Connecting with Jeremy Fisher

My latest addition to the Vinyl collection.  As luck would have it,
this was the very first Flood record Jeremy signed (Too bad I
didn't have a sharpie, and it was rainy and windy outdoors).
I think there are very few situations for a musician where forgetting the lyrics can go over well.  For the 50 plus people that packed themselves into the Spiral Cafe in Victoria on Monday night, they can all attest to witnessing this anomaly.

Jeremy Fisher played the first night of his Canadian Tour at the Craigflower Rd. coffee house to a sold out crowd.  It was a huge honour for Island SoapBox to sit down with the now Montreal-based artist before the show.  Arriving in Victoria to kick off his Canadian tour only 2 days after capping his American tour with Lights in Buffalo, NY.  Fisher was tired, but excited to be back on Native soil pushing his new album Flood, in an ever changing industry.

"It feels good to get it out you know, it's been a couple years since my last record.  It was a long time in the making and I did a whole bunch of other things while I was making the record.  So it definitely feels good to have it out.  At the same time it’s a daunting task to get out and tour and promote it.  So I'm tired but I'm happy.

It's different releasing a record now than it was three years ago. Very different.  I mean there are no stores anymore that sell records. Most people don't buy CD's.  It's a much quieter sort of affair. But I don't mind that.  I kind of like music to leak out there and you know find its way.  It's not a huge amount of pressure on release day and I kinda like that, but at the same time, the excitement of it being in the record stores, and it being a real thing out there in the real world, like a physical item.  I miss that aspect cause I grew up with it.  There's a part of me that feels a little bit sad that that's not the way it is, but everything changes."

For fans of the two-time Juno nominee, one of the more exciting things about this last record was the fact that Fisher worked with producer Hawksley Workman for the second consecutive album.  After thoroughly enjoying the process the first time around, the two were equally excited when their schedules synced up, and recording Flood together was possible.  For Jeremy, the quality of work that Workman brings, has been a real motivator.

"It's definitely important. One of the reasons I like working with him is I respect his abilities as a songwriter, performer, player.  You know when I'm working with him, and I'm in the studio with him, it makes me want to try and be that good.  Be the best I can at whatever I'm doing at that moment, so that's probably the best part of it (working with Workman)."

There is a definite vibe around Fisher throughout the entire night.  He carries himself with a very calm demeanor, answering questions thoughtfully and openly.  He also has a ton of charm.  Telling stories of picking food from dumpsters, and forgetting his lyrics during parts of his set (fans sung the lyrics to him so he could pick himself back up), these were things that actually made the show more enjoyable.  Not to mention the man can flat out play, and his voice filled the room amazingly.  It's a very human connection with Fisher, and it's clear that fans eat that sort of thing up.

Connecting with fans on a personal level is just how Fisher gets down.  From telling the Cafe a story of his manager actually walking out of his own show (due to a not-so-charming lyrical issue), to creating his own music videos, these are just different ways he shares.  Although creating a video and writing a song may sound entirely different, Fisher says the inspiration comes from the same place.

"The way it feels to get a song idea, or a video idea, the idea to rearrange the furniture in your living room, it's the same feeling. It's just the feeling of making something new.  Taking what you already have, and going out in the world and taking pieces of experiences and distilling them into art.  Technology has come so far in the last few years, now a total hack like me can make his own videos.  It was something that I always wanted to do.  All of a sudden it became available to me, so now I'm doing it."

One of the many side projects fans loved in the past year was the Malahat Revue.  The Canadian Super group (consisting of Aidan Knight, Said the Whale, Hannah Georgas & Fisher), toured over 500 West Coast KM on bicycles, playing to packed houses throughout Southern BC, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.  Fans couldn't be the only ones that really enjoyed it, as Fisher told me there would be exciting news regarding another Malahat Revue tour coming sometime in the New Year!

As the 10 year vet worked through his set, fans mostly nodded along, a few singing under their breathe, but everyone was smiling in the intimate setting.  Fisher was having fun, and it spread through the Spiral Cafe like Wildfire.  The ability to laugh at himself and roll with the punches saved him from time to time, and most certainly added to the experience for most.  For a guy who has been at it for over a decade with ever-growing success, it's still that basic love of music that keeps him going.

"Sometimes I'm very aware of the fact that I do it as a job.  You know and that's really weird.  It's a weird thought to have when you're up there.  The key is to never really let it feel like a job in the way a job can feel mundane day after day, night after night or whatever it is. 

I think the main reason I do it is just because I love the feeling of playing the guitar in particular, singing and especially performing."

The love and enthusiasm he shows for music is evident both in the interview and especially on stage.  Jeremy Fisher has plenty of tour dates left as he makes his way across the country (Miss Emily Brown is opening for him, and she is awesome!).  It was an incredible experience to be able to sit down with the talented musician, and one I won't forget.  The even better part though, it doesn't take media credentials or interviews to connect with Fisher.  You are part of the conversation the minute you become a fan, and it's that connection that makes this Canadian talent as loved as he is.

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