Five Questions With… Jon Stancer
The Toronto pop-rocker is so fed up with the daily barrage of lies emanating from south of the border that he has released a pull-no-punches single and video entitled “Not Far From The Truth.” He explains his motivation and his plans for 2019 here.
By Jason Schneider
Jon Stancer is mad as hell, and he's not taking it anymore. Like many of us, the Toronto singer/songwriter has become fed up with the daily barrage of lies emanating from south of the border to the point that he's chosen to fight back in the best way he knows how—with a pull-no-punches single and video entitled “Not Far From The Truth.”
Although Stancer wanted “Not Far From The Truth” to reflect the sinister atmosphere fostered by the Trump administration, his overall intention was to write a hopeful song to inspire people to continue demanding the truth from politicians and to support the media who report on them.
Musically, “Not Far From The Truth” still bears all of the hallmarks of Stancer's finely crafted pop-rock sound, which made his previous album For The Birds one of the standout Canadian independent releases of 2017. Stancer's last single from For The Birds, “Now That Summer Is Gone,” reached the #1 spot on the L.A.-based New Music Weekly Indie chart and the top 10 on its Hot 100, alongside Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and Ariana Grande. The feat cemented his reputation as an artist with immense melodic gifts, honed over the years as a vocalist and guitarist within Toronto’s alternative music scene.
“Not Far From The Truth” may be his most overtly political statement to date, but as with all of Stancer’s work, there is much more than simply the message that makes it memorable. You can get “Not Far From The Truth” from Bandcamp and find out more at jonstancer.com
“Not Far From The Truth” is certainly timely. What was the process of writing and recording it?
With all that’s been going on the last couple of years, I wanted to write something that is supportive of the press, which I feel has been unfairly vilified, and also serves as a rebuke of Trump who I detest. I wrote and demoed the song at home during the summer and then took it into the studio. We recorded it over a handful of sessions and then waited for what felt like the right time to put it out.
What do you hope to achieve with this song and video?
Mass notoriety of course—but I really don’t know. As with anything you put out into the public, you hope it’s well received and enjoyed or talked about. If it strikes a nerve for some or even pisses some others off, I’m fine with that too. Any reaction is a good reaction with something like this.
Is this the first time you've tackled politics with your music?
Maybe not the first but probably the most overt I’ve been with it. I’m not heavily political in that I’m not necessarily talking or thinking about politics any more than the average person. The situation we have now though is not an average one.
Are you concerned that things you talk about in the song are starting to be seen in Canadian politics?
Corruption and deceit in government is nothing new of course. There’s a lot of nefarious shit happening all over. I think it’s on a smaller scale in Canada relative to the U.S. and some other places. My general concern is that it all just feels more prevalent than ever before and so politicians seem more disingenuous than ever before. I’m not a big cynic, but I do have a tough time believing many of the people in politics are in it solely for the greater good. I’d much prefer to be able to trust everyone in that realm fully.
What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
I plan to release some more music in 2019, and I may do some live playing as well. I’ve also been invited to Europe to do some writing with a very talented and credible musician/producer, so that will be interesting and perhaps lead to other things to look forward to.