Published on August 21st, 2019 | by Guest Editor


JindaLee shares major genre shift with new album ‘Vela’

JindaLee grew up in rural Alberta, Canada.  She moved to Montreal to take a degree in Creative Writing which led her into songwriting and music. She lived in Germany and Japan before eventually moving to Toronto. JindaLee has released three full length albums with a band involving members from Weaves, Bernice, Diana, and Queer Songbook Orchestra to name a few. Her new album, Vela, is a major genre shift into electronic.

More from JindaLee on the album: “The songs on Vela are about experiencing nature through all the senses.  It is about the beauty and sensuality of the world. They are summer-y, warm, watery and vibey.   If these songs were a colour I feel like they would be a bright turquoise sea. I wanted to capture the feeling of floating on the surface of water, of being in both air and water at the same moment.  Landscapes inspired the lyrics in many of the songs, the Mediterranean in particular, where I have been lucky enough to visit often in recent years. They are about different experiences with the sensual world.  I wanted to write an album about the human experience in nature and the feeling of letting that surround you, whatever kind of environment it is.” 

Listen to ‘Vela’ in full below and read the interview with JindaLee now!

What makes ‘Vela‘ different from your past work?  

Vela is the most dramatic step away from the way I have made music in the past.   For my past three albums I wrote the songs and melodies before taking them to my band to explore different ideas with accompaniment.  We then recorded using acoustic or electric instruments in a pretty traditional band set up.  With Vela I wrote some of the songs on the computer in Abelton, experimenting with different equipment and software plugins. Other songs I wrote on guitar and piano before recreating them into electronic songs, on either a midi keyboard or creating samples to make synth sounds and beats.  I recorded my vocals in a make-shift vocal booth in an attic.  I mixed mostly at home with some sessions at higher-end studios around Toronto.

For Vela I spent a year and a half writing, recording, producing and mixing the album, often not in that order.  There was a pretty big learning curve since everything was new to me.  I spent so much time on each individual track till I was happy with the results.  The process was slow but it was so rewarding to learn new things each day and stretch my abilities in ways I didn’t know I could.

Can you describe the concept behind the making of the video? 

We wanted to create a video that gives the viewer the feeling that they are watching the world from underwater, while floating just beneath the surface.  We wanted to recreate the sensation of being in both air and water at the same time.  We recorded the video in one slow, summer-y afternoon on the Toronto Island.

Vela is about the human experience in nature and the feeling of letting that surround you, whatever kind of environment it is.  We wanted the video to do the same!

How would you describe your artistic evolution throughout your career?

When I started making music I had so many lyric and melody ideas, I needed an instrument to play them with.  So I taught myself guitar and piano to begin creating.  I played solo off and on for many years.  But I have also had the opportunity to work with some fantastic musicians in my life.  When I recorded and performed my music with a band, I learned so much about the process of making music sound the way I wanted it to but also letting sounds flow the way they are supposed to.  I am grateful for all of my experience with so many talented musicians over the years, this contributed to my learning process massively.

When I began writing Vela I could feel myself moving in the direction I had been longing to go for a long time.  As a huge electronic music fan, I had always thought I would one day try to make it, but was often intimidated coming from such a different genre and instrumentation.  At first I began writing electronic tracks with no vocals but I wanted to merge my musical past with what I was creating, so I started writing lyrics and recording vocals.  The combination came so naturally.

What’s been the biggest change in your life over the past year?

I moved to Berlin this summer so that’s been a pretty huge change.  I was living in Toronto for nearly eight years.  I have wanted to live to Berlin for a long time and the right moment came, so I took the opportunity for adventure and change.  Musically, Berlin is an inspiring place to be.  I’m excited to immerse myself creatively in a city driven so deeply by electronic music.

What song by another artist do you wish you had written? 

Maybe I would say Idioteque by Radiohead.  I saw them perform it live last year and they morphed it into a techno track by the end of the 12 minute performance.  I’m inspired at how they’ve consistently transformed their own music that way.

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