Blending a love of 90’s alt-rock with modern indie sensibilities, Jiants is a Toronto based foursome led by ex-pro skateboarder Jesse Landen. Jiants is made up of Landen on vocals and guitar, Adam Kesek on bass, John Sirdevan on drums and the recently added Joe Deflin on lead guitar. Their self titled debut was released in August 2016. Jiants’ follow-up album, Odd Trouble, was recorded in August 2017 at Candle Recording and produced by Landen and Taylor Knox. The album blends infectious riffs and melodic keyboard lines with Landen’s sun-cracked vocals to capture a nostalgic sound you’ll remember from a time that maybe never was. Here is a little conversation with Jesse Landen.
Hi Jesse, can you tell us a bit about you and your band, Jiants?
I’ve been writing songs for quite a few years now. Over the past decade or so, songwriting has basically gone from being a hobby to an obsession. While I was skateboarding professionally, I would always try to keep a band going at home in Toronto, but it became pretty difficult to maintain both at the same time. I would often worry that by trying to pursue both skateboarding and music, I was not doing either to their full potential.
When did the Jiants project start?
At the end of 2015 I started the project “Jiants” with an album I recorded at home. Then, with the same crew who produced the epic ‘skate’ film “Grinders” (which won first place at the 2014 Connect the Dots contest), we produced a music video for our song ‘Paralyze’ that caught the eye of a few online publications which ultimately pushed Jiants out of the bedroom and onto the stage. By 2017, Jiants had become a full four-piece live act.
Would you say that first video got you motivated to pursue the Jiants project?
After seeing the success of the first video, it made me realize I had this built in network of talented friends within the skateboarding community. I decided to work with as many of them as possible on the second Jiants album. For example, with the help of Jeff Comber’s photography, we captured an image of an amazing painting by Manny Trinh. Having the artwork picked early was a lot of stress off my plate because, believe it or not, choosing album art can be one of the hardest decisions when making an album. Then, after seeing some of Hamilton ripper Steve Kettings work online, I contacted him to see if he would be interested in putting together a stop motion video for our song ‘Odd Trouble’. Steve integrated some photos of the band to create what ended up being the premiere of the first single off the new album.
How is it working on a project like this with a bunch of skateboarders?
One of the best things about being part of the skate community is having so many different kinds of talented people just a phone call away, which is something I think we all take for granted – the community. Jiants isn’t signed to a label yet, in fact, it’s about as ‘indie’ as a band can get, but at this point I’ve decided that instead of waiting around for music industry ‘acceptance’, we’ll just press on and use every resource i have to create quality content for the project.
So in the end, it seems like pursuing skateboarding and music simultaneously paid off?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of what I have accomplished so far with Jiants without the help from my friends, and for that I am grateful. We’ve got another skate/music production in the pipeline as well, so look out for that in May.
You can buy Jiants’ new album (pre-sale) on iTunes here
Album release date: June 1st 2018 (Itunes, Spotify, Bandcamp)
Canadian Music week : May 9th @ The Piston, 11pm
July 5th @ Baby G. 9pm – tickets
All photos ©Jeff Comber