Veteran jazz/folk artist Andy Sheppard has ventured into video making to create Find the Others, an innovative project connecting music and film.
An impressive roster of collaborators appear on the band’s self-titled, recently released debut, including fellow Toronto act Snowblink, Bjork’s remix guru Olivier Alary and Italian actress/director Isabella Rossellini.
Though the band’s pseudonym could easily have stemmed from the constant collaborations on its inaugural album, it’s actually a nod to a famed quote by ‘60s-era drug advocate Timothy Leary: “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”
After a reporter at a press conference asked what people should do after following those steps, Leary responded, “Find the others.”
Find the Others isn’t so much an homage to Leary as it is to the quintessential human nature of bonding with like-minded individuals.
“Whether we like a sports team, or we want to be in a church, or we play music or like social media, we’re trying to gather people around us that feel the same way,” says Sheppard, over the phone from Victoria. “It’s a real human kind of behaviour.”
Sheppard’s meticulous creative process in synchronizing his lo-fi, electronic songs with video projections is unique.
“A lot of artists have visuals and lights with their shows, this (video aspect) is actually part of the song. It follows the song or we follow the video, so it kind of becomes, in some cases, like experiencing the live soundtrack to a movie.”
Drummer Mark Mariash accompanies Sheppard, who plays guitar. The two-man band is on the road this winter for a cross-Canada tour.
Adapting to their intricate performance model seems to be going smoothly.
“I have a looper on the floor, and I’m sort of triggering the loops, and that sets the video off,” explains Sheppard. “We build in all sorts of space so that we can improvise and take the song off into different directions. We don’t want to play the same show every night.”
Winnipeggers can witness this intriguing mixed-media collage on Thursday, Dec. 1 when Find the Others stops by the Park Theatre. Sheppard is surprisingly psyched about the upcoming tour date in Winnipeg midwinter.
“I lived there for almost three years (when) I used to host a radio show on CBC,” he discloses. “I miss it. I have a lot of good friends there. I’m looking forward to getting back.”
Published in Volume 66, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 23, 2011)