“Join the band, come on tour / Get in the van / What are you waiting for?” sings Jim “Shotgun Jimmie” Kilpatrick on “Join the Band,” the lead track from his new record, Field of Trampolines. A prolific songwriter, Kilpatrick isn’t one to shy away from the open road, often reminiscing on his shared experiences through his lyrics. So, is the music game just a flimsy excuse to get out and see the world?
“It’s a great excuse!” Kilpatrick laughs. “It’s an excellent way to see the world—you’re not just a tourist if you’re working, too. If you’re on tour you get your hooks into the culture a little bit more, in that you are interacting with people from the scene that you’re playing in. It’s like a working vacation. You’re in a little car with this crazy dude in Berlin, and he’s an architecture student showing you all of his favourite buildings in the city.”
Field of Trampolines was recorded at the end of a cross-Canada tour in Dartmouth, NS with longtime friend Joel Plaskett. After having sworn off the notion of ever working with a producer, Kilpatrick had something of an epiphany one night while watching Plaskett perform.
“I had done a split single with Joel several years ago, and we’d stayed in touch since then. If we were ever playing in towns close to each other, we’d hang out,” he recalls. “He’d offered to help out before and work on something together, but I didn’t like the idea of working with someone else for such a long time. That writing and recording and playing of music was my documentation about my interest in music, and I didn’t see how anyone would fit into that, or how it would make sense. It didn’t seem right for my projects. But I had an a-ha! moment at one of his shows. I realized he’s a genius, and I’d be an absolute idiot if I didn’t.”
Considering the album was recorded mostly live over three days, and mixed in one, how involved was Plaskett able to be in a project working at such break-neck speed?
“He was pretty in there,” Kilpatrick explains. “But his expertise wasn’t coming from ego or esthetics. He just knows from making so many records. The way a master carpenter can imagine the whole job of building a house, he could see the album. A lot of his suggestions were subtractive, too—we’d track it the way we’d been playing it live, but he’d say, ‘What about taking the second guitar, or the bass out of that part?’ and he’d show us by muting the tracks.
“I picked up a lot of tricks—realizing it isn’t always about adding more tambourine parts or vocals; sometimes it’s about stripping things back,” he continues. “I think it’s a really wise move to consider adding and subtracting. Maybe it seems really obvious, but it had never really occurred to me before. His idea of, ‘Let’s take everything out except your guitar and vocal’ ends up sounding like Guided By Voices—it’s this crazy, weirdo move. I’m like, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?'”
Mon, Jun 20 (8 pm)
With Human Music, Little League
The Needle, $15 in advance, $20 at the door