Fun Fun Fun Fest Interviews: Sunday
The shamanic, crazed visions of Nick Thorburn
Islands4:50pm, Stage 1
"I want to be a shamanic, crazed visionary with a mild dictator streak," Nick Thorburn sneers from his home in Montreal. Thorburn's now frontman of his epic sixpiece Islands, which, with this year's sophomore LP, Arm's Way (Anti-), jumped into the dramatic waters of something pleasant, illusory, and altogether catchy.
"I definitely like steering the ship, because I have a lot of ideas," he says of his new role since original co-conspirator and Unicorns believer Jamie Thompson left the band. "There are no great ideas in a community. You need a despotic leader."
Arm's Way's drama comes in stories, often true, of childhood murders and creeping stalkers, driven by a multi-instrument attack balanced on Thorburn's complex, intricate songwriting. Trudging elbow-deep through pop songcraft might find some gasping for air, but Thorburn needs more. He's formed a secondary project with Canadian singer-songwriter Jim Guthrie, Human Highway; his original indie-hop side project with Thompson, Th' Corn Gangg, still pops up from time to time; and his latest, an electropica vision with producer Daddy Kev called Reefer (after Hawaii's coral reefs) just broke ground.
"It's definitely something new for me to juggle many bands," admits Thorburn. "There's always downtime between bands, so I can use that time to focus on something like Human Highway. It's really a labor of love. There's no motive."