On a sunny summer’s day last month, in a tiny cafe? in the Glebe, I met up with Jade Bergeron of Flying Hórses.
When I sat down with Jade last year, she was just planning her trip to Iceland to record her part of the group’s debut album, To?lt. Now she and Raphael Weinroth-Browne are preparing for their album release at this year’s Arboretum Festival, after which Jade will be returning to Iceland to live and make music.
Jade had been dreaming of Iceland for as long as she could remember. For her, it’s more than just a place. It fueled her to write music and without it, Flying Hórses would not be. Having been such a tremendous influence in Jade’s musical life, she knew before recording the album that it would have to happen there. Upon recording, she knew she would have to go back.
When Jade arrived in Iceland she spent three days meeting with local musicians, all of whom were so welcoming and laid back, despite making Jade feel like she needed to go home and work on her craft. After three days of being inspired and enthralled, Jade awoke at the crack of dawn and travelled to Mosfellsbær, to record at Sigur Ros’ home studio.
Arriving at the studio was like something out of a dream. It was a rare sunny day. There were horses grazing in a field behind the studio which sat down the street from a small cafe? with a piano inside. Underneath the studio, flowed a river. It was enough to make Jade wonder if this was really her life.
Once she began recording, the piano happened so organically that she only had to track a few times. Sigur Ros’ producer, and co-owner of the studio was so kind, humble, and easy to work with it felt like she belonged. It was as though she had been invited into someone’s home, rather than a recording studio. When it was done, she knew she had taken the first step towards something bigger than herself.
Returning home with what she had recorded, she and Raph then travelled to Toronto, where he recorded the cello for the album at Sound Company studios, with Leon Taheny. Just like Jade’s recording in Iceland, the cello came quickly. The recording was complete within two days.
It was no different when they travelled to Mix Art Studio in Montreal. In three sessions over three days, the album was mixed. They sent Biggi (Birgir Jón Birgisson) the final mixes, hoping that he would agree to master them. Biggi, who at the time was working with Of Monsters and Men, happily accepted.
It was the first week of July when Jade arrived home from work to boxes of her album sitting outside her door. She took the album to her favourite spot in Brewer Park, where she had written its first track, and sat by the water and listened to it in its entirety.
This month, Jade and Raph will play the first of three album release shows at Arboretum in Ottawa. They will be playing alongside Julianna Barwick, an artist from Brooklyn who worked closely with Alex Somers and Amiina at Sundlaugin Studio, the same studio in Iceland where Jade recorded, and an artist who they are almost more excited to hear play, than to perform alongside.
After Arboretum, they will travel to Toronto and Montreal, to perform release shows in both cities. At the end of it all, Jade will fly to Iceland for a more permanent stay. For Jade, it will be a return to the place that has lived in her heart for years. There, she will continue to play music, collaborating with local artists, while continuing to write and compose for Flying Hórses’ next album, an album that will reflect what it is like to be in Iceland, the place which is, truly, the stuff of her dreams.
Flying Hórses play #ARB2015 on August 20 with Julianna Barwick and Organ Mood at St. Alban’s Church (454 King Edward Ave). Tickets are $15, click here to learn where to purchase.