Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I moved to Toronto about six months ago and I’m absolutely loving it. The music scene is perhaps the most diverse in Canada and the genre crossover here is incredible. So many great bands I can’t even count.
How did you first start playing music?
I grew up in a musical family so I was exposed to music at a very young age. I think my first instrument was the banjo when I was in 6th grade, before that I mostly stuck to using the family’s Karaoke machine with my brother. Nickleback’s “This is how you remind me” was a pretty integral part of my musical development.
What’s been happening recently?
Shit’s been going down in Kashmir I’ve heard. And a guy named Andrew Yang wants to offer every American a thousand dollars a month. Personally though I’ve been taking it pretty easy. The summer has been very kind to me, lots of reading in the park, shooting hoops and chatting with friends over drinks until the wee small hours of the morning.
Where and when did you record your debut album ‘Listerine Dream’?
Listerine Dream was a three-year process and recording took place across the three cities I’ve lived in during that time: Victoria, Montreal and out here in Toronto. It might sound grand and expensive but I record everything on my laptop, which means I can basically just keep working wherever I go. Maybe I’ll record the next one in Japan!
How did you go about writing the music?
Rhythm and melody first. I’ve had conversations with friends who say that they can write a song by starting with the lyrics first and I’m always quite jealous of that. I can only imagine that writing all the lyrics before starting anything else can really help deepen the message behind the song. Personally though I always start with a little beat, hum a melody and then finally insert syllabically appropriate lyrics at the end.
What influenced the sound and songwriting?
Oh man, everything really! I love discovering new art and artists but the joy of discovery is exponentially greater when I hear music from a genre I wasn’t previously familiar with. This year I’ve taken a pretty deep dive into metal – something I never really listened to before, and that has yet to really influence my sound. But man, everything. Music is so cool and there’s so much out there, what’s crazy to me is that for every popular band, there’s probably thousands of other artists of equal measure that I may never get the chance to hear. I’m going to try and workout a listening regiment so I can burn through as much of the world’s library of music as possible before I’m gone.
What programs/instruments did you use?
I’m a simple man, Logic Pro X with a midi keyboard and my roommate’s electric guitar is my usual rig. However I do find it limiting at times, so I try to jam out ideas live with friends whenever I have the chance too.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the creation process?
The creation process is incredibly rewarding. It’s exciting and cathartic and just so healthy. I feel very lucky to be in a position where I can create art all the time. What isn’t so fun however is the “finishing” process. I can write songs all day but when it comes time to mix them or do overdubs I get cranky and bored. My friend Andrew Feels is a good ally for stuff like that. He’s a finisher alright.
How did the concept for the ‘Shoes’ video come about?
Stylistically it’s a play on Vulfpeck’s video editing style. No need to work on getting fancy zooms and perfect shots right off the bat, instead, shoot wide and have a laugh in the editing process. Conceptually I think Shoes is sort of a hodgepodge of half ideas synthesized into a single video. It’s funny, I have a few good friends from out west who produce videos under the moniker Ft. Langley. They’re usually my go to guys when I’m in Victoria, but anytime they’re not around I find it difficult to justify spending money on a video directed by anyone else. Instead, I just try and focus my energy on learning how to do it myself, I figure it will help me out in the long run. For example, my last video, Cinema, was done by me as well, painstakingly, frame by frame, over the course of a week. It’s not easy, and perhaps not as traditionally pretty, but It’s fun to be in the driver’s seat for both the music and the visuals, and I really like the finished product!
Where and when did you film and who with?
Shoes is split up between shots of Toronto and shots of Victoria. It was filmed by myself, Noah O’Neil and Charles-Émile Camiré. Choreography was handled by Noah O’Neil and Jolen Maclean, and the dancers in no particular order are Me, Shane Hooper, Noah O’Neil, Pierre-Louis Camiré, Andrew Feels, Jen Severtson, Chloé Finch, Nick Joy, Rowan Mackenzie, Ben McCormack, Connor Head, and Gordon Cains. Also Hazen.
What did you most enjoy about the film making process?
The spontaneous creation and collaboration. You may be surprised to know that we actually didn’t have a script going in, instead we walked around with some beers and my Huawei P20 (with a built-in Leica lense) and spitballed ideas like “Wouldn’t it be funny if Connor walked up a wall?” or “what if instead of shoes, I wore sandals?”. It was a really good time.
What’s planned for the Shoes video?
Total viral domination. I see you Lil Nas X
Please tell us about your involvement in culture and fashion and what influences you:
Brand wise, I’m really into Stór Hestur and Brutto Bambino right now. Other than that I feel like I’m not much loyal to anything, if I see something I like (within an affordable price range) I will get it and wear it, baby. It’s all about what fits you, we can’t all be wearing Polos and Birks.
What do you like to do away from music?
I’m a huge nerd. So basically the typical nerd tropes other than D&D, that would require having friends. I like making and editing short comedy sketches, reading Wikipedia and talking to anybody who will listen.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Well god damn, the first single for the new Abbey Road 50 years remix is out and Jesus it sounds good. Other than that I’ve gotten back into that classic Laura Nyro record “Eli and the Thirteenth Confession” and I’m also really into YBN Cordae’s new project “The Lost Boy”, he seems like a really nice guy.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2019 going into 2020?
Lots of content, album two is almost ready to go so expect a couple of singles before Christmas. I’m also hoping to take a little trip to Japan so if you guys have any contacts lmk.
Any secrets that you care to share?
Bryce Dallas Howard is Ron Howard’s daughter.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Favourite food is probably Poké and my favourite hangout spot is most certainly Ted’s Collision.