Throughout the better part of this year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist Rich Aucoin, and as you’d likely recall, Aucoin has spent time as collaborator and guest musician in his older brother Paul’s band Hylozoists before quickly developing a reputation an an attention grabbing solo artist. In fact, Aucoin’s 2007 debut EP Personal Publication was a concept album conceived and written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas — and he supported the effort with a cross-Canada tour made entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada.
After completing the tour to support Personal Publication EP, Aucoin joined his brother’s band and toured with them; but as the story goes, because of a sudden shift from regular and extremely strenuous exercise to virtually no exercise, Aucoin eventually suffered through a debilitating iron deficiency. Once he recuperated, Aucoin went on yet another solo tour in which he ran partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. During both of those early solo tours, Aucoin spent time writing 2011’s full-length debut We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. Aucoin’s debut was long-listed as a nominee for 2012’s Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013. Building up on a growing profile, the Nova Scotian producer and electronic music artist released his critically applauded Ephemeral back in 2014.
Released earlier this year, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in about four years, and EP singles like the sprawling and propulsive “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle” and the jangling guitar pop meets synth pop “The Fear.” further cement Aucoin’s reputation for crafting infectious and anthemic yet thoughtful pop. The EP’s latest single “The Dream” is a slow-burning and wistful track that pairs the Canadian producer and electronic music artist’s tender falsetto over a production centered around twinkling and plinking keys, bursts of handclaps, and a propulsive and strutting bass line. And yet, the song manages to evoke something the narrator longs for the deep down, he recognizes he might not be able to fully achieve it; that sometimes you get what you need and not what you want. But there’s a hopefulness that suggests that sometimes just having a dream is necessary to survival. As Aucoin explained in press notes, “‘The Dream’ is a song about the contentment we can feel at an individual level when daydreaming or imagining a different world. It’s not about the achieving of making that world come to reality but looks at the various therapeutic benefits from such an endeavour. Whether it be imagining a time where you are not heartbroken, in an estrangement, or in conflict with the changes in your life, that power to picture yourself beyond the given moment is a useful tool for accepting the way things are and getting to that new spot, ‘The Dream.’”
Directed by Mike Bromley, the recently released video for “The Dream” was filmed in Los Angeles and it follows Aucoin, who plays an aspiring actor, and although he does suffer through some early rejection, he continues to be persistent — and with a smile, no less as he strives for the dream he wants to achieve.