Release Day Series Podcast

Ian Foster - Embracing Change and Finding Inspiration

June 21, 2023 Alex Huard Season 3 Episode 16
Release Day Series Podcast
Ian Foster - Embracing Change and Finding Inspiration
Show Notes Transcript

Hey there, fellow music lovers! In our latest podcast episode, we've got something fresh and exciting just for you. 🎧

In this heart-to-heart chat with singer/songwriter, composer, producer, filmmaker and MusicNL and East Coast Music Award(ECMA) winner Ian Foster, explore the fascinating stories behind his newest project, Close to the Bone (March 29, 2023). Discover how he's journeyed from rocking out with the Ian Foster Band to crafting a deeply introspective solo album, embracing change and pushing the boundaries of his sound. 💭🎤

Relish in the powerful connection music can forge when Ian shares the personal inspirations behind his music. And don't miss the incredible significance behind his track Voyager – the story that's bound to touch your soul. 🎸💫

Go beyond music when we dive into Ian's filmmaking journey and the challenges faced in the industry. Embrace the art of living in the moment, and let Ian remind you of the invaluable joy in creating the music you love, while breaking barriers in the process. 🎥🎵

And finally, we talk about Ian’s brief, but meaningful interaction with the legendary Gordon Lightfoot. 🌟

Don't miss out on this incredible episode packed with brilliant insights, compelling tales, and music’s unique ability to connect us all. 🙏🎧

"Release Day," an ongoing series where we sit down with Canadian musicians of all genres to discuss their latest releases from singles to albums, and their strategy behind releasing it to the world.

In making the record. It's all in the process and being in love with the process. And I think that's something I've gotten significantly better at over the course of my career. If I have a day in the studio, I mean, that's a good day. You're living the dream, right? So it's sort of like for me, just taking my time a bit more and enjoying that. The making of looking at it cliche about journey, not destination, you know? Hello everyone, and welcome to the Release Day series podcast. I'm your host, Alex Heward. And what a month to celebrate. Celebrate community, celebrate diversity, celebrate culture. It's the month of June and today, June 21, is actually Indigenous People's Day here in Canada. And it's wonderful to just have this opportunity to really focus in and recognize communities and culture and diversity within our world. And of course, June is also Pride Month. So that is awesome to see so many supporters and so many great pieces, great pieces of media, just great things to learn about and to read about and to celebrate this month of June. A couple of days ago, it's June 21. I should add today to summer solstice, as I mentioned, Indigenous People's Day and a couple of days ago, Juneteen th celebrating the emancipation of slavery of the African Americans. And it goes beyond one month in my mind, and I try as often as I can to educate, to really keep myself aware of what's happening with especially the LGBTQ plus community as well. Beyond this month, because there's just so much still adversity and discrimination that happens for all of these communities that this month is a great opportunity to shine a light on them. But it's also a great opportunity to just begin your journey or as a reminder to keep your journey of education and understanding and support going. So love the month of June. There's so many great also just movies, TV shows, videos, just things that come out to go along with this month that help kick start your education or keep your education, as I said, going. So what a great month to celebrate diversity and inclusion and culture just around the world. Well, today I am joined by an absolutely amazing artist, singer, songwriter, composer, producer, filmmaker Ian Foster. He is also Music Newfoundland and East Coast Music Award winner for his work and just a fantastic human, amazing songwriter, great composer, and he has put out a new project called Close to the Bone that came out March 29, 2023. And not only is it an album, but it's also a short film. And it is an incredibly cool project that we dive into. We dive into the production of it, of the of the album, the the short film, how he got involved with film festivals. We touch on one of his songs, Voyager, quite heavily. This was maybe even my favorite song on the album, has an incredible music video, incredible story behind it. And there's an amazing relationship that he formed following the release of this album due to the content of the song. And we also talked actually about how he wrote this song and what the inspiration was. And Ian is just an incredible speaker. He goes into some great detail. I don't think you're going to take a lot away from this. One of the other things he did for this project was he did like an art installation and he talks about what they did for that. So it's a really cool episode to just generate some really cool creative ideas for multiple marketing mediums, essentially. So I hope you really enjoy this conversation. We have a lot of fun as you'll hear off the top. We had been trying to play in this chat for a while, so I'm really glad that it happened and that you are able to hear it today. Remember, you can find all of our previous episodes on our website, You can also find the limited video series on there. And don't forget to sign up for our email newsletter that comes out weekly or Biweekly or really whenever it's ready. But the whole point is that you never miss an episode when it drops. So broadcasting from the traditional territory of the Williams Treaty's, first nations, the Mississaugas of the credit, the inishnabek, the Chip, WA, the Houdinosaunee, Wendat, Inuit and Maiti peoples, here is my conversation with Ian Foster. Ian Foster. Welcome to the release Day series, podcast man. We were just talking. We've been laughing. You and I connected in April of 2022 and you sent me your your video for Voyager and we've been talking ever since. How you doing, man? It's been I'm doing good. That's usually how I like to do press. I like to reach out and say when we talk in a couple of years from now, we'll have a great chat. No, it just makes it all the sweeter to finally be on. We kind of have a little thing in common. You started a podcast as well, eh? 2019. You had one going on. I did. It was called if and when. And conversations with Creators about why they do what they do. And it was a lot of all people that I knew somehow had some previous relationship with. And I think that just made it easier for me and maybe for them too, but definitely for me in terms of getting this going. You know, it well, it's like just having that initial history with them. And it was a lot of Newfoundland artists at the time with a couple of other we had Christina Martin on from Nova Scotia, a good friend of mine. But yeah, it was a really fun experience. I love the long form podcast. I feel like it's the antidote to the current moment we find ourselves in where everything is like a 32nd clip. To me, the podcasts are like a vinyl record or something. You spin it, you do the whole thing. And I was on tour, actually, at the time, I think years before, when I first got into podcast, probably almost ten years ago now. And just those long drives being accompanied by good conversation as a solo artist, it was a godsend. Yeah, you hear that and you're like, man, that'd be so fun to do. And it really is. You've been doing this for a long time, man. You've been in the music business for a while, then? Yeah, well, I started in 2003. I finished my English and History degree and said, not going to use that, and tossed it in the garbage. So the next logical step was to get into the music business. Well, the logical step after you get an English degree is what I did, which was go work for chapters for minimum wage for there you go. I mean, there's books there most people just want to buy, like, the South Beach Diet was popular at the time. That was the main book we were buying. It seemed it wasn't deep literature, but nevertheless but, yeah, no, I basically got a job and started gigging locally and eventually put together a band and made the first record. Took a few years, and then from there it sort of continued on, but yeah, about 20 years, I think, this year, actually. 20 years this year. What did you start out with? What kind of music were you playing when you first got started? Well, the first record was more of a rock record, and it was a full band, excellent band, named the Ian Foster Band. Very creative. That's killer. It was the classic band name, where you're like, we'll just call it this for now till we come up with something better. And then we never did, but I guess it was the age, roughly, of Matthew Goodband and Dave Matthews. There was a lot of that going on at the time, so it felt okay, I guess. But anyway, that was an all for one, one for all, everybody making the equal contributions. And so we finished that record and it was like every first record, it was epic and long and eking it out and after hours and studios and all that stuff, the classic band stuff that you do to get a record made. And then after that, I started going on the road and the band just wasn't prepared to do that. Like, the members had other commitments with family and stuff. So I basically started my solo career with that band record, which was kind of strange, but nevertheless, it led to other stuff, and then put out my own solo record. My first solo record, like, two years later, which I think was 2007 or eight. Yeah. Wild. You had a bit of an evolution as well in your sound or in the way that you approaching music. I believe I've had that with every record, to some extent, big and small and certainly from like I mean, that band record feels unrecognizable now, as it should be. I think it would be a total tragedy if I was like, guess what? Same stuff for 20 years. That would be terrible. And for me, so much of the artists that I admire the most, like Daniel Lamoir, Briano or David Byrne, these are people who've always they've always reinvented themselves. And it's really interesting to look at some of our idols, I guess now they're getting up there and so they have that full career to look back on and the ones that still seem vital, I mean, even people like Dylan, it's like he's still touring. I think he's 82, maybe, something like that. It's pretty wild. I saw him in concert a number of years ago, the same weekend I saw Leonard Cohen play similar kind of thing. Like, it was a big weekend in Newfoundland. We usually don't have big weekend, two legends here the same weekend. But, yeah, it was quite inspiring to see the vitality there. And I think it comes from embracing change and it comes from embracing new sounds and new directions and all that. So I've really tried to keep that over the years, front and center of just if something is outside the norm for me musically, I'll tend to run towards it instead of away from it. Yeah, I feel that way. I was actually just talking about this with a buddy of mine, about Mumford and Sons and how they changed. They kind of evolved and they were the first real kind of mainstream folk rock band, in my opinion. Just being really getting it out there, really getting it to people and being like, this is for the masses. That was awesome. That first album was great. And then the second album came out and you're kind of like, it's more of the same thing. But these guys are really good at melodies and writing, so I'm going to run with it a little bit. But I felt like by the time I kind of got through that second album, I was like, kind of the same thing. And then they came out with their third album, that Wilder Mind album, and it was like no banjo, right? It was like, it was like no folk. It was, you know, really keys and you're and I, I remember them getting flak like, this is in Mumburn, so what's going you can't do that. But I'm like, did you really want a third album that was exactly the same from this band? Damned if you do, damned if you don't. For me, I've also had the added benefit of being a producer for other artists. And so that has been huge for exactly what we're talking about. Because inevitably, you're now, as an artist, stepping into another artist world, and your job is not to make them sound like you, it's to make them fulfill their own sound. And so that is the challenge and the fun of that job and why I love doing that pretty much at the same level as working on my own stuff, because it's still working in the studio, it's still developing music, but you're getting a new perspective. And inevitably, if you really wanted to waste a lot of time, I guess you could listen to all my records and hear those progressions, even between records of like, oh, wow, he made these records during this time. And there's probably you could probably follow those threads through. That's great, man. That's what it's all about. There's probably nothing really more honest either than what you've just put out with Close To The Bone. Honest and new and really close and personal to you. This is an incredible film and album project that you've done. Talk to us about Close to The Bone, your new album. Thanks, Alex. Yeah, that was an interesting, almost like, meditative exercise. I don't know how much you're into that world, but it's sort of like when you're trying to meditate, it's like as soon as you start to think, you know, you sort of lost you sort of lost it. So you're like, I'm really trying to think about not thinking. Like, there's a lot of, like, what it feels like. There's just layers. You're you're sort of feeling away or whatever. And I guess I got to five minutes, Ian. I got to five minutes in headspace. I was, like, five minutes. I was like, I got to try and get beyond five minutes. I never did, but I tried. Sorry to interrupt you. No, not at all. I've tried. Yeah, it is hard. It is hard, the observe your thoughts thing. And I'm like, I'm observing and then you're, like, on to what you're doing that night immediately. It's very challenging. It's a life work, let's face it. But, yeah, I mean, for this record, there was an element of that, I suppose, in the sense that, as per what we were saying with the changing things up, I just was bored with what I was doing. So I was really trying different approaches. Like, I wasn't picking up the acoustic guitar to write anything. I would be starting with drum loops and sort of more mood stuff. Like, I do work as a composer for film as well. And so I was pulling in probably some of those skills, those muscles, using those muscles to sort of develop that way. And it was a deliberate effort to steer away from the traditional way of doing it and being, like, not thinking about trying to write a personal album. This is why this is how I'm trying to link up this probably flimsy meditation analogy I'm building here. But it's like, I wasn't trying to do that. And then, I guess, ironically, or as a result of not trying, I think it actually ended up as a more personal product. I'd taken away that sort of that artistic pressure sometimes, especially if you're writing about something personal, you're obviously close to it and you could put a lot of pressure on yourself or worry that is this actually conveying it exactly right, and so on and so forth. And there was just none of that. I guess I just created the space for myself, to be honest, about what I was doing. And then that came out, especially in the lyrics, of course, those stories that ultimately it's a record about. It's certainly not biographical, but it's certainly inspired by some stories my mother told me about growing up just a few streets from where I live now in St. John's. The circularity of life was that generational thing was really interesting to me as a concept. And the stories, the more specific imagery, she was caring for her mother who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis at a time where there was even less treatments than now. And so it was quite compelling. She was probably a mid to late teenager when she was carrying her mother up the stairs, things like that. Just really stories of resilience and very powerful imagery of the roles of the mother and the daughter swapped. And so, yeah, I just felt like it was the right time to tell that part of that family story, which is ultimately a story many have faced. And that's one of the beautiful things about art in general, and this project specifically, is the number of people who suddenly are talking to you about like, oh, yeah, I've gone through that. And then the beauty of having some of those conversations. I've just gotten some really gotten into some really nice conversations with both friends and strangers about this stuff. Yeah, as you should. It's heavy. But to go back to quickly, the instrumentation and the feeling that you brought to it, I think is perfect. I think if you came into telling this story, telling these stories or bringing this feeling to life, playing a full band doesn't really feel like it's the right fit. I can only imagine what you were maybe sitting there thinking, was this like a pandemic? I hate to use the term, but was it pandemic? Like, did it come to you? I often say this is specifically not a pandemic project. Just to tell people, just so that they're not like, okay, don't need to hear another song about how you're locked in the bedroom or whatever. No, and it's not even that. But I feel like we've all been left with opportunity to think to your point, you're trying not to think about it, but you just have that opportunity, or you have the opportunity to talk to people. You have the opportunity to really think, to be like, I want to explore something new. But that isn't what happened. So I'm not going to go much further on that. I should say, actually, that the record was started about a year before the pandemic. But inevitably a bunch of it was made then, and there were challenges to the record and probably some benefits, if I'm honest. Just that time obviously was weird. That's one thing we're all talking about, the nature of. There's articles written about that, about how we all culturally and I guess globally felt time shift during the pandemic because everything seemed to stop and time seemed to reflect that. It was both fast and slow at the same time. But I think that in the bubble of this record, pandemic analogy bubble, it gave myself, my co producer, Mark Turner, that little bit of extra time. The downside was he lives in Toronto and couldn't be here, so it was a lot of this zoom esque type chats. But he's also a friend and was before the record was made. So the process we embarked on was me sort of sending him ideas. I really got into this, and I'm still doing it today, actually, with the film project. I'm working right now with a director who's open to it. I'm just sort of throwing ideas at them, throwing them at the wall, seeing what sticks. I find it an incredibly liberating way to work, especially when I think artists can be really sensitive about their work and really hold on to it tightly. I've definitely been that artist like, resisting change once you get to the studio and all of that stuff. But I find that going in the other direction is just so fun. It's so free flow. It's like, okay, this is a cool idea. This is not. You can let things fight it out in the boxing ring of opportunities and ideas, and it can really yield some special work, and it's just really fun to work that way. You sort of are open to everything. And I did that a lot with Mark in his role as co producer for the record. So I'd throw ideas at him. We'd have these long chats. He'd write me these long messages. It was not a conventional coproducing situation, I don't think. It was more of an extended dialogue and really about iteration. I think taking an idea and going, okay, let's iterate on this a little. Let's let it sit for a little while. And I think as a result of that, that's feeding into, I guess, your point as well. It evolved so organically and over such a long period of time that some of those traps you could have fallen into, of being really deliberate about something like that all just sort of washed away in that process. Yeah, that's huge. That's huge. Being able to have somebody to do that with, whether it's whether it's current producer or a friend or another artist bouncing ideas, is it is incredibly liberating and I think a huge part of being able to get to really what your intent is. I mean, there's a point where it's got to stop where you have to be deliberate, where you have to say, okay, we've done this. We've gotten to where we've said no enough times. I think we've arrived at where we're at and we're ready to move forward. But that process is I work in my full time job, creatively with a great creative team, and that's part of what we do, is I set up these calls to be like, Look, I just want to talk things out. It's okay if it sucks, but this is in my head. And Ed Sheeran says it best, too, right? Like, write to get all that crap out, bounce the ideas off to get out the garbage and get to where you are intentionally needing to go and deliberately needing to go, and you'll end up at a point where you feel like, yeah, okay, we're here. You might even experience this moment of, what am I doing? Where am I supposed to go? How is this going to come together? Lord knows I've felt that way with many a project. I think that's a moment in every project. I don't think I've ever worked on a project where I haven't thought, like, Is this any good? I think that's a good sign when you're asking the question. It's more of just a quality check than serious existential doubt, I think, is that you should be checking in with yourself. As long as you don't let it crush you, you're okay. Exactly. Yeah. No, absolutely. Well, as I'm listening to this album, it's been kind of referenced some, like, 80s sort of synth pop feel to it as well. But I get bleachers. Do you know the band Bleachers? I've heard of the Bleachers. I've probably heard a little bit, but it's not a direct influence, for sure. Oh, man. And I don't mean to say that's what it's just great act. Jack attenoff Antonoff works a lot with Taylor Swift. Batten explosions in the Sky You've got a great sound, again, accompanying, really, these heavy songs. One song I'd love to just talk about, and it came out pretty maybe even your first single was Voyager. That was what you had sent to me. And the music video is incredible. It's a great animated piece. And sort of this growing up, right? It's this growing up between father and son, if I remember correctly. I watched it a while ago, but I just remember having this feeling watching it, where I was like, man, I've got a couple of sons now and then just like, this is so great. Talk to me about sort of the underlying message with this song because the music video is kind of, I think, intended to be about Voyager in space, but I get a few different feelings from it. So I'd love to hear directly from you what Voyager is all about. Right? Yeah. So the story of writing the song came from the Bam Center in Alberta. I was out there for a songwriter residency program. And that's such a cool situation. And set up. They give you this little hut. It's very rustic. It has a piano in it that's tuned up and all the gear you could want, and you just sit there in the woods and watch deer walk by and write songs. And they have restaurants and stuff, so you get the rural, chilled out feel and you get to also eat regularly. So it's great. They have it all set up to basically be like, we've taken care of everything and your job is to just work on what you're doing. So I was reading at the time, I guess, the paper, and was reading about the Voyager passing into interstellar space or the space between the stars. And that was worded that way in the NASA press release. And I thought that was quite poetic. And I've made this joke on stage at shows where I say, if you want some insight into the genius of songwriting, just know that I read that and then opened the notes file on my phone and wrote the space between the stars write song about space probe. That was my deep, thoughtful, artistic note to prosthetic, right? I mean, basically done. I guess I read that before, and then I was sort of going back through ideas when I was at the Bam Center. And one of the things that struck me about it at the time and this, I think, really made it into the song is that that story in whatever I read at the Guardian or the Times or whatever, was, like, story number ten that day. Like, there were nine or so more important stories in the world, and it was all the usual bullshit we read in the paper every day. But somehow this furthest flung object ever made by humankind into our universe that has been telling us who we are in in fundamental ways. I mean, the famous blue dot picture. Like all this stuff that wasn't as important and it seemed like that was quite in the macro. I guess that idea. Right. That we're in such a strange time of disconnect and there was something so beautiful about this that we came together and made this thing that has given us so much information as a species is really special. It's very pro science, of course, and all that stuff, too. So I wrote the song and have been playing it at shows for years before I even recorded it. It's probably the oldest song, actually, on Close to the Bone, and it's definitely a special song. I've definitely had special relationships with audiences via that song, so I'm pretty grateful for its existence. When it came time to make the video, I worked with this director, Andrew Winter, and Mira Howard was the illustrator for the video. And I basically co wrote the story with Andrew, and I was researching for it. We were trying to figure out exactly how to hang. Andrew had ideas for the actual space animations and how to approach it visually. But we were looking for that story to hang the video on. We didn't just want it to be space images. That feels like it would have just been pretty basic. And I came across this incredible story about the makers of the Voyager. And again, it was like this long form journalism piece had some really amazing little nuggets of information. Like one of the Engineers, when he went to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he had crossed a few states from his home state and that's the furthest he'd ever traveled in his life. He had never traveled abroad or anything like that. I thought that was an amazing juxtaposition, which is sort of featured in the video. It's a little esoteric, of course, but, like, sort of the car driving across the desert. Contrast it with the Voyager drifting through space, this furthest flung object. And here's a guy who just did his interstate journey was his biggest journey he'd ever made to build this thing. And there's also cool stuff like the Engineers are now retiring because they're obviously quite elderly at this point. The people who originally built the Voyager in the prime of their career back in the they're hiring, like, amazing MIT Grads who are like, how do you work this gear? Because all the gear is dated from the 70s, so it's like Star Trek, the original Enterprise. Like, it's buttons and dials and things instead of, like, touch screens. And I thought that was all just really fascinating and that sort of passage of time and stuff. So we sort of made it as a little tribute, I guess, to that article and what we read about the real humans behind this thing that they figured might last three or four years or seven years at most. And it's now middle aged out there in the universe and still has a little bit of juice in it somehow, even though it's exponentially less powerful than even the phone that's in my pocket. It's pretty wild. That's so cool because the whole chorus is just keep talking. What I had known about the album and from the short film, which we're going to get to, it felt like if I didn't see the video, it felt very much like this relationship between young and old, which it is, but in a familiar sense, it's like, you're older, you know, more. We want you to keep talking to us and keep educating us and keep passing on your knowledge to us. And then even when they pass on, it's like, just keep talking. What else are you sending me? What else can we get from you? And that was something that it just hit me in that way. When you talk about, again, sort of the greater idea of close to the bone, being with, caring for people and mostly your song Preexisting condition, but feeling like this. Caring for older people. And as we get older with age, you talk about it being about identity and in mourning periods, and this time when you feel change in your life and yeah, it was so cool to see the video and then listen to it in the context of the album. Just hit me in a whole different way. Oh, that's cool. I do feel like that song probably more than most like, I agree with you. It's probably most open to interpretation. I guess a bunch of them are. But that one, I've experienced it, I've played it. Like I said, it was one of the older songs on the record. And it's okay to be drinking coffee here, right? This is that casual, of course. Having a nice little coffee day here. Cheers, man. We should have brought these up earlier. Yeah, exactly. Where's my release day coffee mug? Isn't that the one? All right, you heard it here, folks. We'll get it in we'll get it in the works. We'll get it in the works. And if it fails at Dean's fault sorry, if that shows up in my. Mail one day, I'll be like, Alex is doing good. That's how I know. You know what, man? You can expect it. You can expect it. That's going to happen. I would love it. Yeah. What was I talking about? Yeah, the different interpretations. Obviously. Playing it for audiences as one of the oldest songs on the record, you get more reaction. You've just played it for more people in a room with people. But I've had people like, there's a friend of mine who is a minister. He's like, I think the song is about God. And I'm like you would think that. No, I'm just kidding. Of course. Yeah, but of course, it's the cosmos. It's the great it makes sense, right? And like you said, there's that personal aspect of just keep talking. Of course, it could be in the literalness of the song. It's the idea that the Voyager is dying. It's powering down. We won't continue to receive messages from it, but it is ultimately what when I was telling you earlier about where this came from, the idea that that was story number ten about the Voyager, it's like the other nine stories are about us not talking. Really. And I mean, that globally, right? There's so much division. We're so ready to cut each other off and cut each other down. We're talking in an age of constant connection. We're really talking less than ever. Yeah, we're talking too much without context, too. We're talking so much without it's funny. Everybody talks about it. Oh, you don't send that in an email because don't don't send that in a text message or oh, I took it wrong because you sent it as a text message. Well, that's literally how we're talking. That's how anybody is talking now. It's the reason that even though I'm on it and I'm not active at all, as you'll see if you visit it. But Twitter, I've never understood Twitter, and I know right now it's popular to bitch about Twitter, but just stepping back and looking at it's, a platform that up until a little while ago, it only had 180 characters. I think it's 240 now or whatever. It basically values declarative statements without context. I mean, what could go wrong here? We are exactly seeing the results of that. It's a very antisocial social media, like, more than the others. Here's the thing. I'm okay if you want to go out in there and make a statement, but it's everybody else who reacts to it the way that they do, where you're like, why are we just more curious as to why this person feels this way instead of just throwing your feelings? Got it. I mean, for me, the example I've. Given us, we're getting into. But say that again. Sorry. This is a whole other podcast. You can cut this if you want. But the day that I realized it just wasn't for me was the day that I read one of a tweet that I was satisfied with, where I was like, someone was talking about an issue which is supposed to be Twitter, too. Right? I kind of go to the onions. Twitter, like, satirical because the headlines, it's just one liner jokes. It excels at that as a platform, that's fantastic. But it was someone saying, let's unpack this one of ten, and then two of ten, three of ten, four of ten. And then they all had different retweet numbers. Like, number six was the most retweeted tweet of this ten tweet thing. And I read all ten was like, hey, look, somebody actually managed to get some context in there and some nuance, but they had to break the nature of the platform, really, to pull that off, right? Yeah. And that, to me, is the part that's like, okay. Yeah. And there's actually a lot of that now, a lot of threads. There's, like, part one of this thread and that thread, just to wrap this up. Actually, if you get Twitter Blue, you have as many characters, I'm pretty sure, as you want. Now, if you subscribe, if you pay the monthly fee yeah. You can just keep going. Wow. Anyways, great song, man. Would it be incredible if you were like because you just said you worked at this creative company and you were like, by the way, it's Twitter that I work at. That's what we're bitching about. That's where we bounce off ideas and they go nowhere. Yeah. But honestly, Voyager and I think that's the signs of a really good song is being able to take that, being able to start from something like what you did with Voyager, the actual Voyager, and people can take that and liken it to anything that they want. So it's just fantastic. And again, instrumentally big fan of how this song comes together. And really the whole album, it's very cohesive. It feels like an album was put together. Oh, that's good to hear. Yeah. And I'll actually just close off on Voyager quickly by saying, like, a favorite moment in recent years for me came via that song and interpretations of it. I got this message from an employee at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA who had heard the song and was like, passing it around the office and reached out. And we're like Facebook friends now. And I thought that was so cool. That's definitely just a highlight of, like, wow, people in NASA are listening. Take me to space. We all have our own goals. But for me, I'm like, if that's all that happened for me, if that was the one person that I connected with, like, amazing. Totally. And that's so great. It did its job, man. Wow. So you also had a film, Close To the Bone short film to accompany this album. So you're also a filmmaker. That's been happening for quite a few years as well. You've been lifelong filmmaker as well. About a decade, I would say. And it grew out of basically scoring films, I guess. Like, inevitably you make friends in the arts community and someone's making their first film and they're like, would you do this? You know, music? And of course, it doesn't work like that, but it also does because how else do you learn? So I started on some small just, oh, yeah, that'd be fun to try. And really enjoyed it and then just have been growing that side of what I do for years, both as a composer, like, I'm currently scoring my first feature documentary for the National Film Board, which is certainly a career highlight so far in that side of my career. So I'm loving that work. And then after a few years of composing and I guess seeing films in various stages of andres, because it really does vary per project, you get stuff that's basically done, and then you also get stuff that's like, it's not fully done at all. It's not colored. The final sound is not there. Sometimes they're still kind of working on the edit a bit or whatever. And that was sort of like a very cheap film school experience for me, right? Because I got to see behind the scenes in a really hands on, direct way that I hadn't before. And just all those conversations with directors who were also friends. So they'd be talking to me about the process and the cruise and all that stuff. So I was just kind of soaking in a bunch of that. And then inevitably, at one point just decided to throw my hat in the ring and be like, well, I'm going to spend some money on coffee and sandwiches and call in some favors and friends and see if we can make a little movie. So I made my first short back in 2000. And was it 13, I think, or twelve, something like that. It's called One More Song and it's based on a short story and a song that I wrote for my album The Evening Light back in 2011. And yeah, it was about a ten minute ish film and won a couple of awards and got licensed to CBC and that was pretty amazing for our first film. And that afforded me the opportunity to get into the Pitcher Start program, which is a program here in Newfoundland that's basically like a bigger training program. They give you like a fairly large budget for a short because shorts are usually made on pretty much nothing. But you get a full crew and you get the full experience and it's basically like a program made to go, okay, if you multiplied this by ten, this will be how a feature is made. You get three days of shooting, but it's a full crew and blah, blah, blah, blah. So that was a really good experience as well that did a couple of great things. It was called Keystone and I guess this is technically my third film, like short narrative fiction film, though I've done some music videos and stuff for other people. So yeah, it's been a little side project that's just been ticking along in my life. Side career. I don't know what you would call it, but it's certainly the passion side of it a little bit more. But it's something that I want to keep doing and keep growing that as well because I love it and I love this sort of kind of messed up director composer relationship. Obviously, Close To The Bone is like the ultimate throwing your head in the ring of like the whole project is sort of based on that. Of like it's this truly synergistic. It's both an album and a film and they both inform each other. Yeah, it's great. It's great. Companion piece. I got to ask the question, did you get funding to do this? Because it's one thing to make an album and to put what you need to into creating an album and then you're going to do a short film on top of this. How did you make all that work? Funding is the short. Nice answer for sure. Certainly I would have abused a lot of people's time if I didn't have funding because it takes a village to make stuff like this and you need to need to be able to pay them. And God knows it's not through record sales, in case you haven't noticed other artists you've been talking to. I was lucky. And I mean, to be honest with you, that's basically the journey of every film. And that was something that I learned from Pitcher Start because I went through some of the funding bodies I had with that program. But that's truly in the film world. I mean, in every world, but film is just so expensive. You could make ten albums for the cost of one film. Usually so much of that and the time when you hear about movies taking years, usually a couple of those years are just getting the money together, finding the right sources for it. That's the sort of challenge there. But that's all a piece of it, of course. Yeah. And there's been great it sounds like you've had really incredible success with what you do. Because even with this, I mean, this short film came out before the album and played at film festivals. Yeah. And that was sort of a decision by me and my little team of people to sort of be like, what can we do with this that's just different and embrace the weirdness of the project, I guess just in the sense that it's not a conventional album, which I'm really excited about because, God knows, like Man Releases album is not much of a news story. So it's fun to just do something different with it. And we were like, well, film festivals are a route. Definitely was a risk because it's a longer film in terms of the short film world. Like, a short film is usually like five to ten minutes. It's kind of the ideal time frame. This is 22. It's ultimately a silent film where music is telling the story. So it's a different kind of it could be perceived as a series of music videos even though it's not that. So, yeah, there was sort of like, it's funny how people go, that's such a cool project, that's great, that must be awesome. And you're like, it is. But it's a double edged sword because the weirder the thing is and by weird I mean I'm being relative, of course, just weird in terms of what I'm saying, like length and format and stuff. You're really hoping to slip into a niche that you hope is out there somewhere. Like you hope that a festival looks at it and goes, this fits because we have a music theme this year, or something like that. And you don't make it thinking about that because that's too arbitrary. You just kind of make it and then cross your fingers that somebody wants it. Length of time too. Right? I mean, it's like if your documentary or project or something isn't between six minutes and an hour and a half, or if it is six minutes or it's an hour and a half, then it qualifies. Like you got a 22 minutes, 20 minutes ish project here. There's not a whole lot of film festivals that are like, we're looking for a 2030, which I think is your point. That is my point. And there was a bunch it just wasn't eligible for as a result. Like, it'd be like up to 20 minutes and you're like, okay. Or up to 15 minutes or whatever. And even the ones that are I mean, you really do there's a lot of bitter musicians out there, a lot of bitter artists. But you have to the the antidote to bitterness is to try to to look at it from the other perspective realistically, not just in an emotional way, which is so easy to slip into with rejection or whatever, but you sort of go like a 22 minutes film would be like four other films, right? So is it four times better than any one of those films? And not that it's just about better, but you know what I mean, it's that thing where a festival has to go. We want to program the most people possible, to give the most people an opportunity. Or to make the most money or to make the most money off submissions. Right? I don't know. You want to go the bitter route? Let's do this. No, I'm just kidding. I did the same thing, man. I had a documentary we did in 2016 that we put out. It was about just over an hour long and it was about a hip hop artist in Toronto and him sort of going through the creation of his latest album and really feeling like he wasn't motivated anymore because of the way that the music world and the way that art really has been going, which is just to over consumption, to this the point where if you're not dropping an album or something every two weeks or if you if you go through so much time to put an album together, then, you know, a week later, people have moved on and it's like, what's? You know, that's the bitter angle. He's like, what's the point of this? And that was kind of what he went through, and that was what it was kind of all about, was sort of essentially what a lot of artists are facing. And we got into one we got into one festival in Toronto, the Toronto Indie Film Festival. But otherwise, yeah, it was just no. The rejection rate of film festivals is wild. I would probably place it at roughly 20 to one. And that's through experiences of directors that I could name, that you would know and have heard of, that are in major movies, and they make a film and it gets into one out of 20 festivals. It's pretty insane. So what's kind of the next steps for you, then? I also saw you did actually, I'll interrupt my own thought there for a second. An audiovisual installation as well, for the film. Yeah, that was another again, this whole project has been and continues to be it's so funny. When a record comes out, we often work towards the record and go, and now it's out, done. And you're like, that's a weird place to end. When you're like, this is the first time people can actually finally hear it. So it's constantly this whole project, whether it's the film festival route or the installation route we'll talk about now, it's always just like, what new way can we find to engage people with this? Because God knows streaming is what it is. And I don't even just mean money, which is usually the conversation, but just the discoverability involved in that and the challenges there. The installation was basically taking the film and breaking it out into its parts and projecting those parts in a public space, in this case, the Corner Brook Public Library in Newfoundland. And so we had some team members, I think from Grenville and other stuff, who kind of built little mini sets, would sort of decorate just a few little make it look vaguely kitchen like with some drapes and stuff for the kitchen scene. And we would use that part like the middle distance section of the film we would show there. And then they would move through like a walking kind of exhibit, and they would see the dance sequence projected downwards onto the floor and would watch it in this large atrium space that sort of mimics the large space in the film for the preexisting condition segment. So it was a really interesting and interactive thing. I will say there were some problems that led to a kind of a funny story, which was that we arrived there and the Corner broke public library. Like it's a fringe festival, cbnui beautiful festival that's like a nighttime walking festival, basically in September in Cornerbrook. And so the day they went in to set up, we're like, well, we have all day. This is great. And so we're getting set up. And again, there was a team that the festival had to set up. And we had done all the tech checks before and we had all these projectors rented and we set them all up and everything was working. It was looking good. It's September, so still early in the fall. It doesn't get dark till maybe like 637 o'clock. And the festival starts, I think, at nine or ten. And then as it gets dark, all of the lights come on inside the library. And it turns out that the library was on sensors for like the library is never open in the evenings, so the people were not prepared. Like staff had even gone home. And then we called a staff member in and they're like, and this is classic, I'm sure there's a lot of cities like this. The library in this case was like attached to the city hall, and it was all on a grid controlled from city hall. Like the library actually didn't have the ability to affect the lighting at all. So we're standing in a fully lit up library about an hour before people are supposed to come in. And it's projector based, so you can't see anything because the lights are on. And we're like, what are we going to do? And this is so small town perfect that the mayor of Cornerbrook is this guy named Jim Parsons. And he used to run before he was mayor. He used to run a music venue that I had played a bunch of times. And so I knew him and still had his contact in my phone. So I called his cell phone and was like, Mr. Mayor, I'm just wondering if you can come down and turn off the lights at this library for me. So I just called the mayor and asked him to come down and turn off. That's all it takes. And I felt pretty great in that moment, I have to say that. I was like, maybe there's something to this influencer thing. Save the day. That's wild, man. That's so cool. What do you get? A great way to just keep the story alive and moving it forward, man. That's so awesome. I love to be able to talk about this kind of stuff and have those listening, really just kind of take it as an idea as to what they can do. I know it's expensive and I know that it takes a lot to go and write a short film and you got to have the personality and the mindset like you do to really go out there and do it. But, I mean, it's such a great avenue. It's really cool what you've done for this album and the project. You've taken this opportunity to explore these mediums and bring it to people in different ways. It's so cool. Well, thanks, Alex. Yeah, I've said this to artists when I'm working with them as a producer. If they're like newer artists or whatever, where I'm like, you really just need to make the record and then start the promotional thought then just in the sense that I certainly didn't know we'd do an installation necessarily, that it would be in any film festivals. Like the routes to promote it and those different things, they're special, too, because I was really excited about that installation thing just because it was different. Again, back to that theme of trying new things and also just to see I was kind of like, no matter what happens with that, it was just an opportunity to see if that's a cool way to connect with people or not. Whether it actually turned it turned out good, but it's like if it hadn't, it still would have been like, I'm glad we did that because I'd never run an installation like that before with video and that sort of thing and music. And so that was a really fun thing to experience. But of course, in making the record, it's all in the process and being in love with the process. And I think that's something I've gotten significantly better at over the course of my career. I think when you're younger, you're like, let's get the record out. It's just really exciting. It's all about and there's all these deadlines we impose on ourselves, which, again, if you're not with Sony, what's the deadline? Do you know what I mean? If it's not like a million dollar record deal where they're like, we have to put this out. We're all indie artists, especially in Canada. I'm not sure there is a label that has that level of pressure on their artists. You know what I mean? That it's. Like, if it doesn't come out, everything will come crashing down tomorrow. And that can be a little existential what does it all mean? Kind of thing. Or it can be like a gift, you know? It can be let's take the time, fall in love with the process, spend the time in studio, like when we were when we're kids and we're, like, dreaming about being a musician. That's the thing you're actually dreaming about. You're not dreaming about promotional tours, you're not dreaming about press articles. I mean, maybe you are, but it's more about can't wait to whatever. But it's just like, to me, if I have a day in the studio, I mean, that's a good day. You're living the dream, right? So it's sort of like, for me, just taking my time a bit more and enjoying that. The making of looking at it, cliche about journey, not destination. Amazing. Yeah, 100% agree. Look, man, I think that's a great place to wrap it up. But one last thing I did want to ask, there is a photo of you on your Instagram with Mr. Gordon Lightfoot, and I want to know, what is he saying to you? Was there one thing that you got that he was said that you were like, I'm going to keep doing this. What is this conversation that you're having with, unfortunately, rest in peace with the great Gordon Lightfoot, but I'd love to know the story of this image. Yeah, I think he was saying, Where can you get a good burger? No. I saw that one. Yeah. Give up, Ian. It's not worth it. Oh, my God. Yeah, no, that would be incredible. We have photo of it. No, I did this set when he was here at the Arts and Culture Center years ago and at his show and got to meet him and chat and go backstage and all that stuff. And I got to be honest, I know that's not romantic to say and maybe shocking, but I don't remember what specifically he said. I just remember it's. Okay. It was definitely more small talky. I think it wasn't like a legendary piece of. Listening to you. And he was like, hey, I really like that song, or, hey, keep doing what you're doing. No, it was just it really was working at a Bird. Yeah, I'm sure he said something like, Good job or whatever, but it was like, it's funny because sometimes people are disappointed by that. And I think about it, I'm like, I mean, what kind of famous jerk would you have to be if you met a stranger and you were like, here's some prime advice in, like, the 30 seconds you're talking to them? Are you proselytizing? Like, what are you doing? You're just going around presenting your wisdom to people. Right? But it's that old saying of, like, you might forget what they said, but not how they made you feel or whatever, right. So it's like he was just a down earth. He was a nice guy. And I mean, of course, inevitably, I was a bit nervous because you're like, it's a legend. And it's definitely one that's important to me, too, right. In the sense that various songwriters like him and I would certainly count, like Ron Hines here in Newfoundland, and there's certain people who truly did pave the way more directly than others for the work that I've done in my career, largely that sort of solo male singer songwriter storyteller. These were the OG people to do that in the country. So I think even if the style is completely different, anyone like me owes those people a debt of gratitude. So I was just happy that he wasn't a jerk, really. Yeah. Hey, man, that's fair, too. I mean, sometimes you get in those situations, you're just kind of like, I don't even know what's happening right now. I don't know what he's saying. Am I really here? Exactly. I totally respect that as well. Well, Ian, close to the bone again. Fantastic album, fantastic short film. We could keep going here. But I do want to say, if you can go check out great Dark Wonders article on your preexisting condition single when that came out. And check out that music video. I mean, check out everything around this. But that was a great little article as well to give some background on that song because it is a big part of the album that I purposely didn't talk about because you can find this to talk about in a great publication like Great Dark Wonder. And so yeah, so please link to the link to the short film. The album are all in the notes. And man, Ian, thank you for taking the time, finally for us to talk about your project on the Release Day Series podcast. Oh, thank you, Alex. And again, I'm glad it finally happened. I love this podcast. Like, I think you're doing something special here. So yeah, thanks. You can discover more podcast episodes as well as our limited video series on our website, And if you'd like to support the show, we've added that option to the website as well. Send us a dollar, $3, $5, whatever you'd like. Any support helps. But most importantly, we appreciate you listening and sharing the podcast.