In early 2017 I was interviewed by The Kollektive, a lifestyle blog from the minds of the sister duo Kinga and Klara. Originally from Poland, the Potrzebowski sisters grew up in Mississauga but for many years have called Toronto their home. How did I become acquainted with these wonderful ladies? Bil of course. Soon after Bil moved from Brazil he met Klara. It was love at first sight and the two have been happily married for years (no children yet, but their feline roommate Ziggy is the closest thing).
Bil and Klara are a great duo, Klara and Kinga are a great duo, but I especially love the trio of Bil and the sisters. I have very fond memories of spending time with the trio in their Bathurst apartment that was conveniently close to the Palmerston basement cave. They had a great backyard where they would host BBQ's that was never without good company and treats; they had a cozy basement that Bil converted into a studio where I spent many nights recording "There Goes My Head". I have always enjoyed the company of these three. A positive energy is always is in the air.
For their blog, the girls cover a number of things, from gallery trips to world travels to the arty happenings around Toronto. They muse on inspiration, humour, pop culture. They always document their outings with a thorough photo diary. They covered my first album release, "Pascoe's Last Waltz" as well as "Pascoewood" the following year (I clearly like my surname). For the latter, Kinga interviewed me about my music and my thoughts on 2016 and inspiration and upcoming projects. Below is a transcript of the interview but make sure to click here to see the official page that includes pictures and videos from the memorable event.
Cheers to the Kollektive! (And Bil and Ziggy)
KOLLEKTIVE INTERVIEW WITH NOAH PASCOE (Jan 1, 2017)
KINGA: OKAY SO NOAH, HOW ABOUT WE START OFF WITH YOU TELLING EVERYONE A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
Noah: Talk about myself? Sure! My name is Noah Pascoe and I hail from Ottawa but I have resided in Toronto for most of my adult life. For me, music serves multiple purposes. It’s how I express myself, it’s the language I use to communicate with others, it’s my therapy, it’s my medicine, it’s my primary source of enlightenment. I had the good fortune of being thrown into intense music training in my early childhood, and in recent years I found the inspiration to develop my own compositional style and the right collaborators to execute my artistic vision. Never a day goes by I don’t count my blessings and thank the universe for pairing me with incredible people with massive talents, individuals that seek out their truths and extend their empathy and positivity into the atmosphere.
KINGA: LAST YEAR YOU RELEASED YOUR DEBUT ALBUM THERE GOES MY HEAD, TELL ME A BIT ABOUT THE CREATIVE PROCESS & INSPIRATION FOR THAT ALBUM?
Noah: The story of ‘There Goes My Head‘ began in the winter of 2014 and culminated in its release the following year. I started to develop some anxiety and depression; what transpired was a journey of soul-searching leading to the revelatory period where I started to write music which was the closest representation of myself as an artist, human. I spent years trying to write good songs, but you can’t force anything in this life. Entities must grow organically whether it be a relationship, an institution, or in my case a creative vision. I also delved heavily into meditation for the first time.
I took a mindfulness course and it pretty much changed my life. Speaking to impartial strangers about my life experiences and participating in various meditative exercises was extraordinary to me. My biggest takeaway was to drop negative convictions in my mind and slow down my unnecessarily quick pace. We are so over-stimulated but we need outlets to combat this. Before I felt like I was in a rush, and after I took this course I began to truly live in the moment. This is when I sat down in my room for months, revelled in the solitude, practiced my craft incessantly, and wrote and wrote. I must credit Marika Rathfelder (a.k.a. Meow Miko) for designing the artwork that went miles beyond what I had anticipated. I am grateful to Bil Bertram for mixing and recording the album and constructing a recording environment where I felt comfortable to share and record these songs. And all I had to do was take them out for pizza and beer!
KINGA: THERE SEEMS TO BE CONSENSUS THAT 2016 WAS NOT THE GREATEST YEAR FOR THE WORLD, BUT HOW WAS IT FOR YOU? HOW WAS 2016 FOR YOU AS A MUSICIAN?
Noah: 2016 was a hard one in regards to the loss of the great musical artists from this century. Though humans are mortal, art is immortal and I am hopeful that in hundreds (if not thousands) of years the music of Bowie, Prince and Leonard and others will be appreciated by future generations. Personally, this year was a healthy continuation of what had started late last year. I lived in Southeast Asia for many months where I performed at a resort hotel for dinner guests. This gave me an opportunity to focus on playing and, following a year of digging deep in the creative process, it reminded me that playing others’ music can evoke feeling and that’s why I do what I do.
During my stay I felt an abundance of inspiration. I wrote a ton of new material and finished some songs that had been sitting in my head for years. What a cathartic feeling to complete the ideas that has been nesting in my mind for so long! During this time another massive event took place: I got together with my old high school friend Sarah and she is the love of my life, my partner in crime. I feel like what Father John Misty must have felt once he finished his (incredible) first record that dealt heavily with existentialism and soul-searching before falling madly in love around the time of his second album.
KINGA: BESIDES YOUR SOLO PROJECT, WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE YOU INVOLVED IN?
Noah: My 16-year-old self would be so stoked to hear that my 32-year-old self is focusing on two musical projects: creating original music with Pascoe & The Palmerstones and covering Radiohead with my super talented friend Greg D under the name “The Raindrops”. Greg and I decided that we would work on the lesser popular tracks from the Oxford quintet, so don’t expect Creep or Karma Police. Instead expect odd time signatures!
KINGA: I HAVE, HAD THE PLEASURE OF SEEING NOAH & THE PALMERSTONES PERFORM A FEW TIMES THIS YEAR. WHAT NEW MATERIAL HAVE YOU GUYS COME OUT WITH THIS YEAR? WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR 2017?
Noah: To answer this question, I’ll go back to the end of Answer 3. Once I came back to Canada I reunited with my bandmates Bil and Dan (bass and drums, respectively) and collectively they created rhythmic arrangements for the new material. I am so lucky to have been connected to these guys. We spent summer and fall practicing and practicing and the plan is to record the next album in the spring of 2017. While ‘There Goes My Head’ was a solemn record using just my acoustic guitars, “Legal Snacks” will be bigger. It will be bigger in players, orchestration, length and it will be a lot more fun! But expect some solemn moments too.
KINGA: WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR PASCOEWOOD?
Noah: The inspiration for Pascoewood was the idea that I could put on an inclusive event to celebrate my indulgences, to combine the idea of individualism and collectivism. Like, ‘let’s all get together and celebrate the things I really like in life and ultimately I hope YOU have a fun time doing so!!’ I was fortunate to connect with my friend Harry who let us use his loft apartment, ‘The Green Room’ as he calls it. Harry adhered to my artistic needs and party needs: a proper setup for my band to perform, hoppy beers, red wine, guacamole, Miss Vickies chips and clementines. What a mensch!
KINGA: WHAT ARE YOUR 3 TOP FAVOURITE MOMENTS OF PASCOEWOOD?
Noah: I don’t really have a favourite moment from the night. Truthfully it felt like it went by quickly. What I am happy about is that the music went over just as I hoped and my friends had a great Saturday night.