|THE PROOF is a weekly roundup showcasing local creatives. A column for creatives to share their story and work, in a unique, concise format: each creative shows 8 pictures and answers 8 questions. Past participants include Bob Kronbauer, Omer Arbel, Carson Ting, Lizzy Karp, Branislav Henselmann, Hannah Georgas - all living in Vancouver.|
They say beware of darkness. Not in the case of Vancouver’s Renaissance woman, Louise Burns. Hark! She bringeth forth dread, fear and beauty all in the same note, all at will.
Active for nearly 2 decades, Louise has worn the hats of solo artist, vocalist in countless bands including her current project Gold & Youth, multi-instrumentalist, music writer, occasional CBC radio host, and non-stop tourist.
With her most recent album The Midnight Mass, she crawls up up and over the Cave of Nick (her second home) and into a midnight mood-swingers party, previously attended by the likes of Francoise Hardy, Kate Bush, Bowie and Eno.
“I went back to the music I first fell in love with.” Burns says of her latest, The Midnight Mass. “The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, all of my favorite influences.” She’s right but make no mistake, The Midnight Mass is hardly an exercise in aping Burns’ heroes. She’s too much in the habit of being herself to let that happen.
There’s something in Burns’ natural warmth, amber voice and instinct for a hook that leaves you turned on and twisted, if you weren’t that way already.
1. Me and Margot, Los Angeles 2013. During the filming of my video for Jasper, I stayed at the director Claire Edmondson’s friend’s house. They have this beautiful Devon Rex and I fell in love with her alien charm. I can’t have pets as I travel too much, so I get really instagram-happy when I am around them.
2. Stage Fright Rocks, Phildelphia 2013
I’ve just realized that I have acute stage fright. I convert it into a detached non-chalant swag but truthfully I am terrified that people are looking at me. These are my stones to help remedy my TERRIBLE affliction.
3. Sad Bastard Shrine, Vancouver 2013. My friend Cody in Toronto had this in the basement of her beautiful shop, The Chief Salvage. I went down one day looking for skulls and found this. She gave it to me! I even made my band drive back home with it in the back of the van last tour- it gave my guitar player Darcy a bloody lip. Also shown- my prize possession, a 1967 Gibson EB-2 bass. I first fell in love with it while watching The Cure Trilogy DVD. Simon Gallup is my favorite bassist and he was playing one. I found one a few years later. It has survived by gear-selling purge and I cannot bear to ever part with it.
4. Gold & Youth, London 2013. We had a mini UK tour this fall and this shot was taken in London at Barflys. I love my boys! Not shown: Matt Lyall.
5. Sand Creature and I, Saanich 2013
I love this dog more than life itself. She belongs to my parents and her name is Molly, but I call her Sand Creature because she is the colour of a mid-summer beach. I write a lot of songs on my parent’s piano when I go home to visit, and my best songs come when I have this gentle creature nearby and a glass of gin to keep me inspired.
6. Blood Brothers, Spain, 2013. I am constantly pinching myself at what a great band I have. I mean SERIOUSLY. One half of Ladyhawk and Mirror Lake? Here we are post-drinking our faces off in Barcelona into the wee hours of the morning. It was a good night.
7. Kentucky Coil, Vancouver via Lexington 2013
This summer we were on tour with Lightning Dust. We drove through Kentucky and fell in love. We visited three bourbon distilleries and all ended up binging on Four Roses. I’m more of a scotch girl at heart but there’s nothing more charming than listening to Bluegrass and drinking bourbon during a rainy Vancouver winter. This Mortal Coil hides 1/8th of my record collection… I DJ exclusively vinyl so I have a few…
8. Brain time, Vancouver 2013
Many of these books were used as inspiration for writing my second record. I got really into Southern Gothic novels and music, though you’ll only see one Faulkner here. I read a lot. Here are some of my favourites read in the past year…
1. What neighborhood do you live in?
Mount Pleasant. Close to my jam space, friends and good coffee.
2. What do you do and where?
I’m a musician, songwriter and writer living in Vancouver who spends 80% of the year on the road. I release music under my own name and also play in Gold & Youth.
3. What are you working on?
I’ve just finished a pretty busy touring year that took me to Europe and all around the States. I’m now going to spend the winter writing my next record and starting new musical endeavours with some friends. Gold & Youth are also working on new material and have plans to tour the UK and USA again in the new year.
4. Where can we find your work?
Red Cat, Zulu, the internet, in the root of a joshua tree… Also my terribly amateur website louiseburnsmusic.com
5. Who are your role models?
I look up to songwriters. Carole King, Ellie Greenwich, David Bowie, Fred Rose, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Nick Cave… Anyone who has dedicated their life to their craft and is not afraid to change, morph and challenge themselves. Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, my best friends, my mother, my grandmothers; all the great women in my life.
6. What keeps you going in this industry?
A fucking fantastic sense of humour. Also, the joy of completing a song. There is nothing I love more than compressing a logic session to mp3 and sending it to iTunes.
7. If you had a chance to start your career all over again, how would you do it differently?
That’s a tough one- so many, but none at all you know? I think I would have played in less bands.
8. What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were young?
Don’t take yourself, or the music industry, so seriously, but believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one else will! I also just read Hannah Georgas’ Proof questionairre (we just finished a mini tour together in Ontario). She says “It’s about creating great moments with the people around you and enjoying life.” I like that. Create good moments. Have that fourth glass of wine.
If you were going to recommend a creative to VIA, who would it be? (optional)
Mish Way. She’s one of my best friends and an extraordinarily talented human. A writer, musician, songwriter, singer and all around fascinating gal. She tours with White Lung most of the time, but also writes for several publications and has time to be one of the best friends you could ask for.