Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Interview Sessions: Volume 3.1

Christine Bernier: Read All Instructions Before Use.

Full disclosure, here: Christine Bernier was one of the very first artists on our radar. When we were putting together the first Ruckus (which we here at Ruckus HQ lovingly refer to as "Readers of the Lost Ark"), Christine dropped us a line to offer her support. Having attended one of her shows before, we could attest to her excellent voice, her fantastic musicality, and her envious ability to create songs or cover them with equal skill. We were equally flattered and excited. Further full disclosure, here: Christine Bernier was also the first time we screwed up and missed replying to an email. .....whoops.

With that in mind, we could not be more thrilled that Christine is going to be playing for us at RR Vol. III: Don't Ruck it up Now! Even if you're not a fan of great beer, exceptional coffee, phenomenal readers, and an emcee who looks great in a tie, you won't want to miss Sunday's show: Christine's music defies labels, and there are no genres she won't explore, which makes for a hell of a set. When she covers songs, she gives a new edge to old favourites with her own dash of style, and her heartbreaking/slightly-smokey/insistent/Arcade Fire-approved (yep, seriously -- see interview question #5) voice; when she writes her own, she brings an intimate personal touch to the lyrics, and a delicate quality to the music that will stay with you long after the songs have ended.

Want a preview of the kind of magic Christine is going to be bringing to the Only Cafe this Sunday? Her Youtube channel, which can be found here, provides a tantalizing sample of Christine's work. Her original song, "We'll See," evokes the relaxed, reflective tones of Jack Johnson, and the vocal nuance of Alanis Morrissette. Her cover of Train's "Soul Sister" reaches new heights, providing a slightly more mournful and emotionally complex take on the radio smash hit. And this medley of Britney Spears songs, which she provides a take on, must be heard to be believed. (Final full disclosure: it has been on repeat on my computer for the entirety of writing this article.)

And as a primer for her performance on Sunday, we also got Christine to put down her guitar for a few minutes and answer some questions for us about her music and her influences (like you didn't see this coming). Read, be amazed, and we'll see you on the 25th!

Right out of the box, tell us: how would you describe your music to someone who hasn't ever heard it before? (For bonus points: if it came with a safety warning, what would that warning be?)

I don't have a proper way to describe my music... I've been called country/indie/rock but I also throw in some jazz and rap once in a while. Safety warning would be "read all instructions before use."

Can you remember the first time an artist's work really reached out and grabbed you, either lyrically or musically? If so, who were they, and what about their work caught your attention?

I honestly can't remember the first time it happened.

In your own work, are there any themes, chords, patterns (etc.) that you find yourself drawn to, intentionally or otherwise? What are they? Why do you think they resonate with you?

I'm often drawn to writing about sadness because it's an emotion everyone experiences but no one talks about. When someone is sad they usually withdraw from other people, so in my music I like to open up about those feelings to establish a human connection.

If there's one thing that you'd like people to feel, or to take away from your music, what is it?

Honesty. Everything I write (with the exception of only one song) is the 100% honest truth about things that have happened to me or emotions that I've felt, and I want everyone to feel that honest emotion coming through.

Just for fun, give me a pairing: one of your favourite bands/albums and one of your favourite beverages (alcoholic or not). Why do they go together? How do they complement one another?

Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker and Jagerbombs. They both represent organized chaos.

Any chance you'll give us a little hint at what you'll be playing on the 25th?

Some originals and some covers. A definite mix of styles for the night.

Last question: give us a short (less than 75 words) third-person bio blurb about yourself which covers any awards/distinctions you're proud of and what you're tackling right now.

Christine has always been singing. She plays multiple instruments - mostly guitar and saxophone - and has always found a way to keep music in her life. She was president of the UTSC Music Ambassadors Program for three years and has performed all over Toronto. Tim Kingsbury from Arcade Fire once told her she had a great voice, so that's pretty cool. She is currently working on new material to perform.

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