Some acts may play louder or faster, but it would be tough to find an atmosphere more party-oriented than the inclusive live show of Halifax electro-pop king Rich Aucoin. The dynamic Aucoin has taken his live show right across Canada and the United States while also venturing into territories abroad including Iceland and France.
Aucoin has always been one to walk to the beat of his own drum. While his 2007 debut release Personal Publication synchronizes to Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, he sought something even more ambitious for 2011’s We’re All Dying To Live.
Produced by Aucoin along with Joel Waddell, We’re All Dying To Live is a testament to the magic of music via a musical scrapbook. The album used over 500 musicians, friends and fans from right across Canada. Aucoin invited everyone and anyone who wanted to be a part of the record; geographical location did not matter.
“Choosing to make such a collaborative record was such a great way to spend time with and learn from so many great musicians,” Rich says. “The funny thing was, We’re All Dying To Live was actually supposed to be an EP but then the sheer number of people that ended up contributing to the record made that an impossibility.
“We travelled around, throwing out the idea of making a record like this to different friends and before long, others were asking to join in. I knew that I would never do something of this magnitude again and so I made a point to get almost everyone who I had ever made music with to contribute to the album.”
Rich’s creative spirit isn’t something that is limited to the recording studio. At a time in the music business where music videos are primarily an online tool, the singer has embraced the medium.
With the videos for his songs “It,” “Push” and “Brian Wilson Is A.L.I.V.E.,” all taken from We’re All Dying To Live, Rich has delivered anything but your standard set of music videos. The Daft Punk-inspired “Push” features multiple scenes in 3D while ‘It’ features Rich reenacting scenes from movie blockbusters such as E.T., Top Gun and Forrest Gump .
It is the video for “Brian Wilson Is A.L.I.V.E.” that was perhaps the most ambitious but has in turn given the singer widespread acclaim, including a tweet from Brian Wilson himself. The video serves as a biological re-enactment of the life of the troubled Beach Boys leader, touching on his many career highlights and lowlights and comeback in one neat, four-minute package.
The video for “Brian Wilson Is A.L.I.V.E.” garnered additional attention when, earlier this year, it took home the inaugural Prism Prize, a national award established to recognize outstanding artistry in Canadian music videos. Much like the Polaris Prize recognizes outstanding recorded music regardless of sales, a jury of more than 90 Canadian music and film industry professionals were asked to judge videos based on criteria including originality, creativity, style, innovation and execution.
“I certainly wanted the video to convey triumph,” Rich says. “Brian Wilson has overcome mental depression and other factors but is still out there making cool music. His life is a great story.”
Asked for his thoughts on Wilson himself tweeting the link to Aucoin’s video to his more than 25,000 Twitter followers, Rich excitedly says, “I like to think that he knows I exist.”
Aside from his show this Thursday night at the Tide & Boar in downtown Moncton, Rich has only one other live show currently listed on his website. For an artist whose live show has served as a calling card for attracting such a devoted fan base, Rich’s live schedule is slowing down somewhat but with good reason.
Rich has been working on the followup effort to We’re All Dying To Live over the past two years. He shares that the record is nearing completion and that, with any luck, he is hoping to increase the frequency with which he releases new music.
“By the time new material is released, those songs are ones that I’ve had brewing for years sometimes,” Rich says. “I am thinking that I might just release individual songs for the next little while to help be a little more prolific when it comes to getting new music heard instead of the two or three year chunks at which I am currently releasing new music.”