Nick Laugher shares new music and talks about his time spent in Fredericton as a Flourish Festival artist in residence.
Matt Carter | @M_J_C73
Having time to create is every artist’s dream. But only the lucky ones have the opportunity to explore ideas early in their careers, free from the distraction and routine obligation. Nick Laugher is one of the lucky ones. Laugher is from Halifax and performs as Ocean Charter of Values, a project blending drone, folk and soundscape influences into various states of delivery. At times it’s just him, other times he’s joined by various musicians, but at the heart of OCOV, it has always been Laugher and his will to explore sound, in its many forms.
Last month, Laugher was an artist in residence with Fredericton’s Flourish Festival. Under the program, he was given opportunities to perform, create and explore a wealth of new ideas. But occasions like this don’t come without their fair share of pressure. After all, any artist in residence will at some point be asked to share their accomplishments.
“It’s been really good,” said Laugher. “The first couple of days I got a lot of things started and then hit kind of a roadblock where I was like, ‘Oh my God. I’m starting all these things but I’m not finishing anything’. I started to get, not exactly depressed about it but, I started to get in my head about it. I started to think, ‘If I have all this time to do things, I’m going to have to do a ton of stuff’.”
To ease his worry, Laugher reached out to two previous Flourish resident artist who both took advantage of the residency program. Halifax musician Gianna Lauren and Saint John musician/filmmaker Pat Bonner have both taken part in the program over the past six months, living and creating in Fredericton as a member of the local arts community.
“They both told me that they reached a point in the residency where they began to doubt themselves,” said Laugher. “That did happen, but now I’m on the other side of those feelings. I realized I’ve done a lot of stuff while I was here.”
During his days in Fredericton, Laugher worked on some music, performed and revisited some poetry. Lots of ideas were explored.
“I realized, if I want to start ten projects and not complete any of them,” said Laugher, “that’s an accomplishment in itself.”
Laugher will perform this week as part of Flourish Festival, joining Union Suit for an afternoon show at Shiftwork Studio on Queen Street, Saturday April 23 at 2:30pm.
“This is my inaugural Flourish show,” he said. “The festival is really impressive. It seems like such a grassroots thing from what I’ve seen through being part of this residence and watching the planning all unfold. The lineup is amazing and the community seems so supportive.
“This kind of model attracts bands that really want to play and people who are interested in supporting that. I have no illusions about making a bunch of money playing music. I’m playing music because I like to do it.”
Listen to Vacant Sea & In Awe, Burn
About these tracks:
“Vacant Sea was done at Echo Chamber in Halifax,” said Laugher. “It features Evan Matthews on bass and Cameron Hall on drums, as well as Molly Elliott on vocals and Matt LeGroulx of Chairs and EXPWY on synth.”
The b-side is a tracks called In Awe, Burn, recorded in a single take, in a barn in rural Nova Scotia.
“It’s a pretty emotional track,” said Laugher. “I kinda lost it, and cried during it. Evan Matthews later ran it through some delay and modulation and put some light drums on it and we made like an eerie, mystic, deteriorating kind of emotional track out of it. It’s very dear to my heart, and I love this rendition of it, despite how mangled it is.”
Flourish Performance | April 23, 2016 at Shiftwork Studio (above Backstreet Records on Queen Street) | 2:30pm | w/ Union Suit