Interview with Jason Corbett – ACTORS

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Honest Music That Connects With Our Shared Nostalgia

Photo: Shannon Hemmett

The band Actors have this uncanny ability to reach back into retro nostalgia, and infuse their own modern twist, to effectively connect with a deep part of your soul.

Listening to their music is like taking a DeLorean back and forward simultaneously through time.

Montreal Rocks spoke to Jason Corbett, right before rehearsals for their Live Stream which will be presented on August 6th, 2021.  Get your tickets here

Today is also the day to pre-order Acts of Worship, their new album, on BandCamp Friday.

Origin Story

Picture young Jason, playing air guitar to Photograph by Def Leppard on the family stereo.

“It was the first vinyl 45 I got my mom to buy me.” 

Jason’s mom saw the solo performance and asked him if he wanted to learn how to play the real guitar.  Thankfully, he said yes. 

Along with plenty of good music in the house, Jason was influenced by the MTV vibe.  It opened to him a whole new universe of music that was not only catchy but visually appealing.  

Jason watched the videos for Billy Idol Dancing With Myselfand David Bowie Let’s Danceas well as The Police, Prince and Madonna.  These were “artists that I felt I was discovering on my own.”

“This exposure to music, over time, I’ve come back to, as an artist, to pick sounds from, almost subconsciously.”

Early Bands

“For some reason, I was really getting into Rockabilly…that kind of vibe.  Reverend Horton Heat was around, and Social Distortion which wasn’t Rockabilly, but had that flair to it.  There was a scene here, in Vancouver that was very theatrical and embracing more flamboyant styles, like Glam and Post 80s Hair Metal.”

One of his first bands was The Saddlesores, which seemed like a really fun project.  At first, he wanted to join as a guitar player, but the other guitar player suggested he try singing.

“That’s really how I started singing in bands.”  

Tired of doing his best Elvis impersonation, and not getting to write much, Jason went on to another project:  Speed to Kill.

“I really wanted to express myself as a songwriter.  I was dipping into late 70s Rock.  I was really big into Cheap Trick at the time.”

He continued his musical journey with TV Heart Attack among many others.

Jason kept growing as a musician “towards where I wanted to be from the beginning.  Sometimes, that’s a journey and it take a long time to get to know yourself.”

Complementary Skills

The experience Jason had in the restaurant business, as a manager and server, interfacing with patrons, “absolutely” helped him with the human side of the music business.

“Before or after shows, I feel like I can hang with anybody.”  

Jason is known for being at the merch booth to meet the fans.  

“That is what I enjoy about music:  Connecting and talking with people.” 

It’s not about ego or being put on a pedestal, but he’s truly interested in connecting with those that know where he’s coming from with the music.

There is a Facebook Group dedicated to Actors called The Academy, with over 1,300 members, led by Kym Pop that has a strong following.  

NOTE:  A special extra video mini-interview will be posted ONLY for The Academy members.

Even members of the band are in there and regularly comment.  That is the kind of connection that is priceless.  

Actors

Jason’s journey led him to his current project Actors where he seems to have found his true voice.

The name of the band was chosen, in part, because of the way we are expected to act in society.  

“We are all acting in some way, putting our best face forward.  As an artist, musician, band…you have to connect with some sort of honesty with yourself.”

Don’t try too hard to interpret the name, they haven’t.   But one thing is for sure.  “It doesn’t mean we will be in showbusiness as actors or anything like that.”

The Writing Process

David Lynch, a director Jason respects, once said:

“I think that ideas exist outside of ourselves.  I think somewhere, we’re all connected off in some very abstract land.  But somewhere between there and here ideas exist.”  – David Lynch

Jason is a producer at Jackknife Sound Studio and helps craft the perfect sound with many artists.  He can also mentor them into being true to themselves.

“It’s been a long journey.  If you can tap into what your true feelings are…the songs, the music, the creativity, and if you are not hampering that connection to those vibes and that connection to the universe…it comes in a real natural way.  If the music has that type of honesty, I believe that is what the people tap into.”

Like trying to catch a butterfly, Jason was chasing after it, “trying to do something to make a certain demographic happy or trying to get on the radio.”  

Problem is that the elusive butterfly moves farther away.

There is a certain energy that comes with being confident in doing something purely for the love of it.  When you stop trying to please others and do what is natural, it brings a certain stillness that attracts the butterfly.

Jason will play by the rules and work on the craft of a song, but it’s the “sparks of inspiration” that allow the streams of consciousness to open its floodgates.  

“When you are lucky, when your mind is still enough, these things come to you.”

Jason finds stillness in Transcendental Meditation, just like David Lynch.  

At first, Jason was trepidatious because of his bad anxiety.  He feared that he would become “peace, love, hippie and would not be able to write from this dark place.”

He then reflected on how David’s movies are dark, and he’s been doing it for quite some time.

Jason once said: “We need to celebrate in the darkness, or it will devour us.”  

Jason went on to explain that if you are afraid of clowns, but you spend enough time around them, you won’t be afraid of them anymore.

“Once something is exposed, it’s not scary anymore and you can deal with it more rationally.  Sometimes, you can escape vicariously through a song or with music and explore these darker thoughts and realize: Oh!  I’m not the only one feeling like that.  It makes it less scary.  

The world is a scary place with uncertain times.  Right now, it’s been chaotic to say the least.  

We can choose to be scared and recoil, or we can choose to reach out, connect and revel in these times and enjoy our friendships.”

Being Sober

“A filmmaker doesn’t have to suffer to show suffering.  You just have to understand it.  You don’t have to die to shoot a death scene.” – David Lynch

There is an old myth that you need liquid inspiration to be creative.  

The decision to become sober “buys you time and clarity.  I wish I would have stopped drinking earlier.”

It wasn’t because Jason was a non-functioning drunkard. 

“Everyone’s rock bottom looks different.  If I went out to drink, I would be so hungover that emotionally and mentally, the nervous system just felt destroyed. I didn’t have the luxury of three lifetimes to try to realize my goals and dreams.”

Being sober brought positivity and a watershed of productivity.  

“It feels like I have a whole extra week within the week because I’m not out partying.

Some people have this romantic notion that they will throw caution to the wind, quit their jobs and become a fulltime musician.  That’s in the movies.  You have to be smart.”

Jason’s mantra is “multiple revenue streams and baby steps.”  

When he’s not working with Actors, he’s working his @ss off in the studio.  That work ethic allows him the opportunity to keep on creating, not only with Actors but also in Leathers, a project with Shannon Hemmett.

Band History

Their first Instagram Post is from the Fox Cabaret on October 20th, 2014.  The band roster has changed since then.

Adam Fink has been there from its inception.  

“When Shannon joined the band, everything started to flow with the music.  I realized that there is a strong feminine component to the music that I write.”

Having two women in the band perfectly calibrates the dynamics to match the music.

Batman Underwear

Jason will wear a pair of Batman underwear, rescued from a random Walmart in the US, when he’s ready to write a hit song.

“I save them for occasions when I want to feel very special.”

Fantasy Rock Band

When asked to create his own fantasy rock band, Jason chose:

Singer:  David Bowie “for sure.”

Guitar:  Adrien Below or Robert Fripp (both from King Crimson)

Synths:  Brian Eno

Drums:  Linn drum machine

Interesting mix, with improvisational members led by the enigmatic frontman.

Tour

Jason’s touring took him to some interesting places, such as one place that had a resident goat wearing pyjamas.  

Photo: Kym Pop

You don’t want to miss seeing the high-energy show of Actors on September 22nd, 2021:  Bar Le Ritz.

Get Your Tickets Today!

Conclusion

It’s been a long journey for Jason Corbett.  He’s shed himself of the need to please others, and by staying true to his own path, the number of those joining him on the adventure increases daily.  

Jason is generous with his time and is able to make deep connections with those around him.  

Pre-order the new album and in the meantime, get the 4th pressing on clear vinyl of It Will Come To You.  I know it will wear out due to repeated listening.


Connect with the band:

Website
Bandcamp
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
Twitter


Writer: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube. His Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their day jobs with out-of-the-box advice from Ted Talk Speakers, Best Selling Authors and other interesting Entrepreneurs and Creatives. He created the Rock Star Today MasterMind Experience for musicians. Randal also is a collector of signed vinyl.

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