Where are you currently based?
I live on a little island called Pender Island, on the west coast of BC.
How did you first start playing music?
I started taking classical piano lessons when I was around 5 years old and did that until my teens when I started jazz lessons. It was around that time too that I started writing my own songs, but I didn’t start doing it seriously or performing until after high school.
What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been so far?
I feel pretty lucky to have had a fairly positive Covid experience so far. During the week I work for a local arts organization, so I’ve been able to continue doing that and providing arts programs in the community, and spending lots of time outside to beat the anxiety and uncertainty.
Your new album ‘Memory & Desire’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
Through the writing process I found myself listening to a few contemporary Canadian artists, specifically Jordan Klassen, Rose Cousins and Luca Fogale, as well as more classic artists whose music I was finally discovering including Carole King, Leonard Cohen and Beth Orton. I was really feeling a pull towards a more simplified acoustic sound that would let the story of the song be at the forefront, and each of these artists does that beautifully in their own way.
How did you go about writing the music?
The music for Memory & Desire came very naturally. At the beginning, I was just writing because I couldn’t help myself, and I wasn’t sure how or when an album would take shape, so it felt very organic. A neighbour of mine let me borrow his old tenor guitar (a 4 stringed guitar) and I was so inspired that I decided to buy one for myself. It became the tool I used to write most of the songs on the album, which was a big departure from past albums where I mostly played piano.
Where and when did you record/produce and who with?
My good friend Josh Rob Gwilliam from Calgary, AB produced Memory & Desire. We had worked together on my last album (Dearestly) and since that album had written a handful of songs together, including the second single Dear Forever. We’ve always had a great working relationship, and it was so nice to build on what we had started with Dearestly in a creative sense, but go in quite a different direction. He recorded drums and bass in Calgary and then came out to my home on Pender Island where we recorded the rest of the album.
How did you approach the recording process?
Our vision for the recording process was to keep it very simple. It’s easy to build songs up with layers and layers of sounds and textures, but it’s harder to strip it back and still have it be something really special. Once we had the core vocals and instrument, we would add parts and layers and then remove them from most of the song so what remained was really memorable and intentional.
What programs/equipment did you use?
Part of achieving the organic sound that we were going for meant using all real instruments instead of software samples. I have a house full of keyboards, and we put them to use: the Heintzman upright, an old pump organ, Moog Subphatty, and Roland Juno 60. The album also includes tenor guitar, electric guitar, electric bass, and drums. Josh’s signature Eventide processor helped sculpt a lot of the atmosphere on the album.
Your video for ‘Don’t Make a Mountain’ is out now, how did the concept for the video come about?
Back when the song was still a rough demo, I sent it to my friend Ross Bodenmann, whom I had collaborated with on a few video projects over the years. He came up with the concept of two contrasting characters who are both on different journeys through the song. Though we didn’t end up filming it for about a year after the initial idea, the vision for the video mostly stayed the same.
Where and when did you film and who did you work with?
We filmed the video in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island in late summer 2020. At the time of filming, there were huge forest fires in Washington state, and the smoke had made its way up Vancouver Island. It made for an interesting ambience in the video. Ross directed, filmed and edited the video, and a friend of his, Joshua Hanson, was the other character in the film.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the creation of the music video?
The video itself was really enjoyable to film. I played one of the two characters who is embracing a challenge and pushing through, finding wonder and satisfaction in the discoveries made along the way. We filmed it in a park that follows a creek up to a waterfall, so I got to spend the whole afternoon climbing rocks and wading in creek water, which is something I would take great joy in on any day. We filmed the performance piece after, which made for a long day but it was a really fun video to film.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been cycling through a few albums lately including All That Emotion by Hannah Georgas, Iris by Carmanah, and Sad Hunk by Bahamas.
What do you like to do away from music?
When I’m not playing music, I tend to keep myself quite busy. I really enjoy spending time outside hiking, camping, paddleboarding, or sailing (something new I’ve been learning this year). I love spontaneous get-togethers with friends, and I’m always on the hunt for the best cup of chai tea.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2020 going into 2021?
I have a collection of poems that I’ve written over the past number of years that I’m hoping to turn into a little self-published book. It’s been something I’ve been working on in the background for a while, but I’d love to have it come out in early 2021. I also got engaged recently, so I’m sure the next few months will involve a lot of wedding planning!
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I love all kinds of food, but tacos, perogies, and homemade pie are probably my top favourites. Pender Island doesn’t have too many places to hang out in the evening, so my friends and I spend a lot of time at each other’s houses, or at the beach.