Ambient, post-rock with a Scandinavian twist.
Våras have recently resurfaced with a new self-titled EP – four tracks of ambient post-rock, unique among the many acts that make up New Brunswick’s sonic landscape.
The band, who take their name from a Swedish word which loosely translates to ‘becoming spring’, have been around for a few years now. Since sharing a debut track in 2016, the group has shifted from a solo endeavor by musician Alex Tracy-Gould into a growing ensemble of musicians.
“The project has certainly gone through a lot of reforming over the last year,” said Tracy-Gould. “I moved home almost exactly a year ago from Sackville, New Brunswick to fully commit to Våras and at the time it was only myself writing and producing, and a few constantly rotating members sharing the stage to fill in the gaps live.
“When Ryan [Hanson], our drummer and producer, mentioned helping me with an EP, that’s when the idea of a full band crept in. Sure enough, by the end of summer 2016 we had a six piece group, and today have plans to grow beyond that in the near future.”
The transition from bedroom project to live performing act has had a definite impact on Tracy-Gould’s compositions, although he admits his writing has become increasingly darker since he began working with a group of musicians.
“Since the addition of permanent band members, I’ve found our sound has moved from a bright, lively and happy sound that didn’t take many risks one year ago, to a more intense, thoughtful and overall darker sound,” he said. “Our members mostly come from hard rock/psych rock/pop/metal influence, so that’s undoubtedly got something to do with the change.”
With just four tracks, the new EP clocks in at just over 20 minutes with each track fully embracing the dynamic and spatial abilities of the group.
“Space for reflection is key to the Våras sound,” said Tracy-Gould. “When I started the project, I was listening to a lot of Andy Othling’s albums and his work made me want to focus more on the tonal and emotional aspects of music, rather than writing catchy hooks or lyrics. A lot of these songs are written when I’m reflecting on life events or trying to capture a specific emotion or feeling that an experience gave me.”
A New World, the second track on the EP, is a great example of what Tracy-Gould and his fellow musicians are trying to accomplish with this project. The track begins with nearly a full minute of ambient sounds that build until a steady rhythm is introduced. The track winds down with a two-minute mix of drone and minimalist piano.
“The two minutes of ambience and piano flutter were my attempt to recreate the feelings of losing something extremely important to you,” said Tracy-Gould. “I try to take those sensations and project them back through the music as something you can listen to and have time to think about how you feel, to let the music be a soundtrack to your life and give it your own meaning as you listen and do whatever it is you’re doing with your day. Maybe that’s just a quiet, rainy day, maybe it’s a rough breakup, or maybe it’s finding out you just won a million bucks. People’s perception of our sound can be interpreted so many ways and that’s what I’m going for. It should be an experience more than anything.”