Musician of the Year: Indigo Poirier (Wangled Teb)

Category: music 392

Multiple festival appearances, a new EP charting nationally and a Music NB Award all helped make Poirier’s year an impressive one.

Matt Carter
Wangled teb at Festival (506). Photo by Karine Wade

“I feel like if I had worked this hard last year I’d be completely burned out by now,” says Fredericton musician Indigo Poirier, reflecting back on 2018. “One of the biggest lessons I learned this past year was that I need to let myself relax sometimes and not feel guilty about not working constantly.”

The idea of finding success in music might sound like a bit of an oxymoron to some people. It’s no secret that a career in art most often translates to a life wrought with struggle, frustration and an endless amount of work for very little in return.

If the secret is to remain positive, take opportunities as they come along, and let the good outweigh the bad, then Poirier is in a pretty good spot.

Over the past twelve months, Poirier and their project Wangled Teb have grown from a little known local act to become a nationally recognized name in electronic music thanks to the help of a supportive community and a willingness to take opportunities and occasional risks as they present themselves.

“It’s been a wild year,” said Poirier. “It feels long. Long in a good way. Not long in an exhausting way, although that kind of applies as well.”

From venturing out on tour to play their first out of province shows to playing Pop Montreal, Flourish, Quality Block Party and Third Shift in support of a new EP (the first to pair Wangled Teb’s glitch heavy beats with cello, guitar, bass, vocal and sax accompaniment), 2018 saw Poirier and their music move beyond the comfortable surroundings of their hometown scene.

Wangled Teb at Third Shift. Photo by Eileen Michelle Jones

“I went on tour in February with Property// through Quebec and Ontario,” they said. “That was my first time playing music outside the province. It feels like that was several years ago now. It’s wild what can happen in one year.”

In August, Poirier released Earth (Robot Hunter Records), the second in a series of EPs inspired by the four classical elements. The release has been charting nationally through campus/community radio since it came out and is currently sitting in the #4 spot on the !Earshot Top 20 for Electronic Music.

“The whole charting nationally thing has a lot to do with my friend Erin Bond,” said Poirier. “She’s volunteered to do radio tracking and has helped get my music into the hands of radio stations across the country.”

Bond, the Station Manager at CHSR FM in Fredericton and a self-proclaimed cheerleader of New Brunswick music, recently launched her own record label TwoFifteen Records and has already announced plans to make things official by releasing some new music from Wangled Teb in 2019.

“I have a couple of pieces that I started over the summer,” said Poirier, hinting towards to what expect on their next release. “One was released on the Patient Records compilation at the end of the summer and the other is one I originally started writing for that release as well but then my laptop broke. I’m working on updating those two tracks, writing a third and doing a remix, all for an upcoming EP that will be released on TwoFifteen Records.”

In October, Wangled Teb was named Music NB’s Electronic Musician of the Year during the organization’s annual awards evening held in conjunction with Festival (506), New Brunswick’s annual music industry conference and showcase. While Poirier made the trip up to Caraquet to take in some of the conference and networking opportunities offered, they missed the award ceremony by a day.

“I went up to Festival (506) but I missed the actual award ceremony,” they said. “I was there for the second half of the week. I met a few different festival organizers and I got to meet Trevor Murphy who hosts the podcast, Halifax is Burning. That was cool because he played my music on the next few episodes of his show. I also met Lisa Griffin who runs the Inspire Festival in Moncton. She actually said she was excited to meet me which was very cool and a bit of a surprise. Overall it was an extremely positive weekend.”

Poirier ended their year off as a participant in ArtsLink NB’s Catapult Arts Accelerator, an eight week program that aims to educate artists on marketing, branding, financial planning and exporting. The well timed event proved to be a much needed education in the area of business management for an artist whose career has experienced so many recent highs.

Wangled Teb at Pop Montreal. Photo by Sophia Bartholomew

“I’m starting to learn the value of organization,” said Poirier.  “I’ve started keeping track of my expenses. I’ve started a spreadsheet with all the festivals I’ve ever applied to and those I want to apply to with deadlines, contacts and all that. I’m also using my calendar more to keep track of things I need to do and when they need to be done.

“I realize this is all basic ‘running a business’ stuff, but it’s all stuff I was really lacking at the start of the year.”

In addition to releasing some new music in 2019, Poirier is excited to see what the New Year has in store.

“I’m playing a few festivals that I can’t talk about yet. I have to wait for them to make their announcements. But I can say there’s one I haven’t played before and am excited about,” they said.

“I’m also doing stuff with Terra Wa, an experimental improv group I’m in, and I’m also playing in the band Helium Submarine. I’m excited to see where those projects go.”

The biggest takeaway from 2018? Time management.

“I learned when to draw that line between relaxing legitimately because I need to, and relaxing as a form of procrastination,” said Poirier. “Overall I feel like the more I’ve worked, the more comfortable I’ve become in taking on new work and new projects.  Also, I like to reward myself with a bowl of grapes after I get some work done. That’s one of my tricks.”


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