Canadian music has been gifted with a new record label birthed in the Pacific Northwest, featuring artists from and around the PNW locality. Following the release of the debut Cascade Falls LP last May, Oscar St. Records is ready to showcase their latest sound: Peach Pyramid – a force of dreamy melodies, music as self-administered medicine, or the perfect handshake (or full-on warm embrace, rather) between intimacy and song. But first, let’s explore a little bit more on the newly minted Oscar St. Records, founded by none other than national treasure, Kathryn Calder. Calder’s music is celebrated both with her powerful solo project under her name, and as a core member of power pop darlings, The New Pornographers. She is an accomplished artist, a musical veteran and a visionary.
BREAK-OUT ARTIST: PEACH PYRAMID
I spoke to Calder about Oscar St. Records:
“I started the label as a way to support the community of musicians in the place I grew up in, the Pacific Northwest. There are so many records coming out of our area that don’t get the attention they deserve. I like being the person behind the scenes recommending great records! I find it rewarding, and being a songwriter and musician myself, I’m aware of how much work goes into making a record, so I always think it’s such a shame when a beautiful album gets made and people don’t get to hear it. I’m trying to remedy that in any way I can.”
Peach Pyramid recently released a video for a single titled “Repeating Myself”. While the video features appropriated found footage of a vintage 1950s-era couple wholesomely involved in a telephone call and subsequent social activities, the song provides a contemporary soundtrack: a dreamy, romantic landscape of the intimate self; a songwriter’s songwriter. Peach Pyramid’s Jen Severtson, is gearing up for her full-length LP also titled “Repeating Myself” slated for release on September 22, 2017. I had the pleasure of conducting a short interview with Severtson on the new album, and I learned a little bit of her history, community and the process.
- Your record is set for release on September 22. Describe the excitement you might have leading up to the release. I really enjoy hearing about how artists deal with anticipation of a major project.
A big box of CDs arrived at the studio on Wednesday, and we ceremoniously opened them while live-streaming the event on Instagram. There is something really special about holding a tangible copy of the record. For me, it really let the finality of the project sink in. I feel very lucky and proud, and I am so excited to share it with the world!
- Your “about” description on your facebook is very poetic: “Peach Pyramid is the brimming honesty and personal experience of one Jen Severtson. An internalized cry pulled to the surface; transformed and juxtaposed by way of graceful melodies and swirling guitars. Supported by a rotating collective of musicians/close friends, Peach Pyramid sonically exhales Jen’s intimate narrative.” Tell me about your drive for the intimate narrative. How is your true intimacy realized in creative pursuits?
Writing has become almost therapeutic for me over the years. It’s the safest place I can turn to when I need to get something out of my head. My songs are all very personal; they reflect how I’m feeling and responding/not responding to what’s going on around me. I went through a long period of writer’s block, caused by depression. It was pretty easy to just shut down, close myself off from what I was feeling. After I took some time off for myself, I started to write again, and I began to face off with some pretty low moments that I wouldn’t have even been able to acknowledge without music.
- How did you connect with Kathryn’s label, Oscar St. Records? Do you reside in the Pacific Northwest?
I met Kathryn through one of my best friends, Layten Kramer. I play bass in Layten’s band. Layten recorded his record with Colin and Kathryn. At the time I was living in Calgary and Kathryn had asked Layten if he could play guitar for her at the Calgary Folk Festival and if he knew a bass player and drummer who could also fill in for her band. That’s how we first met. I later moved to Victoria and when we started recording, Kathryn sked me if I would be interested in putting out a record with her brand new label, Oscar St. Records. I said yes.
- Tell me about the musicians you surround yourself with. You mentioned that you have rotating friends that play music with you. Do musicians support each other? Paint me a picture of your intimate music community.
I grew up in Calgary and I have been playing in bands for almost 10 years now. I have had the pleasure of playing and watching some of my best friends make music. A lot of my friends play in multiple projects with each other, and it has made for a very supportive community. Victoria is very similar. It is full of friendly people who are enthusiastic about the music being made by their peers, and that is very special.
- Sushi or Thai?
Sushi. I could eat unagi avocado rolls all day, every day.
Learn about and Hear more Peach Pyramid at: