Rich Aucoin: Halifax’s prince

Rich Aucoin combines his two loves, the silver screen and music, in his newest album, Ephemeral.

Rich Aucoin w/Windom Earle, Walrus, Kappa Chow
Thursday, October 23, 8pm
Reflections Cabaret, 5187 Salter Street

"Imagine an amusement park where you just re-enact iconic movies scenes," says Rich Aucoin. I laugh and tell him he's already living that dream and actually he is the amusement park. To understand Aucoin, it's helpful to know that his touchstone is cinema, and his backdrop, on and offstage, is the big screen. 

Since 2007, Halifax's foremost experimental-pop performer has been full-on Hollywood. His first EP was synced with The Grinch and 2011's We're All Dying to Live was an epic effort with a cast of hundreds, an award-winning video and an 80-person release show. His newest LP, Ephemeral, is the perfect sequel. 

"There are 52 people on this album, and choirs from Nashville and Florida," says Aucoin, who recorded parts of Ephemeral at Abbey Road Studios, Hotel de Tango in Montreal and in Toronto. Inspired by a 1979 Claymation version of The Little Prince, the 10 tracks are energetic, contagious and have an intense narrative arc. It's complementary to his live show, which is notoriously fluid and filled with interaction. "I liked the idea of starting a show with opening credits," he says of his show's intro, a customized reel of personal messages he projects behind his regular and irregular bandmates. "We used to play the theme from Inception but I wrote Ephemeral's intro, 'Meaning in Life,' just for that."

"You know the 'I Want to Believe' poster from The X-Files? I wrote 'Want to Believe' about it; that was the impetus," he says. The video for Ephemeral's single, directed by Jason Eisener, is an adventurous paranormal experience currently airing on MuchMusic. It features Aucoin as Detective Wolfe, a former supernatural investigator who is re-inspired by a group of super-cool kids who also want to believe. "I went to Jason with the idea because I knew he would capture the super-8 vibe, like The Goonies or Monster Squad feeling that I really wanted," he says.

Much like "Want to Believe," Aucoin's 2011 video for "It" is as cinematic. No surprise that film scoring and acting might be Aucoin's next creative ventures. "But I love performing, I love travelling and I love the audience. The first time I went into the crowd, it felt like a drug," he says. As the band for comedy talk-show Good Morning Tonight and a set at Reflections, Aucoin has twists planned the Pop Explosion. "And there will be lots of confetti, of course."

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