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As Lonely Wholesome, Canadian Punk Stalwart Jonah Falco Shares a Softer Side

The Fucked Up and Career Suicide member drops the RA-RA-RA for some ‘la-la-las’.

Besides a fine set of hair and an enviable punk rock pedigree, Jonah Falco has some solid guitar pop smarts.

While best known for his involvement in Toronto hardcore stalwarts, Career Suicide and Fucked Up, for the last few years, Jonah has been busying himself with Lonely Wholesome, a brooding and melodic pop outfit that falls more in line with Ray Davies than Ray Cappo. 

His new EP, Savage, Lovely, Lonely released today on Bad Actors, the label run by his Fucked Up bandmate Ben Cook (who also helps out on some recording duties) is six tracks of clean and jangly pop music that helps make you feel better about yourself and your day.

While the world looks to people like Mac DeMarco for Canadian indie pop, they need to be turning their attention to Jonah who has a clear ear for big pop melody.

Listen to the EP below and read a chat we had with Mr. Falco. 

Noisey: Did 18-year-old angry punk you ever expect to end up writing a song like "I Don't Think I Can Love You Any More (Than I Already Do)" that has 3000 "la, la, la, las" in it?

Jonah Falco: It's a funny thing not knowing what you're capable of, especially considering whatever iota of imagination that happily concluded the writing of la la la also produced whatever single celled tune plonk I likely now regret. Angry 18-year-old punk me definitely knew I'd be egotistical enough to be talking to myself through song fifteen years later, though.

You record a lot of punk bands but in this case you co-produced with Young Guv. Who got the most of the experience/learning curve? 
It was a fairly mutual process, though we (and Tony who helped a lot with the guitar) were mostly in the capable hands of Steve Chahley. Working with Steve is simultaneously effortless and educational. His approach let's the performance do the producing in a sense. 

I love the intro to "The World Won't Ever Understand Me". It reminds me of something that Chris Bell would have written around the time of I Am the Cosmos. Any influences creep into this one?

The theme song to M.A.S.H. was the main musical influence on this one. ha. When I was a kid I was inexplicably obsessed with M.A.S.H. I watched it every day, and even made my parents buy me the sheet music for the theme song, which. As a nine year old I didn't exactly get what "Suicide is Painless" meant or why my folks kept saying things like "this is dark" or "you're too young to understand satire" but ya, couple riffs.

Pop seems more personable. When you sing about love and heartbreak you are singing about people and relationships. Punk is a more a general railing against bullshit in general. Do you find writing pop songs more difficult? 
Even to be angry you have to be angry with something though -- ultimately I feel anger is futile and kind does nothing but produce a reward value for feeling that way. Scream at a room, room screams back. In theory these songs are an inverse of expressing anger. They express doubt, contradiction, and hapless self sabotage, nostalgia, heartbreak, longing -- You get sick from chasing the dragon of airing your grievances though, which overall, produce the same result as shouting about things. Feels good to watch your impulses get wrapped up some place.

Toronto needs a pop version of Not Dead Yet. Who else would you get to play? Sloan? Are they still big in Canada?
Busy Signals would have to reform, the Number 1s would let me choose their set list, and Sloan could be involved if it was them combing through Actual Water's catalogue.

'Savage, Lovely, Lonely' is available now through Bad Actors.

Images: Alex Kress