Broken, betrayed, bitter, lost – the aftermath of a break up ain’t pretty. Montreal Singer-Songwriter Jason Bajada wrote his new album, Loveshit, in the middle of the storm. The result is an achingly honest take on love’s broken promises – and an album that’s getting a lot of air play. Exclaim! calls one of the tracks,”Hard Not To Quit” the most heart-wrenching tune of 2009. But isn’t penning a break up album akin to emotional suicide? I caught up with the singer at the Rivoli last night– and talked to him about heart break and falling in love all over again. Bajada is playing live at the Cameron House tonight.
Here’s the Q&A:
When I first listened to the album I couldn’t help picturing you in a dark room, in an absolute mess of emotion – with a guitar trying to sort out your heartbreak… am I close?
The room wasn’t dark. It was in summer, I was doing a lot of writing in summer in Los Angeles, on a few trips, Halifax, Los Angeles and about half of it in Montreal. But yeah, it was mostly me alone with an acoustic guitar or a piano.
Listening to the album took me right back to my own heart break – where I felt so horrible, I couldn’t eat, drinking didn’t even work. So I just paced my tiny living room and bawled for days. It was like these constant waves of emotion just kept hitting me. I was shocked – and also awed – by how powerful the depression and sadness was – it was as powerful as the emotions of falling in love. I imagine as a songwriter this is a pretty powerful emotional space to work in.
Yeah, it’s the most intense emotions come out. With songwriting, or painting or any form of art, is more colourful, more vivid, more intense when sadness is present. Love’s pretty much the ultimate goal and feeling that people long for as cheesy as it may sound. So, music’s bound to be more intense if you’re on the floor and you’re just centred on one thing all day that consumes you completely.
It must have been pretty painful to write about your heartbreak. Were you compelled to write the album?
Yeah I always write anyways, but obviously when this is happening it’s the only thing that can distract you, because movies won’t work and friends… you’ll just end up talking about yourself and that’s pretty horrible so, the one thing you can do alone and at least make something good out of it and in the end people are going to applaud and smile and it’s not going to be so depressing, is music.
Instead of dealing with the heartbreak of love lost, a lot of guys I know start dating someone new as soon as possible as a way to move on. But you went the other way, conducting an entire postmortem on your relationship with this album. Did it help you to move on?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. There’s the one day where you’re sick at home, or when you get the artwork and you re-read the lyrics and you re-read the liner notes and you realize that this thing was actually real-er when you’re talking about it interviews. It’s something obviously that I’ve gotten over and I didn’t kill myself. So now, there’s always a moment where I do actually think of the person instead of the just the artwork, or just the results. It’s always someone you will care for even if you don’t see them anymore. It’s this ultimate goal that you want to go back to with someone else eventually.
What’s it like touring with this album?
So far it’s really good because it’s the first album that I’m 100 percent happy with. Presenting the songs and playing the songs live, the response has been excellent. The response has been excellent, they feel good with a band or solo. When they know the songs they sing along and if they don’t, well they seem to be buying the album. So, so far, so good.
There’s a lot of things that people might want to tell their ex’s, that they never did. This album gives you that room to talk to the person that you broke up with. Do you have any sense of her reaction to the album?
Well, initially there were about 40 songs written for the album but we ended up cutting it to nine. But every song was trying to win her back. It was an up and down relationship, you know I broke up with her, she broke up with me. It was like many relationships actually. But every single song was like trying to prove her wrong. I felt like the more songs, the more roses to the bouquet. In the end… I don’t think that she can listen to it. But I haven’t spoken to her in so long, so I guess she’ll come across it, if she hasn’t already.
There’s a strong sense of bitterness and betrayal running throughout a lot of the album that you feel when love goes wrong. And I’m wondering, coming up to Valentine’s Day, do you still believe in love?
Um… I’d like to. Yeah. It’s starting all over again, being vulnerable to someone and all that stuff. Yeah. It’s possible, and it’s possible again. It’s probably harder the second time, or the third time but… yeah, yeah I do, I do. Hopeless romantic, right?