A Quick Word from the Authors:
A week that carried the release of Broken Bell’s sophomore full-length and Bombay Bicycle Club’s fourth album is now in the books. With 2014 well under way the new year has already carried its fair share of surprises including the unexpected death of acclaimed actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Mac Miller’s baffling cover of Bright Eyes’ “Lua”, both of which happening within the past week.
In signaling towards more changes to come, this week we feature an exclusive interview with Edmonton’s own Tropic Harbour. Be sure to check out our premiere of Tropic Harbour’s newest song “Golden Rays” from earlier this week.
– Aaron Thomas & Anna Murphy
EARMILK: Who would you say (artists) that you draw inspiration from in your music?
Tropic Harbour: I would say artists such as Trevor Powers of Youth Lagoon and Jack Tatum from Wild Nothing both have a huge influence on me. Bands that started from one person with a cohesive vision for their music made me realize that this was something I could do. The idea that I could sit in my bedroom and work on a piece of art I could call my own made me really excited. Inspiration is a funny thing though because I can’t always place where specific ideas come from. I try and listen to as much music as I can and see what happens from there.
EARMILK: What’s the story behind your “Colour” music video?
Tropic Harbour: It’s supposed to represent my dream of living near the coast where there is perfect climate. A lot of people think the whole video was shot here in Edmonton, which I find amusing because this city is fairly inland. I wanted to have the contrast of me hanging around the closest thing I could get to the coast (the North Saskatchewan river) to the most beautiful tropical locations. I had a friend who was going on holidays both to California and Mexico and I got him to get a ton of stock footage for the video. He did a killer job on it and made it so all the footage outside of Edmonton had a dream-like feel to it by adding different filters and colouration to those scenes. The whole video is about trying to live in a conceptually ideal place even if it may only exist in my head.
EARMILK: When writing new music what is the process you go through (from inception until it is ready to be mixed and mastered)?
Tropic Harbour: I am most comfortable on my guitar so I use that as the starting point for most of my songs. I mess around until a melody or idea comes out that I can run with and see where the song takes itself. I like to focus on the song construction first as well as a vocal melody and then I’ll fill in sounds around it after. This is also why I love playing around with synths. They can completely alter the mood and feel of a track and usually add an interesting texture. At this point I’m trying to experiment as much as possible and am always working on different approaches to songwriting.
EARMILK: What up-and-coming artists do you think are destined for their “big break” this year?
Tropic Harbour: I think the term “big break” is a relative term so it’s a hard thing to predict but I know of some artists in Edmonton that deserve more recognition. Travis Bretzer, who recently got signed to ‘Mexican Summer’, makes some awesome psychedelic slacker rock that is definitely worth a listen. He tends to get lumped in as following in Mac Demarco’s footsteps but he has his own take on music and I love it. Makes sense that there may be some stylistic similarities as Mac Demarco was an Edmonton name for a while. Another artist who deserves a lot more credit would be Renny Wilson. He makes some very unique disco chillwave music. That's the closest description I can manage but it’s a fun listen! I can see either of those two making some ground this year with their music.
EARMILK: What can we expect from Tropic Harbour through the rest of 2014?
Tropic Harbour: Well my label Zappruder Records will be releasing my physical "Colour EP" and that will be followed by a tour that should be getting announced shortly. Currently I am working hard to get the live side of Tropic Harbour put together over the next couple months. I also have some plans to play a few small festivals near me during the summer and after that work towards releasing some more music. Fun times ahead!
The Bees Knees
We don't make you work to separate the milk from the cream
The Pasture: I Know Leopard – "Hold This Tight"
The Kindle: Yellow Ostrich – "Any Wonder"
The Tryptophan: Oceaán – "To Lose"
The Indie Gift Basket
- The Pasture Less is more — slow-churned nights need a soundtrack too, and relaxation is underrated.
- The Kindle represents a peak of accessibility where the masses will be drawn to the raw energy exposed throughout.
- Lastly, in The Tryptophan indie gets plugged. What ups the ante more than experimental electronics and synths?
Drawing from hushed textures the intersection between folk and translucent melodies can surprisingly be seamlessly navigated. So kick back, chill out or fall asleep – but be sure to stream the easy-going tracks below for the epitome of mellow. Highlights include I Know Leopard's mellow jammer in "Hold This Tight" and Lapland carving out a niche in "Where Did It Go?".