Regina, Treaty 4: Jaye Kovach


(Photo by Aidan Morgan, Intro by Shayna Stock)

Jaye Kovach is a spell-casting, tell-it-like-it-is, badass artist. She uses noise and tattoo ink to bewitch her enemies and bless her friends. She can tame even the most wild canine-beast with a single kiss. On stage she is a sultry sound diva, making magic with guitar strings, drum machines and voice. Off stage, she is usually eating pizza or whole jars of pickles while checking her phone and muttering about her latest crush.

KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?

Lately I’ve been mostly focused on making music. I play guitar, sing, and make the backing tracks for my band, Homo Monstrous, as well as record weird noise pop under the name firestarter. I’ve also started tattooing and have gotten a pretty great response so far. Oh and I host a monthly radio show on CJTR. I really enjoy that everything I’m most into doing/gotten the best response to art-wise is something that some dude told me I’d never be able to do like 10 years ago. It feels like a pretty nice fuck you.

KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?

I work at the Dunlop Art Gallery as a facilitator. My last job was pretty solitary so I’ve been enjoying having co-workers and actually interacting with people, especially some of the weirder folks that frequent the library.  Working a part-time gig with a bit of a weird schedule is something I haven’t really done since university but it has given me a lot more time to work on creative projects and tattooing folks has kind of closed the gap, income-wise. I think my biggest challenge so far has been managing my time. I feel like I’m chronically late (thankfully rarely for work) but somehow I’ve been able to hold it together.

KC: What’s important to you?

Figuring out how to live an ethical and compassionate existence. I really want to fight through my bitter cynicism and tendency to isolate myself and actually give people a chance.

KC: What do you like most/least about Regina?

It took a really long time but I feel like I’ve kind of cultivated a pretty nice community in this city. I genuinely feel like people have my back. This has become more and more of a tangible thing over the last couple of years. When I get back from a tour I often fall into a bit of a depression but it has been a softer landing each time. Pals will actually check up on me. When I was laid off from my job last April I had a bunch of people sending me job postings. Knowing and being able to feel that people actually care about what happens to me is a relatively new thing for me and I’m super grateful.

That being said Regina is sometimes hell of isolating. It’s hard to live in a city where a lot of people think you’re kind of weird and gross unless you sort of keep to your bubble of cool people. But that isn’t exactly conducive to growth or new relationships. Regina is also super booze-y and I’m (mostly) sober so that further complicates things. It turns out a lot of social bonding rituals or like even flirting are pretty dependent on being kind of trashed.

KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?

One of my oldest friends lives in Saskatoon. We’ve known each other since I was 16 and I’ve been making a point to come visit at least once a year since then. So in some ways Saskatoon feels kind of like a bit of a second home. I don’t really think Saskatoon is that different from Regina, although since playing more shows in the city I’ve also come to make a few pals in the music scene and I feel like Saskatoon maybe has a bit more going on on the more DIY, weirdo side of things; like stuff that isn’t just dude-centric hardcore. I seem to get a better response to my work there.  There are also more women in bands/making music, which is cool. I always feel weird about being the only woman on stage.

KC: How do you survive the winters?

I have pretty rank Seasonal Affective Disorder so like by holding on for dear life? Actually the last couple of winters haven’t been too bad. Late-fall/winter is usually when I work on recording and this year I really want to put out a full-length for both of my projects. I also resolve to actually leave the city between now and next summer’s tour. I’ve made a lot of cool pals in other cities in the last couple of years and I don’t get to see them often enough.

KC: (From the Proust Questionnaire) What is your greatest fear?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I think my greatest fear is becoming super bitter and ending up alone. There’s this thing I see with a lot of trans folks where we, to varying degrees, deal with, or in my case have dealt with, a lot of awful bullshit. Understandably, it makes you pull away from people but you end up missing out in a pretty big way. Being bitter and isolation sort of feed each other. It’s a vicious cycle and something that I’m trying my hardest to avoid.


Homo Monstrous:


Tattoo bookings:

The Sour Hour on CJTR:


@ihaveasickness on twitter and instagram