As part of the media coverage for FLOURISH (April 25-28), not your boys club will be having conversations with some of the folks that will be organizing, creating, and performing at the festival.
For the second interview of the series, I spoke with Indigo (she/they), Erin (she/her), and Emily (she/her) from Fredericton’s own, Terre Wa.
Indigo Rain Poirier (synth/drum machine) is an electronic musician recently awarded “artist of the year” for their solo project, Wangled Teb. Erin Goodine (synth) is an interdisciplinary artist, collaborator, and designer new to improvised electronic music. Emily Kennedy (cello) is a cellist, improviser, and collaborator active in genre-crossing projects with poets, textile artists, and dancers.
Together, Terre Wa is a powerful synthesis of these diverse backgrounds in visual arts and classical, experimental, and electronic music. Their improvised sets can abruptly turn from heart-wrenchingly beautiful to dark, intense, and menancing.
Photo by Emily Kennedy
How did Terre Wa form and how long have you been creating and playing music together?
Indigo: Terre Wa originally kind of grew out of a project Erin, her sister Robin, and myself were organizing called Sunday Music Spa. Sunday Music Spa is an ambient jam session for women and non-binary people where we set up a bunch of synths/drum machines, encourage people to bring their own instruments if they want or to use ours, and relax and make noise together in a soothing, supportive environment. Sometimes we make tea. It’s great. We had been hosting these sessions periodically for about a year or so, I think? Anyway, after awhile of performing together in that space, Erin and I ended up playing a set at Reads (god rest its soul) along with New Hermitage and Northern Apparatus, and then we decided we wanted to keep performing together and asked Emily to join us not long after.
Erin: Yeah, I think we had been doing Sunday Music Spa for around a year by that time. Sunday Music Spa came out of the need for a space that welcomed experimentation from people who were not musicians. I’ve always been interested in synthesizers and experimental music, but it always felt so daunting to learn how to play that type of music myself. After having that space to learn more about synthesizers and the time to experiment, Indigo was so generous to invite me to play a set at Reads with them even though I didn’t have much experience. It was the first time I had ever played music in front of an audience, but it was really encouraging and we got really good feedback from that first show. Once Emily joined us we became Terre Wa and everything came together so well.
Emily: Yeah, I went to that first show at Reads, and it was awesome! I was so stoked on it, I was was pretty tickled when they asked me if I wanted to jam, and then that was that. I’ve always enjoyed electronic music, and Terre Wa has been an awesome project to just explore how a good old wooden cello can fit in and mix with that kind of soundscape.
What can people typically expect from a Terre Wa set? Specifically at Flourish?
Erin: I guess it’s hard to say what to expect because it’s so different every time! Since all of our performances are improvised, we don’t necessarily know what it’s going to sound like going into a set. We did start to notice that the spaces we’ve performed in have really influenced the sound, like bar venues tend to be louder and more intense, while outdoor areas and quieter venues build up slower and are more relaxed. We will be creating an outdoor sound installation at Flourish this year as well as performing, so that will definitely influence the sound.
It seems that, outside of playing music together as Terre Wa, you are all very active in the music and arts community. I was hoping you could all offer some insight and perspective on the community there for folks not living, working, and creating in Fredericton.
Emily: Fredericton is a pretty special little arts community. I’m from New Brunswick, but I had lived in Ontario for seven years or so before deciding to move back home. It was really eye opening coming back – there are just so many supportive and hard working artists and musicians here. I think when I left, I felt the classic “grass is always greener” need to get away from where I was from, to go someplace larger. It feels even more special now to see how much of a gem this place is. There is this very grass roots, do-it-yourself culture here. People aren’t afraid to just start something, whether it’s a musical project or a festival. When you see that all around you, it’s inspiring. You realize that you can do that as well.
What does Flourish Festival mean for each of you?
Erin: Flourish always feels like such a nice celebration. Friends come back to town, the weather gets warmer. I’ve seen some of my favorite shows at Flourish, not only because of the amazing musicians and artists, but also for the space it creates.
Emily: Yes! Flourish is the best way to send off winter – a weekend jam packed with great music, art and pals.
Erin, can you specifically talk about your involvement with the arts and the collaborative textile poster that you worked on for Flourish?
Erin: Yes! I primarily work as a graphic designer by day, and had the opportunity to collaborate with my sister Robin Goodine and Emily Blair on the Flourish Fest poster. They created a textile piece in Montreal and I designed a poster around it. I’m also an interdisciplinary artist and have contributed artwork and installations for Flourish Fest in the past and have been involved in many collaborative art projects in Fredericton with the Shiftwork Collective and Connexion ARC. I’ve had some really great opportunities to collaborate with many amazing artists and musicians over the years. I also recently collaborated with Emma Hassencahl-Perley and Emilie Grace Lavoie on a curatorial project at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery that will be open during Flourish Festival this year.
Indigo, I know that you also play solo under the name Wangled Teb. Through this project, I saw that you will be offering a free workshop at The Charlotte Street Arts Centre Auditorium that will empower folks to use Ableton Live. Can you share what folks can expect of this workshop?
Yes! I’m going to talk about some basic terms that people should be familiar with when mixing, some general techniques for EQ and compression, a brief explanation of subtractive/analog synthesizers, and how I use Ableton for live performance. I might also go a bit deeper into how I approach writing a piece if there’s time.
What are each of you most excited for during this years Flourish Festival outside of your involvement(s)?
Erin: I’m excited to see Indigo and Emily’s other projects Wangled Teb and Pallmer! I’m also looking forward to seeing Carinae again. I saw them for the first time at last years Quality Block Party in Saint John, and they were amazing!
Terre Wa plays Flourish Festival on Saturday, April 27th at The Charlotte Street Arts Centre Auditorium (all ages / doors at 530 / $15)
Contribution by Nikki A Basset