Electro-pop with a flair of DIY Punk attitude, @RichAucoin travels the globe preaching the power of now and the joy of community. With confetti cannons and a technicolor parachute, Rich Aucoin engulfs even the most cynical with an irresistible presence and a playful affirmation of life.

On March 16, Rich Aucoin released the new Hold EP, and announced his PRESS ON tour. As part of the tour, Aucoin is bicycling across the United States, to raise awareness for mental health by donating 100% of tour proceeds to Mental Health America and The Canadian Mental Health Association. Aucoin will be joined by bandmates in each city as he pedals across the deserts, mountains, and forests of America.

@MusicNews360 corresponded with Aucoin as he biked across Southern California (hopefully, he was not typing while on the bike!). We chatted about Eckharte Tolle, Koala Bears, and Fabreezing the Parachute. Check below for excerpts from our conversation.

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Rich Aucoin – The Middle (Official Video)

MN360° – What is your astrological sign?

Virgo

MN360° – What is your spirit animal? How does it manifest in daily life?

Koala stay calm

MN360° – If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

The ability to know what people are listening to on their headphone while they walk by.

MN360° – How does Canada produce such great music?

Ketchup flavoured chips

 

 

MN360° – Have you noticed more Americans moving to Canada, as of late?

No but welcome !

MN360° – What first sparked your interest in music?

Seeing a symphony play Rhapsody in Blue at 5 had a big impact on me for sure.

MN360° – What was your first instrument? Did someone gift it to you?

I think recorder might have been before I started piano at 6. My parents gave me the recorder. Mom still has the piano.

MN360° – Who is your least obvious musical influence?

Wu Tang

MN360° – What is your favorite Beach Boys song? Why? Where can we hear it in your music?

Good Vibrations. Just such an ambitious recording attempt. There are hours of cutting room floor versions of the song too. I’ve heard a bunch of those too. You can hear its theremin melody replayed on theremin in my song Brian Wilson Is ALiVE.

MN360° – What is your process for writing/recording new music?

I score my songs to movies.

MN360° – When was the first time you brought out the parachute during a performance? What inspired its introduction?

2009 NXNE. Saw it online while buying something on EBay and then thought it’d be fun to do in the show.

MN360° – How do you keep the parachute from not smelling stinky?

Fabreeze

MN360° – How do you decide on the movie clips you show during performance?

Look for scenes with the same emotional content.

MN360° – What is the story behind your ‘Gender is Over’ shirt?

It’s a great fundraiser for trangsgender equality groups. Check them out at www.genderisover.com

MN360° – Are you a fan of Eckharte Tolle?

I’ve looked at his books at my mom’s.

 

MN360° – How often do you have to reload the confetti cannons?

Every shot!

MN360° – What is your ‘truth’?

“Don’t be a dick”

MN360° – Do you believe in magic? Can you give an example?

Yes. The feels you get from Can You Get To That by Funkadelic

 

MN360° – What percentage of your songs would you say are autobiographical?

42%

MN360° – Can you tell us more about your bike tour across the US?

LA to NYC. starting with getting some kicks on 66.

MN360° – What is the furthest you’ve ridden your bike in a single day?

170km

MN360° – Any dreams/visions/insights experienced while riding for that length of time?

Please get off the highway before the sunset.

MN360° – Do you see a connection between performance and religious experience? Does rhythm play a role in that?

Both are communal joy.

MN360° – How did you meet your band mates? How did you ask them to join your band?

Various ways. There have been about 260 people that have backed me up at this point.

MN360° – What is the strangest thing you’ve experienced on tour?

touring

MN360° – What do you do to occupy yourself between shows while on tour?

Planning the next shows.

MN360° – How about strangest place you’ve crashed while on tour, or bike tour?

Slept in the parachute a few times in some odds spots.

MN360° – What will music sound like in 100 years?

It’ll continue to expand in all directions like a web spreading outward and with more intersections of various strains of genres.

MN360° – If you had to describe your music as a color, what color would it be?

teal

MN360° – If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it say?

Gender is over, if you want it!

http://www.genderisover.com/

Review from www.pitchfork.com .

No one ever wants to admit that summer’s totally over, but it’s even tougher this year considering how fun it all was– seems like every other day, an evocatively named band would come about and contribute to this glo-fi/dreambeat/chillwave thing that was perfect for those unbearably humid August nights rife with possibility, imagining an alternate universe where the narcotic of choice in danceclubs were Galaxie 500 and Saint Etienne records.

More than a few of these singles came from Philadelphia’s Dayve Hawk in the guise of either Memory Cassette, Weird Tapes, or Memory Tapes. To this point, he’d served as something of a microcosm for this sound, which has created intriguingly hazy, wistful but beat-informed one-offs and EPs, but nothing weighty enough to get it past “something we did that one summer,” as if it were a road trip or ill-fated romance recalled years later. That was before Seek Magic, a record of achingly gorgeous dance-pop that captures both the joy of nostalgia and the melancholic sense that we’re grasping for good times increasingly out of reach.

Initially, Seek Magic‘s power derives from an intensely personalized ability to unlock hidden chambers in our memory banks. The half-submerged guitars that introduce “Swimming Field” suggest this is as a soundtrack for a restless evening, but between its F-G chord progression and aqueous thumb-piano and panflute synths, I’m reminded of scorching July days vibing out to Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born. Instrumental breaks “Pink Stones” and “Run Out” recall the unconventional beauty of Apehx Twin’s Richard D. James Album. “Green Knight” smacks of Police’s “Wrapped Around Your Finger” in its verse and any number of mid-80s light funk with its guitar licks, the sneaker squeak in the instrumental break is one of the most evocative found sounds I’ve heard in a while.

Seek Magic is something of an inhabitable universe that proves there’s far more to Hawk’s sound than a way with reverb and passing familiarity with dance loops. The rubber-smacks-road beat of “Bicycle” would be content to mirror its titular vehicle, but nearly every minute packs some sort of detailed compositional surprise: the widescreen breakthrough where Hawk’s androgynous vocals shake lo-fi two minutes in, the bass breakdown that soon rights itself into the second half’s backbone, and the choral coda that lays a euphoric vocal sigh over wave-running New Order guitars. By comparison, “Plain Material” is streamlined, but not by much– the way Hawk’s voice hits the fuzzed-out guitar chords, you might think this was an unearthed Flaming Lips track, and at first, it sounds like the first time on Seek Magic that he’ll adhere to a standard verse-chorus structure. It does, but only after a drum beat cribbed straight from Organized Noize turns in a bridge of teen screams imported from In Ghost Colours‘ nastier breakdowns.

And yet in Seek Magic‘s centerpieces, you sense a nocturnal unease usually attributed to more spare albums. “Stop Talking” could’ve been content to ride out its gummy bass riff to infinity, but it morphs through so many phases in its seven minutes that the half-time post-rock finale doesn’t feel tacked-on. On the following song, “Graphics”, Hawk offers an unnervingly lonely sentiment– “I don’t even recognize the sound of your voice, the feel of your touch, you could be alone even though I’m here by your side.” Lyrics are mere suggestions through most of Seek Magic, but Hawk lays out an “I can’t go on, I’ll go on” vibe throughout. One second, he sighs “this is the last time” and immediately thereafter, “one more time, baby, one more time.” It’s a sentiment that’s underpinned great works of art from Daft Punk (“One More Time” natch), F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise), Kanye West (“Why can’t life always be this easy?”), and um, Old Milwaukee– the times where you think “it doesn’t get any better than this,” and it’s simultaneously the happiest and saddest thing you can say.