This year’s season of NAC Presents features a series curated by an NAC favourite. Royal Wood’s 5potlights will feature five artists deserving of the spotlight which was shone on him. ‘My intention with the NAC Present’s Royal Wood spotlight was to highlight a cross section of today’s talent in Canada that would benefit from the performance. I wanted to make sure it covered multiple disciplines, sexes etc. To be honest, I found picking only 5 artists to be very difficult. This is an incredibly talented and diverse nation.’ The artists whom were chosen for this series include Peter Katz, Oh Susanna, Laila Biali, The Bros Landreth, and Tamara Lindeman’s project, The Weather Station.
Royal Wood was introduced to Lindeman’s latest album Loyalty which was released last spring. ‘What I heard blew me away. Tamara’s songs are so strong and her singing is effortless. I chose her because she has something special you can’t put your finger on. With all art, I wait for the gut reaction, that signal from inside that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck and your heart ache – that’s the sign, and Weather Station does that in spades’
That she does indeed. Tamara’s music is rife with duality. Her lyrics are specific and descriptive while conveying relatable emotion. She is strong and powerful, whilst delicate and sparse. In Loyalty, Lindeman takes the listener on a timeless journey filled with honest emotion and beautiful imagery. Her live performances are captivating and graceful, a perfect fit for ‘Canada’s stage’.
Between barroom performances at SXSW, Tamara was gracious enough to answer some questions on her writing process, her recent collaborations and being part of the 5potlights series.
Can you talk about the process for writing the songs for Loyalty?
My process is always long and complex – I tend to write a lot of words and slowly edit away to what I think are the most essential images and ideas. Songs come all kinds of different ways though – slowly, quickly, with ease and with work and confusion.
Tell me about recording at La Frette-sur-la-Seing Studios (in France). How does the environment in which you record affect your music?
So much. For me, it was so magical to be recording a record in France, in a beautiful mansion that has seen so much amazing music be made. It made me feel confident – it made me want to dream bigger than perhaps one can recording in someone’s basement. Also the elegance of that building made me feel comfortable with embracing beauty and grace on record.
How does the space in which you perform live affect your music?
Of course the space where one performs affects your music – I love when there is enough space and silence in a room that the dynamics of what I do can come through, and we can play as quietly or loudly as we need to. Though with professionalism and playing so often, you learn a certain amount of impermeability to your surroundings. I just played a bunch of shows at SXSW in various bars with varying levels of sound quality and bleed from other shows and each time, I just pretended I was performing at a church.
On Loyalty you collaborated with Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) and Robbie Lackritz (Feist), can you tell me what it was like to work with them?
It was an honor and a pleasure to work with Afie and Robbie. Afie is such an incredible musician, so sensitive and present and just one of the most innately musical humans I have ever met. Robbie was wonderful at creating a space, technically, that allowed Afie and I to play whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. It was a dream, truly.
I read that you claimed to be a ‘megalomaniac’ when recording your first album. How did your attitude and spirit of collaboration evolve?
When I made my first album, I just really needed to express myself as fully as I possibly could, and that meant in that case doing everything myself, because my vision was so specific, and I didn’t have the tools of communication or technical knowledge to be able to express any of it to anyone else. Also, that was the whole creative process of that record – recording, playing nearly everything, getting the sounds myself and feeling the sounds to be just as important as the melodies. Over time I just changed tacks in terms of the kind of music I was making. Now I’m a songwriter – and if you write a good song, it can be interpreted any number of ways, and it’s open to collaboration in ways my first music was not.
Do you find it challenging to perform songs which are so vulnerable and emotional or do these sentiments drive your performances?
I think if my songs weren’t vulnerable, it wouldn’t be interesting to perform them. They retain strength longer the closer they get to the meat of something. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Your concert is part of a special series at the NAC curated by Royal Wood. What are your thoughts on being “picked” by Royal Wood to perform as part of the NAC Present’s Spotlight series.
It’s great! I’m really looking forward to playing that room. I’ve heard great things about this series and I’m really excited about it.
Apt613 has two tickets to give away to see The Weather Station perform next Thursday. To enter, send an email to email@example.com with the subject header “Floodplain” by noon on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. A winner will be selected by random draw.
Listen to The Weather Station’s latest release, “Floodplain” below:
The Weather Station play the NAC Fourth Stage on Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 7pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online.