by Carey Rutherford
Quick!! Non-Stampede Music’s Comin’!
Gianna Lauren is on the phone from Vancouver, just before her first show of the tour that takes her across Canada to her home on the east coast.
It goes like this: July 2nd Vancouver, The Railway Club; 5th Victoria, GOAT Festival; 7th Kamloops, Zack’s Cafe; 8th Calgary, Broken City;10th Edmonton, Wunderbar; 11th Calgary, The Palomino; 12th Saskatoon, House Concert; 15th Toronto, Junction Music Hall; 16th London, Grooves Record Store; 16th London, Out of Sound Haus; 17th Toronto, Burdock Music Hall; 19th Peterborough, House Concert.
And yes, concerned citizens, I DID warn her about coming to Calgary Twice during the Stampede, but she’s not afraid. Apparently.
“I’m on tour with a 4-piece band (Mauno), and we’re doing a combination of tracks from my 2010 record (‘Some Move Closer, Some Move On’), my 2013 (‘On Personhood’), and the upcoming (this fall, ‘Moon Through Window’) release.The folks that I recorded with in 2013 in Ontario ended up coming out to Nova Scotia for about 11 days (that fall). We were still hot off of touring, ‘On Personhood’, and I’d written a bunch more songs for those folks in particular; though this recording process was somewhat different (than the ‘live off-the-flor’ nature of ‘On Personhood).
“We took a lot longer, and even though parts of it were ‘live’, there was a lot of time after the fact spent on additional tracking, and developing parts for different instruments. So it was more of a saturated process, that lived on even after those folks went back to Ontario.
“We really wanted to challenge ourselves with our 2nd recording together, to try new and different things. Folks had a whole bunch of agency over their parts, and that stuff takes a little longer than the ‘live off-the-floor’ spirit of (the last album).”
Back in 2013, Gianna had exulted in the choreographed live recording, based on her writing and her choice of musicians, that created a rather remarkable recording of vital ambience. An acoustic space completely realized, and yet carefully alive, which then toured with the exact people who’d created it. This time, it’s quite different.
“I don’t think I have a preference, trying to figure out now, at this stage of my life, which I like better: if I like hammering it out in that (constrained) time and space, or do I appreciate that (extra) time to let things marinate and sink in a little bit before making the final cut.. . . .I think both have their merits, and we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Gianna mentions that she’s jumping out of the college radio frying pan, for which she has been a fulltime manager in Halifax, into the fire of a full-time music career, as supporting both full-time jobs has become too difficult. In that sense, she also mentions the supportive, receptive Calgary music scene, which took them in as orphaned ‘Flood Island’ Music & Arts Festival troubadours in 2013, finding them venues, and accommodations, and even audiences, impressing the heck out of this travelling Nova Scotian. “I’ll always have a soft spot for Calgary because of that.”
Gosh (blush). Kudos to Sled Island again!
I ask Gianna about the changes in performing these much more ‘produced’ songs, as opposed to the live-recorded tracks from “On Personhood”.
“I think I’m always trying to find a way to recreate recordings live, so that we’ll have something that’s genuinely ‘live’ about the performances as well. There’s some things that are going to get left behind if you aren’t travelling with a keyboardist; and I think understanding that some things might work BETTER live than they do on a recording and vice versa.
“Just trying to be mindful of that has really been important to me.. . . . I really think that’s the ticket: the live performance is really how you engage with folks. No matter how many platforms there are nowadays for getting your music out there and connecting with people, ultimately the one and ONLY method for truly engaging and connecting with people is through the live performance. I’m very selective about where and when and how that all takes place, because I want it to be special.. . . . It’s about creating an experience, as opposed to a product.”
She’s thought this out! Are you experienced?