Breakups, tawdry affairs and yearnings of the flesh have long been the fodder of artistic musing, from the thinly-veiled teenage lover in Picasso’s paintings to the songs born of Taylor Swift’s heartbreak.
And yet, it isn’t very often two people in a band breakup then take to the road to rehash the relationship in song as Jasper Sloan Yip and Stephanie Chatman have done.
“I think Stephanie and I are in a good place,” said Yip, in a telephone interview from the road this week. “I sent her all the songs before we recorded and it almost provided a lot of closure for us. It’s all just kind of on the table, you know?”
Chatman is the violinist in Yip’s band and the subject of much discussion in Foxtrot, the Vancouver artist’s sophomore release.
A Top 20 finalist from the 2011 Peak Performance Project, Yip and his band have become a successful Canadian touring act with a complex flavour born out of an honest desire to continue experimenting and pushing boundaries.
Thankfully for Kelowna residents, the Streaming Café, where his current tour will conclude next Saturday, Aug. 31, is one of his favourite stops in the country.
“I prefer listening rooms to vibes in clubs when we’re not in our hometown,” he said.
Trying to stage the type of messages contained in some of these songs wouldn’t be easy above the raucous of a heavily populated bar, sentimental and frankly angst-riddled as many of the lyrics sound. And the relationship is really just the surface of the music in a body of work which clearly operates as a metaphor for an even deeper relationship between the artist and his vocation, spelled out in the following simile.
“You love her like you love our work: she makes you happy when she doesn’t make you hurt,” he sings in a line from the opening song on Foxtrot It Must Be True.
This is an album of themes and recurring messages that feels like one does when trying to work through a relationship in turmoil. Interestingly, Yip sounded as though the tour, and being out on the road rehashing this mishmash of thoughts, was exactly where he wanted to be when the Capital News caught up with him outside of Ottawa.
“It’s fragments of this big picture that got smashed and then was framed together in this album,” he explained.
The relationship ended a month before recording.
The tour to celebrate the July 16th release then took them to the Edge of the World, a music festival in Haida Gwaii, and to several Ontario stops, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Calgary.
Jasper Sloan Yip plays the Streaming Café on Saturday, Aug. 31 with Skye Wallace. Show starts at 7 p.m.