by Ed Durocher
Gypsophilia call Halifax, NS home but the sound and roots of their music come from many places around the globe. Creatively breaking down walls, they mix it up with Jazz, Funk, world beats, high energy swing, old time folk and a touch of indie. After years of making records, stunning festival crowds all over North America, crisscrossing the country countless times and winning over fans one note at a time they are proving themselves to be a gem in the Canadian music scene.
Stylus had a chance to talk with Ross Burns (guitar, percussion) about the band, playing music with friends, the creative process and Gypsophilia’s new album Night Swimming.
Stylus: I love the music videos! Very cool style of animation. Do you come up with the concepts? And if so, where does the inspiration come from?
RB: We love those videos too! The credit goes to Sydney Smith who is a wonderfully talented illustrator and artist. It was Sydney that had the vision to marry our music with stop motion animation. He wrote those videos and created the puppets, and along with Jason Levangie (a great Halifax film maker) put in all the painstaking labour to make them come to life. The music we make is so cinematic and narrative and it is a treat to see how other people think it looks. Sydney and Jason nailed it.
Stylus: How does the composition process work in the band? Does the band co write or is it one person handling the writing?
RB: We are all composers and six of us have songs on this album. That diversity of voices is one thing that makes our music so varied. As far as the process goes, the most common thing is for people to bring in tunes as a sketch or even as a more formed idea. Then once we get to play through it as a group it comes to life and gains quality and detail – it is as if it jumps from two dimensions into a 3D image once we all lay hands on it.
Stylus: In the past I read you had recorded more “live off the floor”. What made you change the way you record albums.
RB: We have always been a band that loves and thrives on playing in front of people. That is where we feel most comfortable. We’ve always tried to capture that verve and energy on our recordings by playing more or less live off the studio floor. But in the case of Night Swimming we’re excited to try some different things. We wanted to have more input from a producer (Joshua Van Tassel, in this case) and to give Josh more freedom to be creative. So we did some different things in the studio this time – tracking, isolating instruments, layering sounds, adding subtle details – to capture a different side of our own musical vision. It was very liberating and I think in the end this album recreates the atmosphere and excitement of one of our live shows better than any live recording ever could.