Tim Chaisson on The Other Side
Even with it’s expansive geography there is some magical component to life in Canada that means no matter where you go there will always be someone you know waiting to meet you. Tim Chaisson knows this to be true. The PEI born and based musician has relentlessly toured this country, sharing his original songs and traditional fiddle tunes. His fifth album was released this past Tuesday at an intimate show with Nick Rose at the Dakota Tavern. I caught up with Tim before he took the stage and asked him a few questions about making the album here in Toronto, how strange it is to have a friend no matter where you go, and why he’s toured Australia so many times.
You’re travelling to Australia in December. This will be your third trip. What keeps bring you back down under?
Third trip! Well, I have a management company there first of all. Having an infrastructure there really helps. I work with an agent and a manager down there. It’s been good, I’ve opened for a lot of Australia bands. I’ll be playing at a really great folk festival there this time, which I am really pumped about!
You’re supporting this new album, The Other Side, with a pretty extensive tour. Are there any parts of Canada you look forward to visiting?
I think every place has its draw. I’m from PEI so I mean, I definitely have a love for the East Coast…and the West Coast too. That’s a good question actually, because I was just in Calgary and it’s actually hard to believe how many Islanders are there and there were probably 30 Islanders who were at my show and were friends or family. A lot of them are just out there to work. That was one of the cooler things to happen lately.
But BC is just so beautiful. The mountains and everything are just unreal.
That’s a strange thing about Canada: you can just go anywhere and find someone you know.
Yeah, you just always find these connections. Whether they’re from the East Coast or they know someone you know.
You recorded this album here in Toronto with Colin Linden. What was that like?
It was great, we recorded at the Woodshed Studio. We spent, I’d say, probably about six or seven days total of just early mornings and late nights there. It was neat to do it in the city, too. I’d recorded with other people here, but hadn’t done a record. It was nice to be in the city but once you stepped inside the studio you get lost in there.
Is there anything on the new album you’re especially proud of?
I think just the overall process. When I first started talking to Colin and he said to me that we would just put everyone in the same room and what was going to be the record. I was really worried at first, sometimes I tend to be a perfectionist in the studio. I’d never done it like this before, I was really proud of the fact that we did this all just singing and playing together. Everything was completely natural. And just the songs too. I started out with about 25 songs, and 11 made it to this record. I’m just happy it’s the record I wanted to make. I put lots of fiddlin’ in, which I’d shied away from a bit before.
Was there anything specifically you thought Colin brought to the album?
Oh, a lot! Definitely his old school approach to recording. There were times where I’d ask, “do you think we should do that again?” and he’d tell us no, you’ve really captured the essence and the sound. Not on my last record, but maybe the one before you kind of get caught up if you’re just in the studio by yourself. It turns you into a perfectionist, but you can’t edit when you play live. So the way we did this recording, we were all playing at the same time, without click tracks, none of that. Just playing and singing at the same time was the coolest aspect of it. But then just his guitar playing! He’s one of the most sought after guitar players in North America. His playing is stellar throughout the whole record.
I’d heard somewhere that you have done supply teaching in the past. Have you given any thought to marrying that with music, and teaching music?
I did! I started teaching fiddle in my hometown maybe around grade eight. Guitar as well. When I finished university and was looking around for a job in the spring I never really thought to do it. I love teaching, I always thought I would be a teacher but I obviously love playing and touring just a little bit more.
Photos from the album release show with Nick Rose: