Old Man Canyon lifts the blinders on rhetoric with A Grand Facade

Vancouver Weekly interview with Old Man Canyon

Photo by Cody Briggs

Synths and guitars swirl in a dreamlike haze on A Grand Facade, the iridescent new album by Jett Pace, aka Old Man Canyon. His warm, textured indie pop provides a perfect backdrop for its themes of escapism.

Pace grew up in North Vancouver where he was never far from nature. Although he resides in Vancouver now, he finds time to immerse himself in the woods at least twice a week.

“It’s become something that’s vital to my being and creative spirit and overall well-being,” Pace told Vancouver Weekly.

The prospect of permanently moving out of the city is constantly in the back of Pace’s mind. But he feels he still has work to do from within his urban surroundings. For him, this means being part of a creative community, whether as a performer or attendee.

“The most work that needs to be done right now, I think, has to be done from the city. You can’t get things done from the middle of nowhere.”

Pace certainly put in the work on A Grand Facade. In fact, he took on more creative responsibility than ever on the album. He handled all the instrumentation, all the recording, and most of the production in his home studio.

“It was pretty daunting at the beginning, but I couldn’t be more happy with the overall end product,” he said.

To put the final touches on A Grand Facade, Pace headed down to Joshua Tree. There, in the California desert, he, lifelong friend and collaborator Colyn Cameron, and members of Juno nominees Wake Owl spent a week in a rented a house. When they weren’t simply enjoying their southern sojourn, they were figuring out the album’s tracklist and making sure the album felt cohesive.

Throughout A Grand Facade, Pace is skeptical of the outmoded ways of thinking embedded in our culture. One such archaic idea is that making money and creating and consuming a material world is what people are meant to do. The clearest, most extreme example he offers is the current state of affairs in the U.S. with President Donald Trump.

“Everyone’s been taught to believe that we’re here to do anything we can possibly do to make money, and that doesn’t matter if that’s screwing over anyone in our path, and I think Mister ol’ Trump there is the prime example of that delusional thought process.”

Pace enjoys regularly getting back to nature, but he draws a fine line between taking a breather from the bustle of urban life and being willfully ignorant. His music lifts the blinders on capitalist rhetoric, prompting listeners to think more critically about the flaws of being a society that’s insatiably motivated by the pursuit of riches.

Listening to “For the Taking,” one gets the impression that Pace takes little stock in the word “hope.” Through a satirical point of view, he questions why people always believe they’ll get through any disaster.

“And never mind about the future. We’ll be long gone before it gets worse…. We’ll be on vacation till it blows by,” Pace sings in the song. “We’re always able to escape, and we always have the money to disappear somewhere else if shit hits the fan where we are.”

Once again, the perceived solution is money: being able to afford to abandon worries, whether they’re about a discordant society or a planet that’s literally burning.

For an innocuous respite that still prompts critical thinking, listen to A Grand Facade, available for purchase or to stream here.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu