If there was a movie made of the past six months of my life the Vancouver based band Actors would most definitely be on the soundtrack. Actually to be honest, Actors would have a big chunk of the soundtrack and front man Jason Corbett could possibly compose the score. The reason behind this (I think) is not only because the music is really good (I’ve been playing it on repeat) but that of late I’ve been going backwards, discovering and rediscovering music of the past that really speaks to me. So it’s rare that I’m drawn to a band that is around today as only a handful of bands tend that get my blood flowing and make my heart swell. Actors songs fill me with giddy excitement and overwhelm me with need to dance while others soothe and are soft like being bathed in blood red crushed velvet…
Recently I was given the opportunity to interview Jason, I was curious to know such things as influences, the future of the band and most importantly if Jason was a character in a John Hughes movie which one would he be.
Describe the sound of Actors?
Actors music sounds like a cross between a John Hughes and a John Carpenter soundtrack… with visuals by David Lynch.
How does Actors differ from other your other music projects. ie. TV Heart Attack?
I spent a lot of time trying to please other people. Whether that was my band mates or record labels or radio etc. I didn’t even fully realize I was doing it. Then I just said fuck this and changed gears. With the encouragement of some key people in my life I started producing and mixing. All of a sudden there were no boundaries and music became fun again.
Biggest musician influences growing up?
David Bowie would be the biggest influence. He has such an artistically varied output of amazing music. Ziggy Stardust, Low, Lets Dance etc etc… just fantastic! There were also singles that just stuck with me and continue to inspire. Songs like Love Will Tear Us Apart, I Melt With You, Cars, Never Let Me Down Again, and on and on.
There was also the “metal years”! And somehow David Lynch seems to seep in to my themes when writing.
Is there a band out there that you think would be a good success model? A comfortable level of success for you? What band would that be?
Maybe Portishead. It seems they do what they want at their own pace. That’s appealing to me.
Future of Actors? Where would you like to see the band in five years?
Making music. Sharing music. Sharing experiences. And licensing our back catalog to make millions!!!
Favourite Vancouver bands?
Sunshine, Louise Burns, Phoenix Thunderbird, Girlfriends and Boyfriends, Owl Skowl, Jody Glenham, Sex With Strangers, Ultrviolence(Calgary), The New Values, Gang Signs, Gold & Youth, Blank Cinema, Fake Shark Real Zombie, and pretty much any band that Adam Fink plays in.
Where would you like to tour where you haven’t yet?
Favourite 80s movie? And why?
Blue Velvet. It’s beautiful. Watching this movie as a child I thought it was a realistic portrayal of what I had to look forward to as an adult.
Favourite John Hughes movie? And which John Hughes movie character could you most identify with? Or are you a mix of a few?
I think I would have to go with The Breakfast Club. I watched it in grade seven and ran out and bought the soundtrack. I pretty much figured I was John Bender. Can’t you tell from my haircut?
Are your lyrics mostly personal or story telling? ex. Post Traumatic Love.
There’s always elements of the personal but I’ll deviate for a good rhyme. And yes, PTL is personal.
I read that a visit to Berlin influenced the writing of some of your songs, what is it about that city that inspired yourself and so many other artists?
David Bowie and Hansa Studios. It was the pilgrimage. Kind of like going to Graceland.
I love your re-mixes of bands Sunshine, The Belle Game, and Gold and Youth, what makes a song worthy of a remix? what is the process you go through in creating one of your re-mixes? And what’s songs would you love to remix that you haven’t already?
I have to like the band first. Then I listen for elements in a song that jump out at me and get the creative juices flowing. I’ll build around that and a beat. There’s certain instrumentation I seem to gravitate towards that give my remixes a common thread. I’m currently working on a remix from Peter Ricq’s new Ladyfrnd EP (that I also mixed). Off the top of my head I would love to remix something from The Horrors.
You’re also a producer and have worked with some great artists, can you name some the artists you have worked with and why you chose to work with them.
I just finished working with Jody Glenham on some amazing songs she will be releasing in the new year. I heard her demos and had to get involved. I also recently produced an EP with a band from Calgary called Ultrviolence that I’m really excited about. Very post-punk dark. Baritone vocals. Moody. I’m currently working with Phoenix Thunderbird, Latenite Automatic, Art Decco, as well as more ACTORS material. There’s also plans to start pre-production with a couple of bands that I’ll keep secret for now…