A couple months ago we caught up with Rich Aucoin at the ALL CAPS! Island Festival (hosted by Wavelength Music) on Toronto Island. We talked new music, YouTube, Osheaga, his parachute, sweaty singalongs and more!
Check out the interview below, and be sure to scroll down for some fun crazy photos taken from video footage by our photo editor Tiffany. (This interview can also be found on page 34-35 of Issue 15)
How would you describe your music and your show?
Music – just on the side of experimental pop music. I like trying a lot of different instruments and make new sounds I haven’t heard before, and make songs with those elements, but right now music I’m really interested in is very pop oriented.
And the show – A sensory overload multimedia show with a lot of spectacle elements and a communal singalong… A group dynamic with a lot of sweaty hugs and dancing together.
Tell us about the YouTube videos projected at the beginning of the show and throughout, and how you came about the idea.
Usually, just videos I think are fun. I usually try to pick things that are funny and not mean spirited, and then things that I think are really encouraging and worth showing. There’s the nice element too of taking something that’s usually a solitary thing like watching YouTube by yourself, to watching it in a big performance setting. It’s the kind of phenomena that a lot of friend groups have, you know, with the “YouTube parties” where you’re just having a party and then all of a sudden people start wanting to show each other things they found. YouTube’s kind of like a show-and-tell “check out what I’ve seen” to your friends when you want them to experience that same thing that usually you watch alone the first time. It’s fun, I really like those nights sitting in the living room with a bunch of friends sharing YouTube videos.
Your shows have a lot of confetti and a parachute. Where did this parachute idea come from?
I forget what thing I was buying on Ebay, but it was like “You may also like this childhood memory” and I was like, “I do like that childhood memory…” so I thought about it just being really cool to do, and then I remembered “Oh I have a job that I could do that”. So then I kind of made it part of the show. It’s a great thing to do. It’ll be nice tonight (with the small show). Literally anyone who wants to be under it will be able to be under it.
Has anything ever gone wrong with the parachute, i.e. not being able to get it back?
Umm, nothing’s ever gone wrong really, knock on wood, but one time I was playing in France and somebody was really drunk. They jumped into it thinking it was inflated when it was actually just nylon over concrete, and they jumped into it like you would if you were jumping into a big crash mat. Then they were reminded by the concrete.
Do you ever get stuck when making your way through the crowds?
Yes, I do get stuck sometimes. Sometimes I don’t make it back to the stage on time, sometimes I realize it’s just not going to happen so I just stay in the crowd, and then sometimes I realize I have to be a little more sparing with how often I go.
Any other crazy stories or things happen that you didn’t expect?
One time a security guard tackled me cause I was running off and on stage so much and he wasn’t paying attention, or well vaguely aware that I was up there performing but when I jumped, it just happened so fast that he was like “This is somebody”. The other security guys teased him a bit. I luckily didn’t feel the brunt force of getting destroyed by him.
So you got to perform at Osheaga and spend the weekend up there with a bunch of friends. What acts did you get to see and who was your highlight?
I got to see a bunch of people since we were there the whole weekend, mostly on the other days, but I got to see Beck finally so Beck was for sure my highlight.
Future plans? More touring?
I’m working on my next record right now. It syncs up to an old clay animation version of The Little Price, and it’s called Ephemeral. I play almost every weekend, so kind of just doing that and staying at home working, but nothing longterm.
Where has been your favourite place to perform so far?
Iceland was really rad. I played Iceland Airwaves which was a really fun festival. I love all the Canadian hometown—or rather home-country— shows. Hometown shows in Halifax… it’s hard to pick one. And you kind of want to say some exotic place that have been rad but like, I definitely had an amazing time playing ALL CAPS! [Wavelength Island Festival] two years ago here indoors. It was raining so they had to move everything inside; it was really sweaty and fun.
With all your crazy jumping off stage, on stage, running through the crowds, how do you manage to always stay energized?
You kind of dip down but then you get it back from people, so that’s the secret. I don’t think I could do the show for no one, haha. But people give and get energy in a great way.
Nowadays with people going to shows and standing still staring at performers through their camera phones, do you ever have a hard time getting people energized and into the show?
Oh, there’s been tons of shows like that. I usually start those shows a little slower, kind of like warming them up to the idea of a singalong. It’s fun doing those shows too, but yeah it’s nice when you have people that know the music so you can start off with a little more energy.
Interview by Tiffany Lam
Photos by Tiffany Lam