Interview with Aidan Knight at Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 20, 2013.
Aidan Knight is a Victoria-based musician who, since his debut album Versicolour (2010), has joined with his present company (also conveniently called Aidan Knight) and put out their first album as a band, Small Reveal (2012). Despite his young age, he has toured with other local artists and bands such as Hannah Georgas, The Zolas, Dan Mangan, and Jeremy Fischer, and has been playing festivals all over North America including this year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
Vancouver Weekly: How’s it going?
Aidan Knight: It’s going well! It’s hot. Hot here.
Vancouver Weekly: Feeling a sunburn coming on?
AK: Yeah. Well, maybe. We’ll see. Last time I was here was a few years ago and I was playing on a bicycle tour. So we cycled here, which was amazing, and I was playing with a band from Vancouver called Said the Whale, and I was playing with Hannah Georgas who is from here, and Jeremy Fischer who is from… from around, and the thing that jogged my memory about sunburn is ‘cause we were cycling outside every day for the whole week before… We had hilarious short tans. Like when you have athletic shorts? And it was a perfect line. And I think I had multiple sunburns… So…
Vancouver Weekly: How does it feel playing so close to home?
AK: It’s really nice. So the thing about Victoria is we had a folk festival in Victoria; what actually happened was the Victoria folk fest either went bankrupt or shut down. So we still have… There is still one folk festival on Vancouver Island, but it’s like… all the way up the island. I don’t know when it is. The Victoria folk fest itself is no longer, so we have a real shortage of festivals, but it’s really nice to be… If this can be our second home folk festival thing, I’ll take that, because the spot is really beautiful.
Vancouver Weekly: Are you planning on visiting home after the festival?
AK: We will see. I would love to go back, but we did just leave from here before playing in the Winnipeg Folk Fest and then we went down to the States and played on the way up, so maybe. We’ll see.
Vancouver Weekly: Since you often play locally, have you ever had someone come up to you after a show and say something like “Oh hey! We went to high school together!”
AK: Yeah, the funniest one was this guy that I went to elementary school with and we played on a basketball team together and I borrowed a Gameboy – this is how long ago it was – this was like the first Gameboy Color, the very first color Gameboy, and I had it with Pokémon Red. This was like the classic game. You got all your favorites in there. You got Snorlax…
Vancouver Weekly: You can’t catch Snorlax.
AK: No, you gotta clear ‘em from the road. So anyways, I lost this guy’s Gameboy and Pokémon Red and I had to do chores for an entire year. Long story, this guy was talking to me and was like, “Hey, I’m that guy that you borrowed that Gameboy from…” and I was like, “Hey. Thanks a lot. I had to do chores.” And the funny thing was I found the Gameboy when we moved from the house that I lived in from the age of five until eleven.
Vancouver Weekly: Do you still have the Gameboy?
AK: No I think my brother lost it. I think I gave it to him.
Vancouver Weekly: Did he have to do chores for a year?
AK: No, because it’s in the family and you don’t have to replace the Gameboy.
Vancouver Weekly: Well…
AK: I know. I know! I know.
Vancouver Weekly: Is it weird to have your name printed on a bunch of shirts, pamphlets, and posters?
AK: It is. The weirdest part right now is that because… like, somehow along the way I realized it was not that fun to just play music always by myself, so the weird part for me is that we’ve turned this thing into way more of a band where it’s the five of us all playing together, and that’s the way it’s the most satisfying and just… good: when it’s the five of us. So it’s fun to play on these stages with the three of us and it’s cool to have my name on things, and I’m okay with that. But, at the same time, it’s weird and confusing on the level that it’s much more of a band now, so it’s weird for me to just be the one guy, but because I’ve been doing this for a while, we’d have to start all the way back at zero so I don’t know… You tell me if it’s worth it to start it all over. I don’t think so. I don’t find it all that weird but at the same time, yeah.
Vancouver Weekly: If you could play a show with anyone in the world, who would it be?
AK: I was just eating some lunch and talking with Luke [Doucet] who plays in Whitehorse, and he was talking about how they’re playing a festival that’s Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, and like, all these crazy things and, like, that is actually probably a third of all the people I would really, really want to play with. I would love to play with Radiohead. I would love to play with Grizzly Bear. If I could bring someone back from the dead, I would love to play with The Clash. If I could just play with anyone right now I would love to play with Wilco. I would love to play with… I don’t know, everyone and anyone. The Beatles would be amazing if you could just bring them back and just play with them. But yeah, there are a lot. I’m just going to say it: I think it would be fun as hell to play with Justin Bieber – just the scale of that – playing with him, in those arenas… I hear he plays a pretty good drum solo.
Vancouver Weekly: You once mentioned that growing up, you listened to a lot of the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack.
AK: Oh yeah!
Vancouver Weekly: What is on that?
AK: What do you mean what is that? You don’t know? Okay. Well. I remember that I had the CD and if you put the CD into your computer it started like… animation. It was pretty sweet. I remember bringing it to a computer lab in elementary school. Or was is high school? I remember bringing it to a computer lab very distinctly. So let’s see… What’s on there? You’ve got The Cardigans. The Cardigans are a highly underrated band. You’ve got Garbage, you’ve got a hilarious band name called The Butthole Surfers, Quindon Tarver, you’ve got Desiree…
[A wild fan approaches.]
Wild Fan: Excuse me! Do you know where I can buy your CD?
AK: Yeah! The CDs are in the merch tent. There should be some left there. Do you know where the tent is?
WF: Your performance on stage was really amazing!
AK: Aw, thank you so much.
[Wild fan departs.]
AK: Um… Romeo and Juliet soundtrack… don’t know. The soundtrack is amazing.