Where to begin…
To date I have over 9000 tweets. At time of writing this, 9041, and by the time I post this, 9042.
I have regularly been attacked and “called out” for my commentary on social issues. This is fine by me, as I believe in free speech and free press, but the irony appears to be lost on so many of you, so here I am, writing a disclaimer for you which is for your own benefit. Feel free to stop reading anytime, as I do with so many of your comments.
“Wow, this girl sounds like a total asshole,”
– anonymous twitter user 583950.
Thanks for your comments.
People have called me out at this point for being racist, anti-LGBTQ, shitty at music (it’s subjective, but go off), and a pathetic Liberal loser (paraphrasing). Thank you for these kind words of endearment during this, a global pandemic where so many are suffering from a lack of mental health resources.
At this stage all of this is quite funny to me, because if you read through my tweets from bottom to top, in order, or “chronically” as they should be read, you would see how utterly ridiculous these claims are against my character.
So perhaps it is best to start with a brief introduction.
Hi there, my name is Jaimee Jakobczak and this is my one-woman-band Crooked Forest.
I am self-produced, self-recorded, self-mixed, write everything myself, and have years of experience working in the Canadian music industry. I am a highly outspoke advocate in favour/in support of LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, men’s rights, anti-racism initiatives, community-driven initiatives, pro-mental health initiatives, sexual-assault survivors, climate change, reconciliation and Indigenous Canadian issues, and so on and so fourth.
Feel free to take a break at any time during this disclaimer at any time to begin sifting through my tweets for real-time examples of how I use Twitter to bring light to these very important issues.
I am not religious, but I do support all religions. I believe they are fundamentally the same and the wars caused by religion are a big part of the many problems we see today.
“Sounds like you’re flip flopping,”– anonymous Twitter user 373847229.
Not at all. Please keep reading, you may not have the level of comprehension once set fourth by the Ontario, Canada standard of which I am based.
“I bet she’s never even worked in a real recording studio,”– anonymous Twitter user 282843.
I started working in recording studios at 17 years of age. The first studio I ever worked at was called Whirlwind Sound based in Woodbridge, Ontario. It no longer exists, but it was the home base of Canadian Producer and Mix Engineer sensation Brian Moncarz, and housed all of the equipment famed Producer Bob Ezrin did not require at the time.
Feel free to look these gentlemen up or click the handy links I will add to this blog post.
“I don’t buy a word she says. She’s obviously a huge fucking liar,”– anonymous Twitter user 2929483.
I got the position at Whirlwind Sound from my Grade 11 Co-Operative placement teacher who for the sake of her anonymity I’ll call Lisa Simpson.
She found the studio, I nailed the interview.
This meant that every day in Grade 11, I would leave my high school at approximately 11:10AM (our standardized lunch hour) to go to Whirlwind Sound for the remainder of the afternoon. I almost always stayed later than required for my high school credit because I love music and recording studios.
I of course did not get paid for this time as it was for high school credit. Are you following along? Let’s put on a fresh pot of coffee.
At Whirlwind Sound I learned the fundamentals of recording. Patch bays, consoles, XLR cable wrapping and cleanliness, how amplifiers work, the transmission of sound from guitar to amp to console to Pro Tools, basic editing, and so on.
At the time, we were using Pro Tools version 7.2 (or so). This was also the days of Myspace which meant I would also spend some time promoting the studio and searching for potential clients on that platform. Of course, Myspace was on its way out by then and this was a futile effort.
I’d also be tasked with things like cleaning out the storage room where all of Bob Ezrin’s extra gear was housed, the ones we didn’t use on a daily basis I mean, of course. I never had to clean the bathroom at this studio – thank God. I did at the subsequent studios, though. That job sucks!
On one date in particular, the studio was abuzz in a new way. I was assisting Brian Moncarz on a session featuring London, Ontario based band Prizefighter; you’ve probably never heard of them, but maybe you’ve heard of Zubin Thakkur. Zubin was the principal songwriter and leader singer of Prizefighter, and today he is Shawn Mendes‘ lead guitar player. Go ahead and look him up.
“That Shawn Medes?”– anonymous Twitter user 38384.
The band was terribly excited on this day because another Producer was said to be joining us to mix their song “Union Station“.
For you non-Canadians, Union Station is the central transit terminal in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Zubin was particularly thrilled about this, he couldn’t stop mentioning the name.
“David Bottrill!”– Zubin Thakkur at Whirlwind Sound, date unknown.
I was unfamiliar, but intrigued by his level of appreciation and excitement.
“He’s worked with Tool!”– Zubin Thakkur at Whirlwind Sound, date unknown.
Oh! I know Tool! A bit, anyway. Their music I mean, not the band themselves.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with David Bottrill’s work, he’s also worked with artists like:
Peter Gabriel, The Cranberries, King Crimson, Dream Theatre, Silverchair, Placebo, Circa Survive, The Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Sour, Coheed & Cambria, Moneen, Gobsmack and — hell, just read his credit role, it’s available on the World Wide Web.
Perhaps you’ve heard of some of them.
Frankly, the Peter Gabriel stuff alone is impressive as hell.
I was now very intrigued.
When David walked into the studio I of course had no idea who he was and he had no idea who I was. Brian introduced us, but not immediately. He was a short man, shorter than I anticipated anyway (whatever that means), with quite a thin frame and a bald head.
“This is the guy?”– me to me at Whirlwind Sound, quietly in my own head; date unknown.
David had barely been in the studio for any time at all before he made it clear he was ready to get to work. He is a true professional in that way.
Since we were mixing, there was little for me to do; this happens often in professional recording studios when you’re an assistant engineer (or co-operative intern student), but I was always pleased to observe others at work.
Brian had already cued up the track.
Zubin wanted to talk shop with Dave.
David wanted to mix.
Jaimee (that’s my name again) sat quietly on the couch at the back of the room, careful not to get in the way of the 4 band members (if I recall correctly, they were all in attendance, but I really only remember Zubin well) and 2 professionals.
The session was otherwise entirely uninteresting to write about. The mix sounded great, obviously. It used to be available to listen to on the Prizefighter Myspace page and I’d often go back to listen. Great melody. Good voice on Zubin. Not bad lyrically, but nothing particularly mind-blowing. A pop-rock song through and through. This isn’t a slight I’m just honest about my opinions of other peoples work.
I worked at Whirlwind Sound for 4 months, a typical Canadian high-school semester. I passed my co-op course (woo-hoo!), and when the semester ended Brian and I had a quick chat.
Jaimee: Can I still come back?
Brian: Of course!Paraphrasing.
I continued working with Brian Moncarz and David Bottrill for several years as a result of this conversation including when we moved to Rattlebox Sound in Toronto, Ontario Canada and then Rattlebox North which was technically in like, Vaughan, Ontario basically. Sometimes it’s good not to tell people where your studio is because people like to steal recording gear (it’s expensive!)
While I was finishing my education at Emily Carr Secondary School, I was starting to make some decisions about where to proceed with my career.
Prior to all of this I had built up a bit of a friendly relationship with Canadian Producer and Treble Charger frontman Greig Nori. I’d e-mail him to ask him for advice on how to become a great Producer like him. He told me to, “just get into it” and learn on the job. When I asked Brian Moncarz this same question he said, “go to college for it to get a better foundation.”
A tricky predicament for me as I respected both of these Producers greatly.
Ultimately, I decided to go to college. After all, mom & dad believed in higher education (Mom went to Humber College, dad to Ryerson University), and would’ve been really disappointed if I didn’t get a formal education. They wanted me to attend university because I’m actually really intelligent academically, but I personally despise the structure. And so, I attended a walk-through of Mississauga’s Metalworks Institute of Sound.
For those unfamiliar with Metalworks it’s is owned by Canadian “legend” Gil Moore, drummer of Canadian rock band Triumph. I am not a fan of this band nor this institution, or at this point the studio itself.
“So why did you want to go to MWI?”– VH1 Behind the Music Anonymous Representative
I wanted to attend MWI because Greig Nori had worked with Sum 41 at their studio. Specifically, Studio 3. They worked on the All Killer No Filler album here, one of my favourite pop-punk records of all time.
The walk-through tour was hosted by MWI admissions counsellor who for the sake of his anonymity I’ll call Bart Simpson. I’ll note, Bartholomew did pressure me into taking the 2-year offering at MWI, but I was only interested in learning to become a great recording engineer and producer, and not a music-business major, so I declined that.
I of course was accepted as almost everyone is (cash grab!), and was due to start September 2008.
I graduated high school in December 2007, a semester before all of my peers, so I had some time to kill before hitting the books hard. In those days at MWI, the 1-year long program I enrolled in was a 6-day a week program, starting as early at 8:30AM and ending as late as 10:45PM, assuming chatty instructors didn’t keep us even later. There were seldom any breaks and no cafeteria on site.
I think I’m falling off track here, so let’s just put a pin in this conversation for another blog post and get back to the real reason we’re here. The disclaimer.
I have been open, honest and fourth-right about my project since its inception. If you do not understand it, I caution you to take a deep breath before hitting the “Send Tweet” button. You will look foolish, and I will laugh.
The point of the Crooked Forest project is to bring to light issues that do not garner the attention they deserve. Here in Ontario Canada, I struggle with determining what should be at the forefront; although these days my main focus is the injustice that is the Indigenous Rights political issues that had plagued this country since the settlers brutally and barbarically murdered and then covered up-said murders while assimilating Indigenous Peoples into Christianity in an effort to control and take-over their lands.
I also regularly talk about difficult issues like suicide and mental health as I have been personally affected by these issues. Some of my content, as a result, may be difficult for some viewers to stomach.
This is your warning.
These of course are not the only issues I put fourth. Again, I am an outspoken advocate IN FAVOUR of #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and all of those other things I mentioned above (go on, scroll back up).
If you do not understand my tweets I invite you to engage in civil discourse with me where I will do my best to explain the context; however, it is not my responsibility to teach you about literally everything in the world when you have Google at your fingertips.
Since Twitter has proven to be not the most ideal platform to bring fourth these issues (wow, that character count is LOW, right?), I will be writing an extensive series of blogs to support my ideology. You can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time; to the frank, I do not give a flying fuck what you think about me, especially if you cannot “read good”.
I will supplement these blog posts with Vlogs on popular vlogging platform YouTube. This is to help those who cannot “read good”.
I also intend to, down the line, perhaps have a podcast, for those who prefer to listen instead of view or read. I am pro-accessibility in all of its forms.
Of course I do literally all of this on my own and as such, these things take time. If you do not have the patience to wait, that’s on you.
“This girl must be retarded”– anonymous Twitter user 583834.
Yours don’t harm me (I have SEEN and HEARD some SERIOUS SHIT over the years!) but they do harm others, so watch your tongues.
One of the biggest challenges with trying to talk about these social and political issues is that I, too, remember being 11-12 and spending long late nights on the internet. You come across some seriously weird stuff on here, with some seriously gross language, and some seriously messed up video footage. While I will do my best to watch my own tongue for the sake of the kids on the internet (I also advocate for the rights and safety of kids despite having and not wanting any of my own; Crazy I know, a woman who doesn’t want kids, the nerve!), I am an adult speaking about adult issues.
I also play punk rock so, uh, it’s gonna get a little extreme at times, or whatever you want to call it.
I think this has gotten a little long so I’m going to end this here.
If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read it.
If you have any questions, please e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be pleased to speak with you.
If you disparage or attack my character in any way, it is my right not to engage with you, and likewise you to me.
Artists & Producers I have worked with include: the aforementioned David Bottrill and Brian Moncarz, Negramaro, Great Big Sea, Drake, Eric Ratz, Gavin Brown & Lenny De Rose, L. Stu. Young, Noah “40” Shabib, Boi 1Da, T-Minus, Noel Cadastre, Joel Kazmi, The Saint Alvia Cartel, Jesse Clegg, Anthony Carone & Tim Oxford of The Arkells, Sarah Slean, Sarah Harmer, Joel Plaskett, The Strumbellas, Cone McCaslin of Sum 41, Ian D’Sa of Billy Talent, Kai (now Alessia Degasperis), Sekou Labamba of Bedouin Soundclash, Aukland, Seam, Glass Ampp, & many many more!
To date I have been regularly held off credit lists, haven’t been paid for nearly any of my work, and have since lost my job at Osgoode Professional Development – York University for exercising my right to free speech in an effort to… help people. So weird.
Sometimes I make mistakes, I’ll correct them when I do as I have just done to this post.
Thanks and have a great evening!
Jaimee Jakobczak, (yes, that is my very real name) a.k.a Crooked Forest (a moniker).
This post was edited at 8:23PM EST and again at 8:29PM EST.