Jon Janes (The Mountains and the Trees) answers our Grayowl Questionnaire!

1) Where’d you get your name?

Well, even though The Mountains & The Trees is, essentially, just me [Jon], I often have different people join me for certain shows, tours, etc.  So, rather than say “Jon Janes featuring etc, etc,” I decided upon the name The Mountains & The Trees as an all-encompassing sorta thing, like Iron & Wine or City & Colour.

2) When did you start making music seriously?

“When did you start making music?  Seriously?” or “When did you start making music seriously?”  8P  Okay, honestly, I’ve been making music most of my life.  I used to play drums in various bands throughout high school, but The Mountains & The Trees is actually celebrating the 4-year mark this August – the 18th actually (3 days after my own birthday).  So, I guess I could mark that as the moment I started making music “seriously.”

3) What are you listening to right now?

Hmmmm, well, I got this amazing EP from Zachary Lucky, out of Saskatoon.  It’s called “In the fields, in the hills.”  He just came out with a full-length which I’m looking forward to getting my hands on.  Because I’m on tour, I also have a good selection of road music with me – Dan Mangan, Iron & Wine, Timber Timbre…  my passenger seat floor is covered with CDs.  Also, CBC and talk radio make good road trip companions.

4) What are some of your musical guilty pleasures?

Oh my…   I always find this question the hardest, because you really shouldn’t feel guilty about liking any music.  If you like it, you like it.  Hmmmm…..  I’m not quite sure if it counts, but I do own a Slipknot concert DVD.  I don’t watch it, but I got it back when I was really into drums because the drummer does a drum solo while the platform he’s on rises, flips 90 degrees, and starts spinning around.  What can I say – I’m a sucker for a show.

5) Describe your music in one sentence.

Short = Indie folk-pop, Iron & Wine-esque.

Little longer = Sounds like a log cabin deep in the woods, with a lake out back filled to the brim with horns, strings, and other odd instruments, enough time to learn them all, and a 4-track to record the resulting sounds.

6) Where do you see yourself in six months?

Hopefully, still writing, recording, and touring.  It’ll be winter, so maybe I’ll spend some time trying to learn a new instrument.  Winter is good for that.  I do a lot of writing when it’s cold out.

7) What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Still, I have to say, opening for Billy Bragg in St. John’s and Halifax.  Those were amazing, amazing shows, and I’ll never forget how kind Billy and his crew were.  That being said, I also never thought I’d make it back to the UK after I studied there in 2006.  i gave away my power converters to friends, thinking I’d never need them again.  Oops!  So, the fact that I’m able to travel and work as a musician is also a pretty big career highlight!

8) What is the most unusual compliment/insult you’ve recieved as a musician?

“Your music sounds like a warm hug feels.”  Best!!!

9) If you could go on tour with any band, disbanded or together, who would you tour with?

Funny enough, although I’ve not met him yet, I will be going on tour with one of my favorite Canadian singer-songwriters – Dan Mangan, this fall, Ger/Aus/Swi!  So, that will be (I imagine) amazing!  I rarely think in terms of touring with other bands.  I mostly think about shows.  So, for example, if I could play just one show with Hayden, I would be soooo happy.  Iron & Wine too!

10) If you could be on the soundtrack for any TV show or movie, which one would you choose?

Point Break 2: Breaking Point.

11) What do you do for fun?

I play music!  I have a feeling you might be curious about what *else* I do for fun though, so let’s see…  Well, I did a photography degree in school and I still practice all the time.  i won’t accept paid photo jobs (IE – Weddings or anything like that) because if music and photography are my passions, and music has become a living, then photo has to remain a hobby to keep things balanced.  At least that’s how I view it.  I also end-up reading a lot, mostly short, humorous books or some graphic novels, like Y: The Last Man, or The Walking Dead (FYI – anything involving zombies is pretty alright with me).

12) If you weren’t doing music what would you do?

Well, I guess I would do photography?  I end that with a question mark because, honestly, it’s hard to picture doing anything other than music right now.  Why would I want to?  I know nothing lasts forever, so I’m happy to enjoy this precious time I’m able to play music for a living while I have it.

13) What do you think will be a major trend in the near future?

Home-made instruments on stage.  I keep coming across people who find unique ways to play household items as instruments – it’s only a matter of time before this translates from recording to stage all over the place.  Also, treating shows like they’re a performance.  It doesn’t take much to throw down a rug on stage, maybe bring some home lighting elements, etc.  I always know when I come home from a show where just a little extra went into stage design, I remember it for sure.

14) What current trend do you think needs to stop?

You know those guitars that are, like, DOUBLE guitars?  Seriously though, the camera ban at certain concerts.  What is with that?  I don’t even know where to being.  With almost every phone in existence having a semi-decent camera in them, why even try to ban traditional cameras?  I mean, I know for bigger artist, there may be worry about somebody making money off your image, but…  is it really that big of a concern?  Just let the cameras in!

15) What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this survey?

E-mailing, booking shows, working…  or daydreaming.

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