|“There are plenty of chances taken on the album, from folk and country sounds, through to songs that almost seem as though they’re constructed from dueling breakbeats. Importantly though, I never felt like I was listening to an experiment, that organic base mentioned in the quote above ensures that each song manages to keep a melodic essence, and that makes for enjoyable listening. In fact, this is an album that rewards repeated listens, as I was picking up nuances in the songs, in the lyrics especially, on the second or third time through.” – HERO HILL
This album was created in a shed over the course of three days in Halifax’s North End with producer/engineer AA Wallace and one sole Beta57 microphone.
– Listen here –
From the mouth of Andrew Sisk:
The story of the making of the album “Pedestrian” involves many moments that seemed to fall into place perfectly and to this day it acts as a personal memento as to how magical life can be.
I was 26 and had been weaving through jobs and places to live for the last few years. I had just finished my teacher’s degree, then volunteered in Nicaragua and Honduras, then worked in Jamaica while having a heart-breaking 3 -year relationship end. The future felt nebulous and confusing. A serious car accident the previous year had changed me and I felt that the fragility of life could only be battled by taking every opportunity and facing all fears.
The magic began in the small green mountains of Jamaica. I would wake every day in the tropical heat with my heart aching and mind racing, writhing in my bed, tortured by my broken heart without the luxury any of the normal life distractions. I was working isolated on the side of a mountain with no TV, Internet, or friends with too much time to reflect. My only defense against the constant sense of grief was to force myself out of bed as soon as I woke. I would sit upright, pivot, place my feet on the ground, and quickly prepare to go for a run through the early morning air. The white-shirted school children would run along with me for a short time as I followed the weaving narrow roads through the peaks. I would achieve clarity before turning back for home.
I spent most of those months with this daily morning ritual of running, picking grapefruit for breakfast, writing songs, drawing out my plans and listening to the radio before going to work. These actions became magical offerings, sacrifices of sweat, summoning the universe into gathering around what I envisioned. It’s hard to explain the change that happened but one day the grief was over and everything was suddenly magical. Somehow the repetition of these acts allowed me to weather the storm and create a new catalogue of songs. I could clearly see the album, the people involved, and the places we would go.
photo: Richard Lann
When my job in Jamaica was over and I returned to Canada, I had a clear vision and a couple album’s worth of material ready to record.
I knew the album was going to be called Pedestrian and continued to write down my plans every day in my journal as if to summon it into reality. To some of you, this might just sound like hard work and calculated risks, but there is something more to it, whether it’s just imagination or mystical thinking, by creating an image in the mind and turning that into actions we change the life we live.
By 2007, I had already recorded two completely different albums, both experimental and minimal, and almost secretive in their release, with AA Wallace as producer/engineer. I had begun to perform and tour as Share with the encouragement of Kyle Cunjak and Nick Cobham; who joined me to perform my songs live. So, when I returned from Jamaica, things just seemed to fall into place. I would declare my plans and things would happen. People would offer and I would accept. Suddenly we were on tour and recording with places to stay, mostly thanks to Kyle Cunjak or James Boyle who had appeared like angels to always push things along.
In July of that summer we had arranged to record in AA Wallace’s studio that he had outfitted in a tiny backyard shed. Halifax was alive with bands and musicians at the time and the city had an inspired air. In 5 days, we recorded the entire album with a laptop, a microphone, a melodica, an upright bass, and a couple acoustic guitars. I can still remember so many moments watching Nick and Kyle record their parts and feeling a sense of awe at their talent as they would build harmonies and structure under my loose songwriting. AA Wallace had mastered sampling and manipulating sounds within Ableton Live’s software and the creative process seemed so quick and effortless as we worked through the days and nights.
Not long after, we had the final mixes and masters and were off touring around Canada with this fresh new album and material. As much as what happened next is blurry, I remember the constant tingle of facing the daily challenges of touring with no money and trying to create order out of constant chaos. We eventually toured to England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and all over Canada with this album creating opportunities for us as we went. It retrospect it seems miraculous and unlikely that we did as much as we did with so little but that is how it happened.