Early in his career, indie-rock musician Kevin McIntyre vowed to never take himself too seriously. And thus far, over the course of three full-length releases – his 2008 debut Le monde est truque, 2012’s Dragon mechanique, and last year’s L’axe du viseur – the award-winning Francophone singer-songwriter has held firm to that belief.
“My solo career has been just like a little project I consistently chip away at over time. Right from the get go, my approach has been to try to make it as fun as it can be. Avoiding stress is high on my list of priorities,” McIntyre says, speaking in advance of his show at Moncton’s Empress Theatre on Thursday night.
“I released my debut record just for something fun to do. I had no expectations going into its release, and then people kind of caught onto it, and I got to travel all over and play music. Everything has been gravy since then.”
McIntyre says that while he’s generally content to let the pieces of his music career fall into place as they are destined to do, he admits that self-promotion isn’t necessarily his strongest suit.
“I’m not one to really spend too much time promoting myself on social media,” McIntyre says, laughing. “I’m one of those people that only try to put something out into the world when I think it’s interesting. You see so many younger artists these days that are constantly on Instagram and Facebook – and I understand that maintaining a certain level of engagement is required – but I’d rather people not get sick of seeing my face too much.”
Born in Charlo, McIntyre’s path in music was established relatively early in his life. His grandparents were fairly active musicians in the region’s country music circuit, but it was after his graduation from high school that McIntyre truly spread his musical wings.
When he relocated from from Charlo to Moncton in 1998, McIntyre was quickly immersed in the city’s vibrant music scene as a member of indie-rock band Test Tone Channel. The group went on to release one full-length effort in 2000, Running For Words, before disbanding years later.
“It was the post-Eric’s Trip period,” McIntyre says, referring to the celebrated indie rock group that originally parted ways in 1996. “It was an exciting time to be a musician in the city, but expectations were lofty among show-goers. People were looking to support original acts. I learned so much at the time though, not just in terms of songwriting, but also how to be original and still maintain your integrity as an artist.”
As McIntyre delved further into the city’s music scene, including the region’s prolific Acadian music community, he noted a lack of Francophone artists exploring non-traditional genres of music.
“It certainly isn’t the case now. You’ve got Acadian artists like Radio Radio, Lisa LeBlanc and Les Hay Babies blowing up on the national scene. It’s amazing to see,” he says.
“As an artist, it’s a fine line between finding an original voice and bringing something new to the scene or region. It’s hard not to wear your influences on your sleeve to a certain extent, but I’ve always felt the truer you are to yourself, the more people will pick up on that and give you an opportunity to win them over.”
In addition to maintaining his solo career over the last few years, McIntyre has also found himself as a touring member of acclaimed Acadian folk trio Les Hay Babies. While playing with the group has given him the opportunity to play as estimated few hundred shows throughout Canada, the U.S., and Europe, he says the experience has helped shine a light on a different aspect of playing live.
“What I probably like most about it, aside from the friendships, is the fact playing with Les Hay Babies is the first professional project that I’ve been a part of where I’m not front and centre stage all the time. It’s given me an interesting perspective on performing in general, and in the industry as well. It can be quite a lot to take in at times, but it’s been such a great experience so far, especially in terms of broadening my horizons even more. It’s a refreshing perspective and one I try to bring back to my own project.”
What: Kevin McIntyre
When: Thursday Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Empress Theatre, 199 Robinson Court, Moncton
Tickets are $15. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone (506) 856-4379 and online at www.capitol.nb.ca.