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Before Jon Lajoie was known as YouTube’s satirical rap-master “Everyday Normal Guy” or The League’s guitar-toting daydreamer “Taco,” he spent most of his time playing in bands in and around his hometown of Montreal. Wolfie’s Just Fine is his long-awaited return to making music independent of comedy.
“I love writing music. There’s never been that big of a difference for me between comedy and ‘serious’ music—it’s always just been writing music,” Lajoie explains. “But I’d spent so long using music to satirize pop culture or comment on the absurdities of every day life, that I couldn’t really remember who I was when I wasn’t making fun of shit. When I finally asked myself that question, all these songs just sort of poured out of me.”
Without the punchlines, but with the same sort of punchy lyrics and catchy hooks that Lajoie’s fans have come to expect, Wolfie’s Just Fine introduces a new-yet-familiar side of the Montreal-born artist. In I Remembered But Then I Forgot, the debut album from Wolfie’s Just Fine, Lajoie’s raw vocal ability and his penchant for weaving together harmony-heavy melodies with nostalgic sensibilities positions him in a unique world between alternative and indie folk. Lajoie credits an eclectic roster of artists for helping shape his musical proclivities and point of view.
“My musical influences range from folk singers like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Nick Drake to groups like The Beatles, The Animals and The Kinks,” Lajoie says. “And growing up in the 90s, I was definitely impacted by grunge—Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged is possibly my favorite album of all time—as well as hip-hop artists like Nas, Goodie Mobb and Wu Tang Clan. In whatever way, shape or form, these are the voices that have influenced the sound of Wolfie’s Just Fine.”
I Remembered But Then I Forgot features ten original songs whose inspirations range from the perils of young love to the strange ways in which B-movies and summer blockbusters can leave an imprint on our lives. The album is a collage of memories—many inspired by Lajoie’s experiences growing up with eight brothers and sisters—exploring not only the fickle nature of recollection, but also how our memories evolve over time.
“Right now,” says Lajoie, “I'm focused on writing about personal experiences. It's the only thing I feel like I have any authority to talk about.”
“It’s a Job,” the lead track, was the beginning of Lajoie’s exploration. “It’s about lying to yourself so often it becomes your truth,” he explains. “Protecting yourself until you can no longer see that you’re protecting yourself.” The haunting ballad “A New Beginning,” was inspired by the experience of watching his first horror movie as a young boy and the fears and nightmares it unleashed.
Even the few songs that take a different tact are peppered with Lajoie’s distinctive worldview and curiosity. Based on a minor character in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, “Pigeon Lady,” is a song about the power of friendship and human connections, regardless of how brief those two things can occasionally be.
“I’m a pretty guarded person, and can sometimes use comedy as a way of hiding, of protecting myself. I haven’t lost my sense of humor—I constantly had to resist the urge to just turn all of this into some kind of Andy Kaufman-esque performance piece—but knew it was important for me to drop my guard in a way that I haven’t in years. Who am I when I’m not making fun of shit? I don’t know that I got an answer to that question, but I’m both exhilarated and petrified to share this really, really unfunny album with everyone.”
Produced by Joe Corcoran, the album was recorded at Station House studio in Echo Park, CA. It was engineered by Mark Reins, mixed by Phil Ek at Avast Studios in Seattle, and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Studios in New York. I Remembered But Then I Forgot will be released in April 2016 through Lajoie’s label, Normal Guy Records.
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