Music Interview: Catching the Jakalope

By Ivan Danielewicz

The jakalope is a composite of various animals, a weird mythical creature made up of parts borrowed from rabbits and antelope. The band Jakalope’s composition follows a similar path.

When Dave Ogilvie decided to switch sides from behind the mixing board as one of the music industries great engineers to in front of it with Jakalope, he found help from many of the people he had worked with over the years.

“It’s a big entourage of people,” says Ogilvie, who brings the musical smorgasbord known as Jakalope to Calgary Fri., May 13. “It’s great because they are all a part of it and it takes that many people to pull this off, in any sort of form where it’s exciting to watch and listen to the music.”

On their debut album, It Dreams, Jakalope consisted of over 39 people, but for their current tour Ogilvie has assembled a smaller group of seven to take command of the stage. The line up includes Sean Stubbs from Numb on drums, Matt Warhurst from SNFU on bass, Phil Caivano from Monster Magnet on guitar, Matt Hide from Porno for Pyros on keyboards and guitars, Lisa Winn as background vocal and Katie B as lead vocal. Ogilvie himself switches in on keyboards and guitar.

“You take any one of those people away and it’s a big loss,” Ogilvie explains. “Everyone is very necessary.”

Ogilvie began recording and composing the music himself. Gradually, former colleagues began to trickle in to lend a hand and ended up helping to create Jakalope.

“The whole idea when I started this was to get a song started and then have people who I have worked with over the years to help me through to the end, so that all the songs would have a real different flavor to them while still fitting together,” Ogilvie says.

What originally started as a small number of musicians blossomed into an entire community contributing to It Dreams. Even Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails came in to help Ogilvie with the production of the album and co-wrote some of the songs.

“After the record came out and I got this initial feeling of ‘I don’t want to bother anyone with this,’ I got some friends coming up to me and asking ‘Why didn’t you ask me to help?’” laughs Ogilvie, “and so for the next album, there’s going to be a whole other lineup, as well as the ones on the first album.”

The music, like the band’s name implies, is an odd composition of sound. On It Dreams Ogilvie and company cover everything from metal to pop to jazz, creating a near indescribable sound all their own.

“I know the reality of how the music business machine works and the fact is that I want to do this thing properly and you have to appeal to the masses of people,” remarks Ogilvie. “My thing was to generate this new type of pop music that people haven’t heard before and combine the sound and style with the complete opposite side of vocals and melodies.”

Founded around alternative rock with guitars and drums pounding out a hard, driven sound Jakalope throws listeners for a loop with Katie B’s vocals bubbling overtop of the mix with a very feminine, cute sound completely counteracting the rest of the band. Her vocals are also constantly put through a smattering of effects giving her voice a distinctive pop feeling.

“I love pop music, I grew up on it,” says Ogilvie. “I love melodies and the sound of it. It’s really fun to be working in the genre where I can do whatever I want with sound and it’s a real challenge to do. I’m getting away with murder as far as I’m concerned. When you actually write the music, you know it so deeply and intensely, it’s amazing. I wish I could see this deep into every project.”

Ogilvie’s project Jakalope is sure to be in constant flux under his ever evolving guidance. Like the creature it takes its name from, the band will surely continue to be an odd arrangement of music and talent.

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