Even when he fronted Halifax rock outfit Sleepless Nights, A.A. Wallace had a singular mindset, treating the band as a rotating cast of whoever was available, interested, and qualified, instead of a group of personalities upon whom the entire thing depended. It’s no big surprise that he’s since ended up out on his own, recently remixing tracks for Pick A Piper and Jenn Grant, and releasing his full-length solo debut, (disambiguation).
“We reached a point in the band where we were all kind of bored with it,” Wallace admits over the phone from Halifax. “I kept doing things the way I was doing them before, just by myself.”
Bands ditching guitars and going electronic may increasingly be the name of the game, but unlike most being influenced by trends or stunted by the prohibitive costs of being a touring band, Wallace’s earliest instrument was actually a computer—growing up in Yarmouth, NS, his first musical experiments were with sequencing, not strumming. Post-Sleepless Nights, when it came time to make (disambiguation), Wallace’s songwriting took a mechanical turn.
“I started writing songs based on equipment a lot more. I would keep trying different sounds until finding one that’s right or appropriate,” he says, detailing his approach to finding and layering sounds. “But it’s hard to figure out when you’re done working that way, you lose perspective really easily.”
(disambiguation) retains not only the lo-fi charm of Wallace’s rock recordings, but the precision of his songcraft and keen ear for melody (see: “Temporal Suspension”), even if those sweet sounds mask a darker exploration of modern isolation. His audience would agree.
“Even with Sleepless Nights, people would always dance at our shows. I don’t know what it was about the kind of arrangements,” he wonders. “I find it’s the same, but people just dance a bit slower now!”
3 Essential Albums
Forever Again by Eric’s Trip
666 by Aphrodite’s Child
Rounds by Four Tet
Computer. Before I had access to instruments and stuff, when I was like, 13 or 14, I got really into drum sequencing on pretty rudimentary computers.
Most underrated music scene in Canada
I think everywhere gets the credit it deserves. I’d probably have to say Yarmouth, because that’s where I’m from and where all the people I play with are from. None of us live there anymore though, so I don’t know if that’s valid (laughs). Yarmouth has more days of fog than sun. Which you can verify on Wikipedia. It’s kind of the end of the world there.
First song ever recorded:
I don’t remember! It would have been somewhere in the mid-’90s, on a computer. When I first started recording stuff, I subscribed a lot more to the hip-hop style of production of samples, and breaking them down into individual hits, and resequencing them.