Vancouver, BC / Toronto, ON
JP Maurice is a returning contestant in this year's BC Peak Performance Project. This pop music lover turns hard times into bright melodies. Maurice is currently working on his follow up album, Retriever.
Maurice also works to raise awareness for the less commonly discussed causes for cancer, like how our environment plays a factor. A link to Creatively United For The Planet can be found below to find out more.
G: Tell us a bit about creating The Arborist.
JPM: The story behind the name of The Arborist, is kind of a concept that I'd been kicking around well before I began making the album. Much like an Arborist cuts off unnecessary branches of a tree to let wind pass thru a forest correctly, I was using the analogy for my music. Stripping away unnecessary musical layers to develop the heart of a song in the clearest way possible. The co-producer, Adam Sutherland, and I had a very clear idea going in to what we wanted the album to sound like, emulating current intelligent pop records at that time like Adele, Foster the people, and Gotye, and I think we captured that well, while still finding our own unique sound as well. My favourite tracks are the two that finish the album Renegade, and Gamechanger. It's a very personal album, but those two are very close to my heart, and I think the production turned out great on those two
G: If it has been, how has recording Retriever been a different experience compared to The Arborist?
JPM: Retriever is till being worked on as I write this. It started as a live - off the floor - session with some kick ass players in Toronto in a Trailer on the Danforth.. It has morphed into including some of those sessions, but also incorporated sessions I've done with a producer from Bucharest, Romania, as well as different sessions I created while on tour in Europe, and while I was living at a songwriting/recording boutique in St. Catharines Ontario. I continue to still work on it and am currently trying to find the thread that pulls all these parts together.
G: What are you wanting audiences to get out of Retriever?
JPM: I'm really working hard on Retriever to be my best album to date. I want it to be more fun and optimistic then The Arborist. The Arborist lyrically was about a dark time in my life, so Retriever I think is more about coming out the other side. I want it to make people want to dance and sing.
G: Could you touch a bit on your “Big Change” charity campaign?
JPM: Basically, my parents have been dealing with cancer for the last 8 years. My dad prostate, and my mom who has a very serious stage 4 cancer now all through her body. They are extremely healthy people, so I wanted to pair with an organization that is looking at cancer is a broader sense. Not just treating the symptoms, but looking at the reasons behind why cancer is increasing more and more and trying to address the underlying issues in our society that cause cancer, like our environment, lifestyle choices, etc. My charity Creatively United For The Planet is also run by Frances Litman who is running for the Green Party in the federal election on Vancouver Island, so that also aligns with my political beliefs.
G: What do you think the biggest issue independent musicians struggle with nowadays?
JPM: It would have to be the financial climate. There are more and more people making music, so the market is getting extremely saturated and competitive. It's hard to set yourself apart from the pack, and in order to do so you really have to dedicate yourself to your craft, which is difficult when you have to work a day job just to get by and supplement income and support yourself.
G: What was the best lesson you learned at the PPP bootcamp?
JPM: This year was my 4th time at peak bootcamp, and for me it's always been about the relationships made up there and the sense of camaraderie. Treating people well and with decency and love. The relationships made up there have been some of the most rewarding I've ever had.
G: How was your PPP showcase? Are you feeling like you’re leaving this experience (winning or not) with more opportunities?
JPM: As I write this, I am backstage preparing for my showcase tonight and I have to say I'm a little nervous. It's a very emotional night for me seeing as this is the last one, and the whole PPP experience has been extremely formidable for me and been a big part of the man I am today, so tonight is bittersweet. Time to go out with a bang!
G: Do you have a favourite show you’ve played or a favourite audience experience?
JPM: My favourite show from my past tour in Europe was in a town called Livorno. A big building that was an arts collective. Had a theatre and a recording studio and it was packed. We were opening for an amazing Dutch band called Town of Saints. Always a cool thing to play to a big crowd of people in a distant territory
G: Do you have a favourite spot in Toronto to visit?
JPM: I always love spending time at the Cameron House when I'm in Toronto. The guys who played on my record gig there a lot, and when I was living in Toronto I even played on the Cameron House softball team, and since we're on the topic of baseball, I love going to the dome to watch a Jays game. Go Jays!
G: And finally, can you give us your current playlist?
JPM: I did a charity show a couple weeks back for the PPP and it featured 15 or so singers from Vancouver covering other vancouver bands. This was our set list: http://www.rdio.com/people/mauriceband/playlists/14595029/Cover_UP_playlist/