What do you get when you bring together the musical worlds of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and the National, and throw in the influence of literary genius Geoffrey Chaucer? You get Love & Fortune, the debut release from Saint John’s Leo Lafleur.
As unlikely as the above pairings may seem at first glance, Lafleur has in fact based Love & Fortune upon Chaucer’s masterpiece The Canterbury Tales.
“When I originally had the idea to do this record, I was listening to a lot of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and the National and was also taking a course on Chaucer at UNBSJ,” he says. “I wanted the album to say something honest on multiple levels, encompassing our social and political environments in the West. I also wanted the album to be an honest reflection of some of my own personal struggles but to also maintain a certain level of hope.
“I tried my best to tie all of that in with what I think are some of the main themes – love, reason, fortune, fate, chaos and comedy – fromThe Canterbury Tales.”
Lafleur reasons that while the record may buck the status quo of vapid lyrical and song content, he wanted to ensure that his music offered some more than the run-of-the-mill song fare.
“There are so many groups out there who put out amazing records, but lyrically they are often saying the same thing over and over in their songs. I find that gets boring. With each of the songs on Love & Fortune, I wanted to say something unique without trying to be pretentious.”
Introduced to the guitar by his brother-in-law at the age of 13, Lafleur explored a few different avenues including cover acts and collaborations with fellow Saint John musicians before settling in his current role.
“I have always been into music but what really moved me forward was the crystallization of the idea I had for this record. The inspiration I had for this album felt a lot like what it felt to listen to music when I was younger. The music felt as if it meant something. It felt authentic and as if it was something I could really dig into and completely immerse myself in. Part of that was learning how to write love songs over the last four years, an admittedly new endeavour for me but I think I found my niche,” Lafleur says.
To help bring Love & Fortune to life, Lafleur launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to offset the costs associated with the recording, mastering, artwork and distribution of the product. While crowd-sourcing campaigns like Lafleur’s are becoming relatively common, not all musicians are successful in meeting their target.
Not only did Lafleur meet his Kickstarter campaign goal, he handily exceeded it.
“The campaign was as much of a surprise as it was humbling. In the midst of it, I found a lot of people were unaware of how widespread Kickstarter and other crowd-funding tools are used in the arts scene,” Lafleur says. “I have an amazing family and friends who contributed the bulk of the funds, as is usually the case with crowd-funding campaigns but I also had people contribute in different ways, like putting together a couple of promotional videos, which also helped.”
Although Love & Fortune is still very much “new,” Lafleur is already looking forward to getting back into the studio for his next album. He does not anticipate undertaking another record based on a classic set of stories but feels that getting Love & Fortune out of his system was very much needed to move his music forward.
“The songs I have been writing lately are a great deal different in both the length of the songs and the feeling of them, as well. I think I will always write from a place of melancholy but I see my next album being very different. I’m not really much of a serious person but I tend to write from a serious place when it comes to my songs.”
What: Leo Lafleur
When: Wednesday Nov. 26, 9:00 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton