Folk Fest 2010 : Timber Timbre (UPDATED)

 As promised I hit the Folk Fest again yesterday to enjoy some amazing tunes and conduct a couple of interviews. The first was with Taylor Kirk of Timber Timbre who dispelled myths about the origin of the band’s name explained why he wore a dark hood on stage during the band’s solo set yesterday and discussed the pros and cons of playing workshops.

I will transcribe this later so I can edit the Wikipedia page to correct the band name myth but until then here is the raw feed:


Update: Here is the transcript of the interview

FFWD: First and foremost do you feel as though Timber Timbre has an evangelistic role in terms of spreading to the English-speaking world the proper pronunciation of the word “timbre?”

Taylor Kirk: I suppose yeah. We’ve taken that role. Very few people have gotten it I don’t know… It was a foolish name choice moniker maybe.

FF: I don’t know about that…

TK: It’s educational right?

FF: You’ve got to educate your audience right? That’s part of folk fests and festivals in general. Tell me about the name tell me where it comes from.

TK: There’s a funny myth that someone came up with—maybe it was after a particularly boring interview or something but he concocted this story about how I was raised on a farm by lumberjacks or something which is not the case unfortunately. Maybe I shouldn’t dispel that.

FF: No sometimes a good creation myth… it’s like a comic book character you want to have that.

TK: The reality—or the other version let’s say—is that I was writing these songs in a timber-framed cabin in Northern Ontario and I made these recordings there. It was a collection of songs called Timber Timbre Cedar Shakes and that was a very literal name to describe this collection. I was out in the woods in this timber-framed cabin and the whole thing had a very woody sound I just used whatever I could use as an instrument—I would often bang pieces of wood together and stuff like that.

FF: I’d say the name was a good decision then! So yesterday—I have to ask—for your solo set I found it was a really interesting wardrobe decision. I was sitting there with my lovely mother and she kept pulling on my shirt and saying “Why has he got a hood on? Did someone die or is something…” Would you care to elucidate the audience on that decision?

TK: Well to be honest we normally play in the dark and indoors and in the evening and that’s part of creating the atmosphere. But also it’s just my comfort level with being in front of people and performing. It feels really unnatural for me to be performing. Usually when it’s dark and we’re in a venue… I’m not used to seeing so many faces looking back with interest. And especially here when we did our “Tweener” there were jumbotrons aimed at us and that was pretty devastating.

FF: Do you think it changes the way people receive the music the setting it’s in? If it changes for you so much to have the light around you to have all those faces do you think it changes the way people receive Timber Timbre?

TK: I think it does yeah. I think it doesn’t have the same dynamic the same impact. When we’re in a controlled space we can start from zero and we have that much more dynamic range to play with. I don’t know I was really concerned about these shows actually really anxious about all these festivals—we’ve done a couple of them now—and just how it would be received in broad daylight. It’s dark music at times and there are kids around and stuff and I wondered if it would be alienating for certain generations.

FF: It seemed to me that people were pretty taken by the show though in terms of just looking at the turnout—I mean… you probably weren’t aware of that. Do you think it’s something where you could grow towards [playing shows] like that?

TK: I hope so yeah I really hope so. I hope eventually I’ll become a more rounded seasoned performer but it’s not getting any easier yet.

FF: Seeing you in a workshop setting too then… I didn’t see the stuff today with Ohbijou and I know you guys know each other but going into something with a bunch of strangers like yesterday is that something that’s a real struggle?

TK: Totally. That’s a whole other can of worms. It’s funny because I’m really interested in playing with other people. There’s something about the setup that feels like a songwriters’ circle kind of vibe or that’s maybe what’s expected or just what happens. It would be nice to try. We kind of tried to open things up a little bit.

FF: I think my favourite moment was—I think it was you I was way back and suffering from heat stroke or something—but I think it was you who proposed a two-minute jam on all the wrong notes.

TK: Yeah yeah exactly! So more of that would be fun I think but again I don’t know I felt like we were pushing it…

FF: What was your take on it? Was it a successful jam?

TK: Oh yeah that was a highlight for sure. I wish we could do more things like that where we just play. There’s not a whole lot of that it seems.

FF: So if you were putting together your own workshop—if you were curating and let’s not put any borders up—if you could pick three other bands to share a stage with Timber Timbre and do something grass-rootsy organic I guess…

TK: Well the Ohbijou stuff was really nice and St. Vincent they were doing amazing stuff with us. It would have been a dream to be paired up with Konono or with… what’s their name… [TK pages through his trusty program] Etran Finatawa.

FF: That should be a good workshop this afternoon with Man Man and DJ Logic and St. Vincent.

TK: Yeah I’ve got my afternoon mapped out now.

FF: Maybe you should just linger in the shadows and stick your nose out and look like you want to come up on stage.

TK: [Laughs] Yeah maybe they’ll invite me up.