Arts & Crafts will be releasingThe Happiness Projecton February 14. Spearin, best known for his work with Toronto-based bandsDo Make Say ThinkandBroken Social Scene, has been performing samples of The Happiness Project live during BSS concerts this past year, offering insight into the inspiration and concept of the album which was arranged, recorded and developed over the past few years in his home studio as well working with his long time collaborator Ohad Benchetrit at his studio, Th’ Schvitz.
In the album’s liner notes, Charles took time to write a bit of an explanation on the idea behind the project.
“These are my neighbours. My wife and I have two little kids and live in downtown Toronto.”Spearin explains,“In the summertime, all the kids in the neighbourhood play outside together and everyone is out on their porch enjoying each other’s company, telling stories and sharing thoughts. A year or so ago I began inviting some of them over to the house for a casual interview vaguely centered around the subject of happiness. In some cases we never broached the subject directly but none-the-less my friends began to call it my “Happiness Project”.
After each interview Spearin would listen back to the recording and examine the thoughts expressed. In addition, he noticed a natural melody and cadence to the speaking voices of his neighbours as they each discussed their views on “happiness”.“It has always been interesting to me how we use sounds to convey concepts,”says Spearin.“Normally, we don’t pay any attention to the movement of our lips and tongue, and the rising and falling of our voices as we toss our thoughts back and forth to each other,“he continues,“We just talk and listen. The only time we pay attention to these qualities is in song.
With The Happiness Project, Spearin blurs the line between speaking and singing - life and art - and writes music based on these accidental melodies. With the help of some of his musician friends, Charles plays the instruments to match these natural neighbourhood melodies inspired by thought and happiness and then, as Charles concludes,“I arranged them as though they were songs. All of the melodies on this album are the melodies of every day life.
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