Artist Spotlight: Ram Hoss

Seven years of songwriting by Jordon Hossack

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Jordon Hossack (Alyssa Laube)

It was late morning in Jasper, British Columbia, and the mist still hadn’t burned off from under the sun when we met Jordon Hossack for a meal of french fries and tequila.

He arrived a little late, wearing a wide, toothy smile and a backpack full of CDs. His mind and mouth were full of stories to tell, and before a half hour had passed, we had learned about his journey to Jasper, musical adventures and misadventures, and plans to return to Vancouver, where he now resides.

Hossack has a big personality, which makes it puzzling that he would be staying in such a tiny place as Jasper. The municipality has a population of about 5,000 people, and other than going for long walks in the forest and working through the day, there isn’t much to do there.

In fact, it was a series of unfortunate events that drove him up into the mountains, where he briefly settled down to wait for the smoke to clear. Stuck between the snow-capped crests of the Rockies, he got a job at a local hotel and dedicated himself to creating music under his solo project, Ram Hoss.

Ram Hoss has been seven years in the making, with about 250 songs to show for it. All of them are clearly and distinctly his, thanks to his trademark hoppy, eclectic guitar playing and light, raspy vocals. Once you hear it, that sound is difficult to forget.

It would be nearly impossible to listen to everything Ram Hoss has released since it was born, and it’s stylistically diverse, but there’s always something new to look forward to from the project. Hossack already has four new albums planned for this season alone.

The first to come will be tV, featuring “a bunch of crazy trippy electronic and full band songs”, followed by Candy: The Juiciest Jams of FNC Vol. 1, Candy: The Juiciest Jams of FNC Vol. 2, and Cavell—named after a mountain in Jasper National Park.

His hyper-productivity comes from Hossack’s pure passion for music, which he sees as “a meditation on sincerity.”

“You try to find the most sincere place in you and let it be free instead of letting the ego hold it up in a confined space,” he says about his solo career. “[Ram Hoss] lets me get in touch and push that part of myself, helping that part of myself grow. When you can do that in solitude you can then bring it into a place where you’re doing it with your friends and get stronger in that atmosphere.”

Indeed, Hossack will be collaborating with other musicians in Vancouver this year to bring some of his Ram Hoss material to life with a full band. He will also be playing shows across the city.

As well as focusing on sincerity, Ram Hoss revolves around testing and pushing boundaries. He does that with his songwriting, crafting lyrics about sex, religion, and other taboo subjects.

“I don’t like how cut and dry things are. I don’t like the good and bad and right and wrong and white and black of things, and I try to unite them,” he says. “I want people to forgive themselves and I want to show them parts of nature in humans that they might find trouble with in themselves, and show them that it’s okay.”

“I guess, in that way, it’s sort of sarcastic and ironic, it’s a little bit instigating,” he says. “But part of that is showing them that there’s nothing they can do about who I am and nothing they can do about who they are.”

It’s clear as a listener that Ram Hoss’ music is honest. Musically, it’s only a man and his guitar, often recorded bare-bones on an iPhone, rarely manipulated. Lyrically, as demonstrated, he has nothing to hide and holds nothing sacred. Ram Hoss is an extension of Jordon Hossack’s personality, and listening to it feels deeply personal for exactly that reason.

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