FUZE Festival Preview: Indigo Poirier

Category: music 332
Greggory Clark | @greggoryclark
Indigo Poirier. Photo: Kelly Baker
Indigo Poirier. Photo: Kelly Baker


The third FUZE New Music Festival happens in Fredericton this weekend, August 12 & 13. FUZE is a series within the New Brunswick Summer Music Festival and this mini-fest program is one which aims to bridge classical and contemporary music, by bringing together musicians from both worlds.

FUZE opens Friday night at The Capital Complex. On the bill is CONSTRUCTIONS, a special series of concerts during which four bands have been asked to perform original sets of music inspired by a common theme. In 2016, that’s Russian composers, and Indigo Poirier will be joined for the event by Jaguar Knight, Pony Girl, and Angel of the Marriage of Contraries.

To preview the event, Grid City had a chat with Indigo Poirier. Poirier is an electronic musician living in Fredericton, whose experimental records take a great deal of inspiration – and samples – from classic video games.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Grid City: Have you attended FUZE before? As an artist or audience?

Indigo Poirier: Nope, this is actually my first one! I’m really excited to hear what everyone comes up with.

Prior to the CONSTRUCTIONS invite, did you already have some favourite Russian composers? Have you discovered new composers as a result?

Actually, not really. I really connected with Borodin though, a lot of his work really resonates with me. I tend to like sadder, or angrier music…music typically coded as “negative”, it speaks to me, maybe because, I dunno, maybe I’m just secretly naturally a sad person? Anyway, the piece I wound up using primarily is Borodin’s Piano Quintet. I’m actually still tweaking the set though and I’m thinking of adding more samples of Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov.

“I am mostly using classical samples as a bed, with synth layered on top. Lots of distortion and fast beats… Basically like a 15-minute breakcore session!”

What can we expect for your CONSTRUCTIONS set?

I am mostly using classical samples as a bed, with synth layered on top. I’ll be playing drums using my Launchpad… Lots of distortion and fast beats… Basically like a 15-minute breakcore session! I’m honestly still working at it and probably will be right up until Friday night. I think it sounds great already, though. I’m really stoked to finally play it.

What instruments do you use for a live concert? Are you performing solo?

I’m using my Launchpad to trigger samples, so what I’m mainly going to be doing is playing drums. I also have a Korg Volca Sampler providing extra percussion and a Korg nanoKONTROL2 (basically a thingy with a bunch of sliders, knobs, and buttons) to use for effects.

Where did you attend music school? Are you self taught?

I am self-taught and I learned how to compose music long before I learned how to play an instrument. When I was, I don’t know, 8 to 10 years old, maybe? I got started writing music on my computer. I had a trial version of a notation software called Noteworthy Composer which allowed me to write music in MIDI format. That was how I got started.

Many years later I finally had a computer that was decent enough to do simple audio production. I studied to be an audio engineer in college. I dropped out but finally went back this past year and graduated. Right now I’m taking piano lessons from the very talented Tonella Roy and was recently introduced to the bass guitar which really resonates with me. I always found playing guitar kind of awkward and weird but I LOVE the bass so I’m planning on buying a cheap one soon and teaching myself how to play. I have some music theory I learned as part of the curriculum in college but it’s rarely at the front of my mind when I’m writing.

Visually, what is an Indigo Poirier concert like?

This is actually my first solo performance so I haven’t really thought about the visuals yet. Probably pretty boring. Maybe next time I’ll get some pretty coloured lights or something.

Is the FUZE venue very different from the setting in which you’d usually perform?

I would usually perform alone in my bedroom so, yes, absolutely!

When touring, my bandmates and I play NES and SNES and N64 in the van. It’s the best console to take on drives because cartridges, unlike discs, won’t skip on bumpy road. What games do you suggest we get? If you could only take three games in the van, what are they?

Oh man. I would say Super Mario Bros. 3 for NES because it’s pretty much the perfect video game, especially if you have a bunch of you sharing the system because the levels are short enough that you’d never have to wait long for a turn. For SNES my personal faves to play solo are Yoshi’s Island and Earthbound, but if you’re playing with a group, Super Bomberman with a multitap is always a good time… Or Kirby Super Star, that’s super fun for two people. For N64, Donkey Kong 64 or Mario Kart 64. No contest.

If I had to pick just 3 for myself: Yoshi’s Island, Donkey Kong 64, Super Mario Bros. 3.

Best video games for their music?

Oh my God, Earthbound is definitely at the top for me. It’s absolutely amazing. Especially for its time, it was the game that used most extensively the SNES sampling capability, and not only has so many memorable themes, but also so much just weird experimental stuff going on. It’s probably been a huge influence on me. The last boss theme is, like, starts off chiptune (like an NES or Gameboy game) and then suddenly explodes into this sick heavy metal track that sounded fucking incredible back in the day.

The sequel was great too. Mother 3, it kind of lacked some of the more experimental sound design of Earthbound but had a lot of really cool stuff, compositionally. The battles had kind of a rhythm element to them. Like if you tap A in time with the music you can do a combo of up to 16 hits… But it was harder than it sounds because the game had like 20 to 30 or more unique battle themes and some of them would sound similar to ones you had already heard – except they would throw in extra sections at different tempos, or totally change time signature, just to mess with you. It’s super cool from a musical standpoint. Both those games have soundtracks that really work perfectly with the mood of the game, too. I can’t imagine the games sounding any different.

There’s lots of other games with great soundtracks too. Katamari Damacy, Shadow of the Colossus, any of the Donkey Kong Country games, Child of Light, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, the entire Bit.Trip series… I could go on, but I won’t.

Best video games for sampling?

I just did an EP earlier this year based upon samples of Earthbound and Mother 3, actually. The sound design in those is really cool and I found a lot to work with. I mean, depending on what you’re looking for and how open-minded/creative you are, anything can make for a great sample, really. I feel like Bit.Trip would probably be super fun to sample. Maybe I’ll work with that next!

CONSTRUCTIONS is a part of the FUZE program at The Capital Complex (362 Queen Street) Friday August 12. The night includes sets by Nuages, Greg Harrison, Brad Perry, as well as four CONSTRUCTIONS sets. The show begins at 9pm and cover is $8 at the door. A $20 weekend pass for FUZE is available online and includes the Saturday program at Memorial Hall (9 Bailey Drive).


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