Victoria Musicians Towers and Trees will be making a stop in Chilliwack in the new year on Jan. 8 at the Acoustic Emporium.
Lead singer and songwriter Adrian Chalifour chatted with The Progress before a performance in Duncan, B.C., midway through Towers and Trees’ West Coast Tour.
The aptly named tour promotes their debut full-length record The West Coast (released Oct. 2), which celebrates the band’s home coast.
“The tour has been incredible thus far, and really affirming,” he said over the phone.
Their first EP Broken Record (2012) was a sort of “passion project” for Chalifour. But with the success of ‘Montreal‘ and their performance in the CBC Searchlight contest and PEAK Performance Project, they built up quite a following.
“We’ve grown something pretty special over the last two years,” he said. Their first “proper” album release tour is a way to celebrate and magnify that growth.
When laying down Broken Record, they “embraced the fact that it was a small, organic, home-recorded project. We accepted that as our canvas.”
But when they brought it to the stage for their first few shows, they were blown away by the exponential surge of the music’s sound and energy. That level of fervor was something that they deliberately shied away from while recording, but they were hooked.
Recording The West Coast, “we wanted to make an album that challenged our live shows to be even bigger and better,” Chalifour explained.
They focused on creating rich “sonic landscapes” that flowed from one song to the next, and within each individually.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve done,” he said. If this album is criticized for anything, Chalifour hopes that it’s criticized for being audaciously ambitious.
Towers and Trees’ music has truly come of age from Broken Record to The West Coast. One song from the EP – ‘We’re Not Islands’ – was re-recorded for The West Coast.
“I felt it needed to be more rich. Like you’re standing at the front of the B.C. ferry, with a wide open view.”
The powerful difference between the two versions of the song is representative of the band’s growth in instrumentation.
Lyrically, the shift is in part due to changes in Chalifour himself.
Just as Towers and Trees was finding it’s feet, Chalifour’s 12-year relationship came to an end. Although he was rocked to his core, he dove into promoting his EP and song-writing to both process his grief and reaffirm his identity as an independent man.
“I needed that,” he said.
And that was the fuel for The West Coast.
“Right from the beginning, I was aware that this was the story that would be told [on the record],” he said.
The album is composed of two movements. One is coming to terms with loss, the other is hopeful and optimistic. Title track ‘West Coast‘ threads them together in the middle, with forgiveness.
The vulnerability and honesty of The West Coast speaks to what Chalifour hopes to accomplish through his music: connection. The two-fold purpose connects the artist to what is in their own heart, and it also brings together a room full of strangers who may have shared similar experiences.
At a show in Kamloops, Chailfour recalled dedicating ‘Love Song For No Girl in Particular’ to an audience member who needed a little extra encouragement in believing that “storybook love” could still exist after heartbreak.
Chalifour says his next album will be fundamentally different. Primarily, it’ll be less personal and more universal.
“I don’t think that I could handle it if my whole life was as turbulent as I’ve captured on this album,” he said with a chuckle. But he won’t be writing new music until he’s out of the promotional “push mode” for The West Coast.
“It’s hard to turn around and get back into the creative mode. And you shouldn’t, anyway. That noise gets in the way.”
For now, Chailfour and his bandmates are encouraged by the reception of their tour dates thus far, all of which have exceeded his expectations. He’s content with the strong sense that there will be a ‘next,’ even if he doesn’t quite know yet what that will be.
See Towers and Trees perform at the Acoustic Emporium on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Check them out at towersandtreesmusic.com.