Spotlight of the Week: JD Kinart

Jasen “JD” Kinart is a singer-songwriter who’s been performing, touring, and recording music for over twenty years. His most recent band Northern Haunts dissolved over quarantine and he’s since been focusing on solo material.

ME: First things first; tell me how you got involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures.

JD: Well, I’ve known Allison for a number of years; we worked together at Brass Bell Music Store many years ago and then I taught at her music studio for a while as well. I heard that she was doing it; we had talked about it a little back and forth before I joined and I wasn’t sure if it was the right timing, and then finally I decided to jump in whether I thought I was ready or not. It’s such a great group of people and musicians, and I’m certainly happy that I did join.

ME: Right on, yeah, it’s a good crew.

ME: You mentioned Culver’s before we started recording. What’s your go-to Culver’s meal?

JD: I do like the fish sandwich. I dig on that because you can get burgers anywhere.

ME: That’s not what I’d expect someone to say. My go-to is the mushroom swiss burger and spicy chicken sandwich with a small fry – I eat a lot (laughs). I should try the fish sandwich though; I’ve never actually had it.

JD: If you’re into the mushroom swiss burger, I also really enjoy the swiss patty melt, and they can add the mushrooms to that. Now that I think of it, that might be my go-to. I’ve kind of laid off of it though because it’s so greasy.

ME: Any time my friends and I go out of town for a day trip, like if we go hiking, we pretty much always get Culver’s on the way home.

ME: It’s November so it’s getting towards Christmas time. What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

JD: I would probably have to say either Christmas Vacation or Die Hard.

ME: Nice. I’d have to go with Elf.

JD: Modern classic right there, absolutely.

ME: Uncle Buck’s a good one too.

JD: Goodness, I’ve seen that one in a while.

ME: Yours were good choices though; I haven’t seen Christmas Vacation since I was a kid.

ME: So, your band Northern Haunts is now dissolved. Can you tell us a little bit about what made you feel that it was time to move onto something different?

JD: Yeah, we’d been doing it for quite some time and with a few different iterations of members. As you hear from a lot of bands, COVID hit us hard. I went through some medical stuff last year too so that kind of put the brakes on everything, but for a while there it felt like we were spinning our wheels and then we ran out of gas. I think everybody was just ready to go in their own directions. I’ve been playing guitar and singing for most of my life, and it’s always been in bands. I’ve done lead guitar and the backup vocal thing, I’ve done the lead singer-guitar player thing, but I’ve always seen bands as a very democratic process or I’m there to complement. There was a part of me where it felt like this was the right time for me to try just doing it on my own, and to take my ideas and just run with them. I love the guys; we still hang out and talk, so there was no volcanic breakup or anything like that. It was just time, and everybody seemed pretty comfortable with it.

ME: Sure. Well, it’s good that it was amicable, and it sounds like an entry into an exciting new chapter for yourself.

ME: That said, what have you been working on lately?

JD: Well, I’m working on finding my own voice in what this new path is going to be. I’ve been working on a few new songs and trying to get that foothold before I start booking a bunch of shows. I will be doing Cactus Club in February and I’m excited about that. I’ve been doing a bunch of solo stuff with Wisconsin Music Ventures and I think that might’ve helped lead into all this as well, realizing that I can go out and do it on my own. It’s pretty much been exploring that, and I’m at the point where I’ve been ready to start a new project of some videos. I want to find some cool spaces, put up a phone, and try recording some videos that way because social media’s become such a powerful tool. I’ve yet to find my way to harness that, so that’s really my next big focus – to find a way to reach my next audience.

Visit JD Kinart’s website here.

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