition. Can you elaborate on that feeling?
I think that our desire for all things to be new and exciting has devolved to a point that most people, myself included, feel this nagging sense that they’re wasting their lives if they’re not constantly enthusiastic and thrilled. This is still certainly a weak spot for me, but the song is pushing back on that idea. I guess I’m arguing that a long persistence in the same direction can actually be joyous and full of life.
What was your inspiration behind the song?
It was mostly my marriage. Seeing that slowly building something is much more enriching than any kind of sensationalism. My wife and I are best friends – our dating relationship was not very sensational at all. But being with her is a deep dive into a long joy.
As a singer/songwriter, do you find it difficult writing personal, intimate songs? Is it therapeutic to reveal that side of yourself?
I don’t really find it very difficult. Sharing information about myself is not really scary for me for some reason. I think the insecurity comes when I pour myself into the work, just spend so much time making everything right, and then worry that no one will care. I think the therapy is having a documentation of that season of my life – in some ways I feel like a historian at times. A very self-focused historian.
Jordan Klassen European Tour Dates
September 23 – Hamburg, DE – Reeperbahan Festival
September 28 – Vienna, AU – Waves Vienna
September 30 – Amsterdam, NL – 7 Layers Festival
October 1 – Gothenburg, SE – Pustervik*
October 2- Stockholm, SE – Brooklyn Bar
October 3 – Oslo, NO – John Dee
October 5 – Copenhagen, DK – Ideal Bar
October 7 – Leipzig, DE – Naumann’s
October 8 – Berlin, DE – Lido
October 9 – Erlangen, DE – E-Werk
October 12 – Munich, DE – Strom
October 15 – Zurich, CH – Papiersaal
October 18 – Barcelona, ES – Antiga Fabrica Estrella Damm
October 21 – Paris, FR – Batofar
October 22 – Cologne, DE – YUCA
October 23 – Wiesbaden, DE – Schlacthof
October 24 – Munster, DE – Gleis 22
October 25 – Utrecht, NL – TivoliVredenburg
October 26 – Zwolle, NL – Hedon KZ
October 28 – Rotterdam, NL – V11
October 31 – Brighton, UK – The Hope & Ruin
November 1 – London, UK – Camden Assembly
November 2 – Bristol, UK – Louisiana
November 3 – Manchester, UK – Gullivers