At eighteen years old, Jonah August left home. Scraping together as much survival money as he
could, Jonah moved up to Salmon Arm, B.C. where he worked at a tree nursery and wrote his
first record. Despite having a multi-instrumentalist for a father and playing bass in his brother’s
band, Jonah had never shown a particularly keen interest in music before picking up an acoustic
guitar. His move to Salmon Arm sparked the beginning of a long and intense journey with music
that, now, has produced two EP’s: first, There Was Snow at Your Funeral, shortly followed by
Elder. Now that he’s living back home in Chilliwack, Jonah’s started working on his self-proclaimed
debut album. “I would consider the first two demos,” he explained, “because what I’m doing now
is such a step up [in comparison].” The fact that he’s willing to write off his past two releases as
unofficial puts the next one on a pretty high pedestal. Both There Was Snow at Your Funeral and
Elder are high-quality, unique records chock full of raw emotion. Each song presents delightfully
melancholy, finger-picked melodies paired with Jonah’s low and gentle vibrato. If what August is
brewing up in his home studio beats the old records by such a long shot, we’re certainly in for a
treat with the next one.
Over the summer, he wrote a whopping nineteen songs for the new album, fourteen of which
should make it onto the track list (the other five could possibly be compiled as an EP, which
would come out just before it). This might seem like a lot to do within a year, but for Jonah, it’s
ample time. He’s off of school, off of work, and expanding his home studio as best he can in
preparation for the debut. The goal is to be done recording by his twentieth birthday in March,
which should be a piece of cake for the musician; he finished his first EP within a month and his
second in three weeks. While there’s no shows lined up yet, those will undoubtedly come later.
For now, it’s all about creating.
“If you’re serious about songwriting and you want to have an impact on someone, you have to
live the music. You have to let it be your life, or when someone realizes that you’re a jerk but you
write beautiful songs, they’re going to ask, ‘How does that work?’”
Guaranteed, he does live his music. Everything August produces is created exclusively by him.
He plays, records, and produces every part of his work, regardless of the instrument. In other
words, if you can hear it, Jonah’s behind it. This becomes even more impressive when you
realize his situation; everything he’s ever put out has been taped in his house using (gasp!)
Garageband. The software has an unnecessarily bad rep, but that’s not stopping Jonah from doing
his best with it. “I’m not embarrassed,” he stated, boldly. “There’s just so many bad things said
about Garageband that I’m successfully going to record a whole album on Garageband.”
So, it’s just a matter of proving a point. It’s the kind of challenge only an artist would present
themselves with. That being said, he actually can pull off a professional sound while using the
program. Although he’s channeling more time and effort into the upcoming album than ever
before, he’s still recording from home, on a computer, without needing help from anyone else.
This lone wolf mentality doesn’t just apply to Jonah as an artist, though; it’s an integral part of
his personality. In his high school years, Jonah regularly went off on unchaperoned adventures.
To cure his adolescent shyness, he’d hitchhike with complete strangers just to force himself into
“Especially when I was sixteen, I’d go down to the ferry terminal and hop a ferry to the island,
hang out for a week and sleep on the beach and stuff. I was living with my mom and she’d be at
work, and I’d just ditch school. I was gone for like, two and a half weeks on Vancouver Island
once. I recommend it for able-bodied, young men to better yourselves a little bit.”
And what’s the point of making music if not for self-improvement and expression? With every
album, Jonah focuses on a new theme. This album’s subject is simple: honesty. “I’m not going to
be abstract about the lyrics,” Jonah explained. “I’m just going to be honest about the point I’m
trying to get across.” This contrasts to his past releases, which were driven mainly by emotions
an concepts, and therefore were more abstruse. Another new contribution that will be presented
on the LP is the addition of drums. August decided to add percussion due to the “lack of rhythm
in the other EP’s,” and plans on adding more instruments into the mix, too. It’s bound to be an
exciting project for the artist, who is going into it with enthusiasm and a critical mindset.
“I get so worked up about the details. Like, I get headaches,” he laughed. But it’s that kind of
meticulous care for his work that creates such a clean, interesting product. With the increased
amount of time Jonah’s allotted to working on the debut, combined with all of the new
techniques he plans on incorporating, it’s sure to be a fantastic listen. Stay tuned to Aly Writes
(www.alywrites.ca) and Jonah’s website (https://jonahaugust.bandcamp.com/) for more coverage
on what he’s up to and the release of the upcoming album.