How do you get into the Christmas spirit?
Though I consider myself a bit of a Scrooge at times, there’s something about Christmas music that always puts me in the spirit.
Celebrating their 10th anniversary, The Jingles take holiday classics we all know and love very seriously. Well, maybe not TOO seriously.
After meeting at a coffee shop open mic, Dean Morrison (guitar, vocals), Lindsey Reid (keys, vocals) and Mikey Valenz (drums, percussion & vocals) asked ‘how can we make Christmas music better?’
What started out as a joke has now become a holiday tradition, with a 10-year history behind it.
Naturally, I had to ask how something that started as just a joke has come so far. As Mikey explained, “We said we should prepare some tunes for Christmas. A venue pitched it could be a Christmas show. We put together a whole show called “When Tinsel Met Fruitcake” because we tried to make it as cheesy and Christmassy as possible.
The second year we started to amp things up and it was called “The Jingles Go All The Way” and started doing movie trailers and have continued that for the past nine years. Putting together these ridiculously epic movie trailers to promote the show. That’s part of the joke.”
And so, The Jingles were born; part cheese, part serious musicianship, all Christmas.
As I sat and listened to them reminisce about the years gone by; it was touching to hear the laughter as they shared memories of songs once on their set list, songs they would never do, and the ones left on the cutting room floor. Dean insisted it was time to bring back “Deck The Halls Acid Polka”.
For nine years they’ve been a trio, but this year they felt the time was right to bring in a fourth. Enter bassist, Reggie Smith.
Dean explained, “I think the reason we haven’t added another member up until now is because for the longest time, it’s been the perfect three-headed monster. Mike is just a wizard with marketing. Anything to do with the promotional size of things, Mike is just the master. Lindsey keeps us all working, and she writes pretty things and dark things – has a real mind for arrangements. And I’m around. It’s the perfect balance where none of us has to shoulder the whole burden all at once. Which is rare in a band. Much less a Christmas band. The Jingles is a unique thing and Reggie just comes in – he’s just the right person.”
With the addition of Reggie, The Jingles admit they’ve had to rearrange some of the songs, but adding the bass really expands on what they’ve been doing all this time and helps fill out the sound.
Yes, the songs are old favorites and Christmas classics we’re all familiar with, but as Mikey says, “We take a classic and make it our own. A lot of the songs lyrically are familiar, but musically you haven’t heard them this way, ever, and that’s the challenge we try to do for ourselves. That’s kind of the difference now than 10 years ago. We bring our own ideas more to the forefront now. Rather in the past, we’d decide which version should we do, now it’s like ‘let’s do our version, what can we do with this song?’”
Looking back on the last ten years, I asked about any negatives and positives with the whole Jingles experience. For them, Christmas starts in August, and of course they only pay in December.
As a solution to their limited engagement timeline, all four have started Antler Shark; another project they plan to experiment with more in the new year. According to their bio, Antler Shark is a mesh of rock, swampy blues, pop and folk. They have sharp hooks and a fierce bite.
But, it’s December, and that’s The Jingles time.
Mikey sums up their ten years best; “We’ve made so many good friends along the way. Fans who comes to see us. Friends and family who comes to see us. Bands that want to play with us, bands who keep asking to be on the bill with us, even though what they play is far from what we do. It’s just nice to have that community, and people want to be a part of it. I think that’s what’s in important.”
So, get your ugly Christmas sweater out and mark the following dates on your calendar. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and The Jingles have dusted off their sleigh bells, the plastic turkey and all your holiday favorites.
PS: Request “Deck The Halls Acid Polka”
Saturday, December 8 @ Gravity Expresso and Wine Bar
Sunday, December 9 @ Calgary Christmas Market at Calgary Farmer’s Market
Saturday, December 15 “Ten Years of The Jingles” @ The Blind Beggar Pub
Find out more about The Jingles HERE.