Terence Jack performs at the Harmony Arts Festival, Monday, Aug. 1, 8:45-10 p.m. at Millennium Park, West Vancouver. harmonyarts.ca
An ornamental guitar given to Terence Jack’s mom as a gift gently wept in one corner of their White Rock home while he was growing up.
Ornamental meaning the guitar was never played – until Jack picked it up and brought it to his Grade 7 band class.
“There were four or five boys learning guitar in the class and we were all kind of competitive with it, which was a great way to kick it off. Yeah, I got really into it right away,” says Jack, fondly recalling when he first really discovered music.
The riff-offs with his buddies kick-started a musical growth for Jack.
“Oh man, we did Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton’s Unplugged, yeah, I mean I was into Hootie & the Blowfish too,” he says.
Jack, who gravitated to songwriting pretty quickly, set up a ska band in Grade 8 with a couple of his friends. They were all listening to Sublime – a lot – at the time. After high school, Jack joined up with some other bands for a while, but now he’s gone solo.
“I chose to go the solo route because it’s a bit like being in a marriage when you’re in a band,” says Jack. “Just with all the bands that I’ve seen in Vancouver and the bands that I’ve been in that break up. Because in Vancouver, it’s hard to just be a musician, everybody is in a hundred bands and everybody’s got side gigs.”
So with musicians subbing in and out all the time, how does Jack know who he will jive with?
“I think for me I would bring in a player, like a friend, and the friend would be like, ‘Hey, I know this guy or this guy and he’s a really good dude and he’s a great player,’” explains Jack. “You’ve kind of got to try and hit both because if you don’t … when you’re on the road for so long, you’ve got to get along with the guys you play with.”
Jack chugged east across Canada last fall on Via Rail – all the way to Halifax and back home – collecting inspiration for his music along the way.
“Travelling by train has always been one of my favourite means of travelling and so this is a very special trip in particular,” says the 31-year-old. “Visions of Prairies and the colours of fall through the Rockies and pulling into Halifax with the old Maritime buildings. Meeting people of all ages from all over the world and sharing stories and lessons.”
Jack has spent several lifetimes travelling the globe, infusing his road-worn exotic experiences into his music. He lived overseas for a big part of his 20s, going back and forth to Southeast Asia, which holds a special place in Jack’s heart.
“A lot of locations over there and people I’ve met, travellers I’ve met, have made their way into the songs and the stories. That’s been a huge part of the inspiration,” he says.
Jack wrote “Eastern Rise,” from his new album Never Get Back, in Java, an island in Indonesia, on a surf break.
“And I was surfing all day every day and I wrote “Eastern Rise” on the beach there, and just got away from the whole world and turned off my phone and turned off all my devices and got (in) my own headspace.”
A lot of songs Jack writes are about the road and about love, “just kind of the story of humans on the planet,” he says. “A lot of it is stuff that happened a long time ago that comes out. I don’t like to write about the current situations.”
Jack is currently in the midst of a cross-Canada tour. Calgary was his first sold-out show on the road outside of his hometown, and it was “awesome.”
“We had one girl crowd surfing, which was a first for us,” says Jack with a laugh.
On B.C. Day Jack is looking forward to bringing his blend of indie and folk rock to the Harmony Arts Festival stage.
“It’s the best thing ever,” he says. “Being outside, they usually put the stage in the most beautiful spot, so it’s super surreal and dreamlike.”