After living in Victoria for 7 years, I spent more than half a year living in Harrison Hot Springs, paying little rent, going for walks, resting and writing new songs for what is now THRESHOLDS.
It was the fall and winter of 2016. The previous year and a half was pretty grueling releasing my 2015 album India, Seattle. I charged pretty hard, toured lots and hit a point of burning out I’d say. I think I see this happen to lots of artist and musicians and you don’t totally know because it’s not a thing that is cool to say publicly. You never see an instagram or facebook post saying ‘I’m burnt out, and how I am living isn’t sustainable and I haven’t found that in my business or in my art or in my person yet.’ But like many others, this was me. So I retreated to the woods of British Columbia, paid little rent, drove to Seattle and served a few beers with my dear people at Field House Brewing Company in Abbotsford (never thought I’d spend any time here) to rest and write.
I ran, walked and wrote as much as I could without almost any regiment at all because my personal wiring cares about productivity and achievement. In this season I was thinking so much about this new record. I co-wrote songs at a SOCAN writing camp in Gibsons, BC with Nygel Asselin, Parker Bossley, Mike Evin, Fintan O’brien, Ian Smith, Fraser, Cassie Dasilva, Dan Moxon and a bunch of others. I did a few sessions with my friend Taylor Swindells, and we re-wrote the song Challenger.
I wrote Challenger at the same time as I wrote my song ‘The Closer’ which is hard to believe because they came out 4 years apart. One November evening in 2013 Jason Cook, Shaun Huberts, Kiana Brasset and I drove through a blizzard after playing the Ironwood in Calgary as we headed back to the coast and Jason Cook told us all details of why Space Shuttle Challenger didn’t make it. The song started as a narrative folky feeling song much like how The Closer sounds, but it didn’t really have a message or a chorus, and didn’t see the light of day even though I still liked it and believed in it.
So in early 2017 I showed Taylor this song because his band Tourist Company had a whole record about outer space and Taylor was the perfect person for this. Taylor is an amazing collaborator and very positive creative energy. We re-wrote a new chorus and a bridge and demoed the song in Taylors East Van apartment. I showed this song to Alissa and she instantly loved it. I showed this song to Chris Walla at the beginning of our recording sessions and he ‘didn’t understand it.’ I included this demo on the digital pre-order of of this album even though sonically it doesn’t sound the best.
I wrote the songs 31, Go With You and Ocean View in Harrison Hot Springs and brought most of ‘31’ to JP Maurice and Nygel Asselin in Vancouver and we finished this song there. I really think that some collaboration and co-writing was such a positive step for this music. It helped me break my own writing, lyrical and sonic thresholds and I believe that any artist or writer really should co-write or collaborate if only as a learning activity.
I had assembled a good pile of demo’s and had been talking to Colin Stewart about recording, and had received a grant from Creative BC. I reached out to Chris Walla who I had met briefly twice before as a dream producer and thought it would be one of my life’s great moments if we would make a record together. HE RESPONDED! I was a little starstruck and he was living north of the arctic circle in Norway at the time. I remember sitting in Harrison Hot Springs at my dinner table, in the woods, still in hibernation and on the other end of the phone Walla chimed in with the timbre of an international call from Norway. And so we began.