Interview: Aidan Knight talks new album, ‘Small Reveal’

Victoria-based Aidan Knight is nearly ready to release his sophomore album, Small Reveal, but not before he stops in Calgary for a show right here at NMC. You can expect to hear some lush sounds coming out of the speakers with this performance, as the five-piece group will unleashing the full breadth of the album upon the audience.
 
In advance of this Saturday’s show and the album’s release next Tuesday, NMC got the chance to chat about his pirate-themed cabin/recording studio and his love for Guild guitars. Stream the lead single “A Mirror” and read on below.

NMC: How do you feel about the new album?
 
Aidan Knight: I'm just excited for people to hear it. It's been a fairly long process. We started recording in August 2011 and we finished in August of 2012. There were lots of re-writes and some doubting moments and there were also lots of creative breakthrough moments, so I am excited after all this time of working on it, and making sure it is in fact good. I'm excited for everyone to listen to it and hopefully enjoy it.
 
NMC: Small Reveal was partially recorded in a cabin that you had to basically set up, including hauling everything in and tearing everything down to create a makeshift studio. What was that process like?
 
AK: As soon you say a band or an artist locked themselves away in a remote, rural cabin there is a real romanticized… I'll come out and say it – there's a real Bon Iver lean to those premonitions of imagery. Let me tell you, it could not be further from the truth.
 
The setting was really beautiful. We were in a cabin – essentially on an island that is a glorified off-shoot of Nanaimo. It's a pirate themed island – we were on Captain Morgan Blvd, and the nearest intersection was “Treasure Trail”. We were in this cabin, no running water, it wasn't a beautiful space but it was on a pirate island. It certainly did inform some sounds, and some directions but I think all the same time that was just the beginning of recording this and where most of the writing happen.
 
A lot of the actual process and shaping of the sonic qualities happened over the course of another 10 days where we took mobile recording gear and brought it into all these spaces, including the cabin. We were in family homes, and living rooms. We were in an older church that converted into a music store and had all these guitars hanging on the walls – when were recording the horns the guitars would be resonating. We were chasing these sonic characteristics and trying to get them naturally in these spaces.
 
NMC: You mentioned much of this album was written and created very collaboratively.
 
AK: Our process was more towards writing when we were recording. There was only one song written beforehand that made it onto this album.
 
NMC: The National Music Centre employees like to think of themselves as instrument geeks. What is your instrument and are you a geek about it?
 
AK: For a long time I've been playing the first guitar my dad found for me when I was 16 or 17. It’s a 1958 Guild Freshman. I just recently picked up a '59, another single pickup. I am sort of obsessed with this guitar company. Growing up I was a huge Constantines fan and I knew Bry Webb played a Guild Starfire, and I remember seeing Feist for the first time and seeing that she had a Starfire, so I knew that if I wanted to be a Canadian indie rock artist I needed… I'm just kidding. I have had the guitar for a long while, and I do love it so much.
 
NMC: Do you have any standout songs from the new album that you're keen to get the public reaction on?
 
AK: There’s a couple moments on Small Reveal where there is this instrumental theme that happens throughout, these three different instrumental figures. I had this idea when I was younger – my dad and I would watch a lot of movies together. We ended up watching The Last Waltz, which is one of the greatest musical documentaries in cinematic history ever made. I remember watching that when I was 10 or 11 years old, and the movie opens and closes with Robbie Robertson's theme from The Last Waltz. There is something very nice about creating a thematic moment in a collection of music. There are these really great true pauses, or breaths, that you get to have in between. I feel they make the album stronger.
 
Aidan Knight’s tour continues throughout Western Canada in October and November. Find more info at adianknight.com
 
 

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