Jay Crocker follows his own path

Between being a sought-after producer in his hometown of Calgary and playing a part in no less than three bands, Jay Crocker has his hands full. Not that he is one to complain though. His newest record Co-Stars (released last month) sees Crocker take centre stage, bringing him out from the sidelines where his production and arrangement work with critically acclaimed act Ghostkeeper has helped fortify his reputation for behind the scenes work.

Jay Crocker performs in Sackville tonight at Thunder and Lightning Ltd. Also performing is Jon McKiel.

Speaking from Calgary where he was getting set to shoot a video for the track “Brain Freeze”, the casual Crocker says that he has little to no expectations of widespread video play for the song. He is more than content shooting the video as a means of personal fulfillment and to share with his friends.

“I’m fortunate in that I have done a lot of live animation collaboration with a visual artist named Joe Kelly so even though the video shoot is very casual, it will look like a big budget video in the end,” he says.

Despite the “big” music video stations playing less and less in the way of music videos, Crocker believes the medium is still a worthwhile investment of time.

“It is more for personal fulfillment than anything else. I don’t feel it is anything that you can take all that seriously.”

Crocker says that his hometown of Calgary has a booming music scene these days and the home to talented artists including Chad Vangaalen, Women and the aforementioned Ghostkeeper. One of the most interesting parts of the scene, Crocker says, is the improvisational projects that have been gaining popularity. Like the term implies, those involved in the improv music scene have no set blueprint to follow when they take the stage together. The music and the various directions in which it heads are determined right then and there.

“The improve stuff we play can include anything from (jazz saxophonist) Ornette Coleman to noise-rock basically,” Crocker explains. “But that is in essence what is so beautiful about it; there is no pre-conceived blueprint of what direction the music will go. It can be whatever you want it to be.”

Despite Co-Stars still being a fresh release, Crocker is eyeing releasing a new record later this year although he remains so far undecided which format (digital only or a full-fledged release) that his next record will take.

“I think there is something to be said for releasing music in digital format and the more traditional format. On one hand, there is a lot of freedom in releasing music anytime you want via digital outlets.. I think that it all depends on how much of the game you want to play.

One thing is for certain though, Crocker feels no loyalty or affiliation to the “indie” music scene which some might be inclined to lump him into.

“I find that ‘indie’ music is actually not all that indie at all anymore. Instead of defining a specific type of music as it has in the past, it just seems to be another genre of music.

“Ultimately though, it doesn’t define what I do. I tend to do my own thing. People seem to enjoy it; some people don’t. It’s all good,” he laughs.