With his forthcoming sophomore album pending, the artist talks us through his musical rediscovery and everything we can expect.
Learning from your mistakes is key, and giving us a valuable lesson on what can happen if you don’t is indie-pop singer Electric Religious with “One More Night”. Coming at us full force with a slick groovy production, the singer manoeuvre himself through the waves of psychedelic beats and twanging guitars, landing at the funk-tinged chorus. Perfectly capturing the essence of the retro-lit dance floors, the Métis singer puts his own smooth edge on the genre, creating an eccentric sonic that has to be put on full blast.
Speaking on the single he explains, “creating this track was an incredibly fun process. We wanted to musically capture the feeling of chasing a moment. It’s a human condition that I think a lot of people can relate to, myself included. You might forget your troubles with one more drink, one more stranger on the dancefloor. I wanted to create a dance-worthy track that has an edge to it.”
Taken from his forthcoming sophomore album, the anthem serves as a teaser for what the singer describes as “truly eye-opening”. With a third single on the way and a plethora of music videos shot by Jarvis Grenier ready to go, we sat down with the artist talking his musical rediscovery, growing up in Canada, and how this year taught him to stay grateful.
Check out the interview below…
Hey Electric Religious, we’re almost halfway through the year, how has it been for you so far?
I’d have to say this has, maybe unexpectedly, been the best year of my life. I’ve had lots of time to spend with my family. I’ve had the time to be creative, as well as to learn a lot about my past, and the stories of my ancestry. This extended time “off” has taught me to be grateful for the people in my life, and the consequence of that mentality has really paid dividends in my home-life. I am a proud father and partner and this year at home together has been just what we needed.
How did growing up in Canada influence your sound?
Being Canadian and Indigenous means that I experience a real struggle to fit the two sides of myself together. It’s a fraught sort of push and pull. My extended family includes a lot of creative people – the authors Maria Campbell and Jesse Thistle are both relations of mine. Reading their works, I started to understand how much commonality there is to the experiences of intergenerational trauma, and how I saw echoes of that in my own life. I find it really fascinating how there is so much diversity among the voices of Indigenous musicians across the country — Indigenous creators tend to get lumped together sometimes, under the banner of “Indigenous music” but there is such a wide array of diversity among all that creativity. However, there is a lot of pain that I think comes through, and art is often our visceral reaction to that deeply buried pain.
2021’s “Catherine” was your first single since 2018 – what’s changed for you in that time?
A rediscovery of who I am as a human on this planet. After my last record came out, I found that I wanted to write more about the subtle aspects of being Métis, which I really tackled in my upcoming album. Because being Métis is definitely who I am through and through, and yet I think I often took it for granted without realizing how much it affected the way I view the world. I wanted to unpack that feeling and explore it much more deeply in my new songs.
What did the pandemic teach you about your craft?
That real emotions are powerful, and that we need to make space for them in our lives. We can’t live without feeling true, honest emotions. When we sit with our true selves, it can’t help but inform our art.
Congratulations on your latest track, “One More Night” – you said you want the track to feel like chasing a moment, what kind of moment do you envisage when you hear it back?
I have always had a habit of realizing a mistake is staring me in the face, but making it anyway. It’s a sad-but-true sort of realization and one that has a lot to do with the hyper-masculine, substance-dependent world we live in. The underlying theme is that people are fallible. People are impulsive, and they want what makes them feel good, sometimes regardless of consequence. Everyone feels this way at some point in their lives. I wanted to capture that moment of making a decision that maybe won’t work out best for you in the long run, but for one more night, it’s all about you. Let’s be real, those nights can be life-changing.
Who would you say inspires your music the most?
In terms of my approach to writing and performing, I would say Jimi Hendrix is my biggest inspiration. I don’t write music that sounds like his, but I try to discover new ways to deliver what comes from my heart like he did. He was such a free soul, and his music was full of love and truth. The way he could improvise and tell a dramatic and emotive story with his guitar has always been important to me.
What do you want fans to take away from your upcoming sophomore album Tragic Lover?
This album’s central themes are about displacement and never really feeling like you have a “home” even though you might have four walls around you and a roof over your head. When I was on tour last year, one of our tour stops was at Métis Crossing at Smoky Lake, Alberta. The archivists there have done a lot of work to record the history of the Métis people that lived across Alberta and Saskatchewan around the turn of the century, and to document their story of essentially being decimated by the loss of the bison and their traditional ways of living. Although my music isn’t traditional-sounding Indigenous music, I try to communicate my experience of being a modern Indigenous person living between two worlds. I’m interested in the concept of intergenerational trauma, which I have seen play out in my own life and the lives of my family members. You’re born with a wound, and it’s like you unknowingly begin your life in a triage state. People try all sorts of inventive things to stop the bleeding, trying to fill a hole or numb that pain with whatever they have available. It doesn’t always work, so we have a lot of walking wounded. That’s where the album title, Tragic Lover came from, this feeling of being doomed before you start, born under a bad sign… and yet having this fire inside you that won’t be extinguished.
What’s been the hardest and best parts of putting it all together?
The hardest aspect of this whole process was the emotions that came out while writing the lyrics. Some of the realities that Indigenous people were up against in the past, and still are up against in the present day, filled me with so much sorrow and depression. It took a lot to climb out of and take on a more positive perspective. Relating those stories to my own life was truly eye-opening. However, with the help of the entire creative team behind this record, and the collaborative nature I aimed for while recording it, reminded me about the importance of other people in our lives being there for us, and the fact that about a dozen or so people trusted me with steering the proverbial ship really made me feel inspired and confident in myself, something I hadn’t always been!
What can we expect from you throughout the rest of the year?
On top of the release of “One More Night,” I will be releasing a third single, a few music videos shot by the incredible director, Jarvis Grenier of Hot Shots Films, and then finally the release of Tragic Lover in September. We’re all hoping to be fully vaccinated soon, and be able to get out on the road and visit our favourite Canadian cities again. We really want to go and visit our fans in the U.K. and Germany, too!