7" Survey: Nick Storring

Every edition of this season’s Long Winter, we’re releasing a free split seven-inch, each side featuring a song from one of the night’s featured artists. To compliment the releases, we’ve issued a seven-part questionnaire to each of the artists involved, giving the subjects an inch (about 85 words) of space to answer each of our questions.

Nick Storring has appeared on Long Winter lineups before in his capacity as a member of Picastro and Bespoken, but will return this Friday (Jan. 9) to give a solo performance. After releasing two albums in the final quarter of 2014 (Gardens – an informal tribute to Charles Stepney – in October, then Endless Conjecture in November) Nick Storring’s sounds are also set to appear on yet another new recording: our January seven-inch, also featuring Bile Sister.  In this questionnaire, Storring details some of his recent undertakings and explains how his process has developed over time.

Long Winter: Who are you and how did you start pursuing music as a solo artist?

Nick Storring: I'm a composer and musician based here in Toronto. I create music that exists only on recording and play live (alone, and in several bands – Picastro, Bespoken, the Knot and I Have Eaten the City).

I also compose for ensembles and solo performers. My music has been commissioned by, among others, Arraymusic, Montréal's AKOUSMA Festival, and Eve Egoyan. Working with artists in other artistic fields is also a big part of my practice.

Growing up, I studied cello but my first forays into creating my own music came in my early teen years using tracker software on the family computer. I've always been a solo artist at heart, but one with a desire to collaborate.

LW: What inspired “Now Neither One Of Us Is Breaking”?

NS: As with almost all of my music, it's very hard to say specifically. For me music is both extremely intimate and abstract – it comes from, and speaks to many subconscious sources. I will tell you that the title comes from the lyrics to Roberta Flack's 1982 ballad “Making Love,” and it may sound ridiculous, but I do think there's a bit of latent Quiet Storm feel to the track. I'm also certain that the time I spent on Manitoulin Island in late September (just as summer was winding down) directly prior to making this piece also informed the track's reflective tone.

LW: For lots of listeners, this will be their first point of access to your music. Where does this song fit into the rest of your catalog?

NS: Over the past three years, I've sort of found a bit of a rich, but stable starting point for making work. Where a lot of my earlier work used a lot of computer processing, I've recently let go of the digital effects (except when playing live), and started building these elaborate multi-track pieces using only live instruments (all of which I play). Apart from how it was made, I'd say this track is a bit more sombre than other recent pieces.

LW: Once they’re turned on to this, what releases (songs, EPs, albums, or otherwise) should people pursue as logical next steps to getting to know your music?

NS: I had two records come out this past year, the first releases since 2011. I'm quite proud of them both. They both share the same working-method I mention above. Gardens (CD/DL) came out on Tulsa's Scissor Tail Editions, while Endless Conjecture (Cassette/DL) was put out by Ohio eccentrics Orange Milk Records.

LW: When you think of winter, what’s a memory that stands out for you?

NS: Growing up, my grandmother lived outside of Bancroft and they used to get a lot of snow up there. I can remember a time when the snow banks were almost as tall as I was and this meant all sorts of possibilities. My cousins and I would burrow deep into these and crawl around. It was all quite magical.

LW: How do you survive winters in Toronto?

NS: Lots of Pho!

LW: What are you most looking forward to for the Jan. 9 edition of Long Winter?

NS: Wow... Tough call. It's going to be a great night for me, sharing the bill with a whole bunch of my favourite local artists. I'm also excited to check out the artists I don't already know!

As much as I'm reluctant to single anyone out among these, I'll say it's nice to see Jason Doell included because to me it shows that Long Winter is continuing to extend its tentacles further into different aesthetics—in this case the contemporary composition. We have a great scene for that in Toronto.

In general, I really admire the spirit of the series for its omnivorous exuberance!

Found out more about Nick at http://www.nickstorring.ca

Interview by Tom Beedham