Thursday, July 18, 2024

Cardinal duo Years to Burn blends genres to create synth-based album

Janessa van Koppen and Keaton Mason (Jakean), form the duo Years to Burn. – Submitted photos

When they hit the big time, you can say you read about them here first.

Cardinal residents and Indigenous musical artists Janessa van Koppen and Keaton Mason (Jakean), who together form the duo Years to Burn, are releasing their debut single on April 5, 2024.

Years to Burn was created five years ago when the pair met in their Music Industry Arts program at Algonquin College in Ottawa. While nurturing and exploring their own specific talents and interests, the two friends realized they could create some magical tunes together as well.

“We were two different genres and we kind of blended them together eventually,” explained Jakean. 

Janessa van Koppen is a producer and songwriter and Jakean specializes in electronic and ’80s retro synth compositions. Their forthcoming single “As Good as it Gets’ was originally supposed to be a solo track for Jakean, however, he asked van Koppen to write the lyrics for it, which naturally led to the creation of an entire synth album.

According to Van Koppen, “As Good as it Gets” tells the story of an individual grappling with their mental health issues in order to try to enjoy life and love to its full extent, a topic most people can relate to in some form. 

“It’s about struggling with interpersonal relationships while having mental illness problems throughout your life and realizing either you won’t be good enough compared to what the other person is putting in,” she explains. “And just having feelings like you’ll never be satisfied and you’re losing out on the best parts of life because of this dark cloud over your head.”

In terms of next steps, Years to Burn aims to release two other singles from their upcoming album before the summer gets into full swing. As students, they would spend many evenings hanging out at different Ottawa live music venues. Now, the pair hope to perform their own music on those same stages very soon. 

“We really want to get involved with the local scene that’s going on here. There’s a really cool event that we love called Side by Side Weekend. Our dream show is probably Wake The Giant in Thunder Bay,” shared van Koppen.

Jakean elaborated, “It’s more meaningful for us because I’m from North Western Ontario and “Wake the Giant” is an Indigenous-focused event so that would mean a lot to me to get to play a show like that that’s closer to where I’m from.”

“As Good as It Gets’  will be available to stream on April 5 anywhere you get your music. To learn more about this up-and-coming duo and follow along with their album release journey, visit their website.

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