After climate change-deniers took charge of the U.S., Jamison Issak dealt with it the only way he knew how—he recorded an album.
Though based in Canada, Issak keeps up with his politics around the world. So when Trump took over he couldn’t help but make new music. He created his solo project Teen Daze while he was in college to help him figure out the heavy concepts of his major in philosophy and theology.
“I started in 2010, I was in school at the time finishing up a degree, so it was a way for me to procrastinate and also be able to process a lot of the stuff I was studying,” Issak tells BTRtoday. “Music was a really good way to process all of that … I graduated in April of that year and went on my first tour that summer.”
This year, he released Themes For Dying Earth on his own record label, FLORA. His writing process took him far away from civilization when he and his wife moved to an isolated house in the woods.
“The 2016 election was a huge cause of stress and fear for me, so I just found myself more and more having these songs be ways to process the way I was absorbing all of this,” he says. “To have people who aren’t doing that [helping the environment] I’d end up going for walks in these beautiful forests I was living in and be like, ‘why would we ever put something like this at risk?’”
The album is filled with soothing melodies gliding the sounds of rain and gusting wind. It’s easy to think this is an optimistic album, but the lyrics are filled with panic and pessimism.
Issak says he wanted to make an album that took his fears of this presidency and create a “melodic positive” sound that would create an optimistic atmosphere.
“If you’re just online or in your car and you’re not really listening to the lyrics, it can sound very pleasant and melodic and nice,” he says. “But in a lot of the songs there’s a lot of cynicism and fear, and just being freaked out at how crazy the world is right now.”
Before Themes For Dying Earth, Teen Daze sounded beachy and carefree. But when the political climate darkened, the sound evolved.
“In the past a lot of the music I was making was very much trying to create something new, and escape, rather than talk about how I was feeling about things,” Isaak says. “This record was an opportunity for me to address some of the things that I was feeling and concerned about. And I think for the first time an issue like climate change became a more palpable and real experience for me.”
Isaak intends to keep writing Teen Daze material in his humble home in the woods for this coming new year, with perhaps another tour at the end.
Tune in to this week’s The Music Meetup to hear Themes For Dying Earth in full and the entire interview with Jamison Issak.