The Criterion and testaments of Terrace
Checking in with Vancouver's dance pop purveyors Terrace—we explore the energy and aesthetics of their latest EP Criterion. Founder Simon Lock, aka Simon Terrace has brought vocalist Maddy Brown into the fold to expand and elaborate upon the group's emotive and expressive fabrics of affectionately charged sounds and rhythms. With Simon being a pilot by trade, those aeronautic areas of knowledge are increasingly applied to the arrangement where Criterion creates the feel of navigating through the friendly and intimate skies of varying stratospheres.
Criterion commences with the takeoff of the title track that clocks in under 40 seconds that arrives at the pulse punctuated track "Plaza", illustriously highlighting the duets between Simon and Maddy. The back and forth between the two sets the stage for infinite destinations and endless altitudes to explore together as the audience is lead to the standout, aptly titled single "Swoon" that embodies the very essence of the title. The chemistry between the two vocalists resounds with dialogues that survey the challenges, breakthroughs, breakdowns and the glue between the bonds that keep couples from falling apart. "Swoon" seamlessly dovetails into the candid exchanges of "Sling Back" that catapults the summer dance party into the ethereal synth pop air of the sun shimmering "The Show" that is built around the sung hook of rise above to your love....
The EP is a record centered around casting a light on the most heartfelt dialogues put to pop songs structures as witnessed on the earnest Maddy Brown-lead singles "I C U" to the closer "Hold Fast" that accentuates the power of shared observations, communications, dialogues about what one another means to the other, the power of dreams and giving things time to manifest into realized realities. An EP that goes deep into the zeitgeist of interpersonal dynamics and the gravity pull of desires; Criterion finds team Terrace utilizing advanced electronic-laden arrangements to strike firmly at the heart and spirit of both the needs and wants that connect a pair of hearts and souls.
Simon Lock of Terrace took the time to chat about all the latest developments, the Criterion EP and other short stories:
Reflections on the progressions and life evolutions that have informed and impacted the Terrace style and sound.
It's been a journey. The aim has shifted a lot. We've learned to let go of some previous aspirations and naive thinking. It comes down to just making this project because we love doing it rather than trying for some kind of commercial success, which tends to happen when you let yourself become involved with the trappings of this business. So why not remove the business and stay true to the art? We did just this. Once again, there have been some line up changes. And in the name of evolution, this project Terrace is treated now like a brigade where people more or less come and go as they please in the name of writing good music. We all have commitments and it took me a long time to realize this isn't a job, it's a passion. All of this has influenced the sound. This and the ever changing spectrum of life. And of course the breeze. Wind is so important to me. It sparks my creativity. I also moved from the rainy city of Vancouver to a mountainside house in the interior of British Columbia. The surroundings have lent great inspiration into the record. Also, it's a much heavier record for us. Which was cool to explore. I reckon we better do a happy record next, which is slated for this time next year. It's a trio, Foundation, Criterion and then Elation. Three EPs, three different sounds.
Insights and streams of consciousness that contributed to the creation of the new Criterion EP.
This record is a snapshot of a period in my life where I'm learning how to evolve and adapt to life. Rather than fantasize about some other life I wrote the lyrics about my life. A sort of cathartic process, and without giving too much away it shaped the record into the vague diary that it is. Self-reflection and doubt played a big part. But even with that there many moments of optimism and hope. Also, as mentioned, with the new line up change has brought more diverse sounds. Whether it's Paul's rhythmic and funky guitar or Maddy's ethereal vocals. All of these things have helped change and form the sound.
The sophisticated and sentimental inspirations that lead to the creation of "Swoon".
"Swoon". A snapshot from a night a long, long, long, time ago. It was a hazy night and it's still not clear to me, but it is the memory of a 25 year old trying to come to grips with letting go of a lot of things and realizing the choices we make can lead to our undoing. So instead of getting too wrapped up in it, why not just fuck it all away and start fresh, no matter the consequence. That and I really wanted big smashing drums, which my main man Tom did in spades.
Notes on how your latest flights of fancy have informed your own creative sensibilities.
I travel a lot. All of us do. We are all in the travel industry. Five of us played on this record, and all five of us are in the biz. So, we are constantly on the move. In many locales. Experiencing different cultures and tastes and sounds. This always lends to the process of making new sounds. Could be a hot sunset in the Pacific, or a smashing night in Brooklyn, to a lonely and cold night in the Canadian North. We get many different views of life in any given day. Environmental ADD is the best way to see it. Never get too cozy where you are because it's about to change. This all lends to the inspiration. Highs and lows.
The things in the universe that are currently motivating you.
The mountains. Actual seasons. A strong breeze. Extraordinary sunsets. Friends. My kids. Love. Seasonal produce.
Artists and activists you adore.
Toro Y Moi's last record. Man, this has been on repeat for a year. He's a true inspiration to me. I'm also really enamored with the new Friendly Fires single. I can't seem to get enough of it. Chad Valley's new record has been on heavy rotation, he has such a great sound and it suits any time of day. Really impressed with the new Leon Bridges record. Wasn't sure how he was going to pull off the next move. And countless house music artists. Which at current is too many to name. As far as activists go, I am far too aloof to really delve into that. This world has many and I'm sure they are doing great things and perhaps I should get more acquainted with this sort of thing, instead I'd rather go skiing with my family.
Thoughts on what our world needs more of.
Positive energy. We are so focused on the drama that we live in. We miss a lot of great things when we waste too much time wondering what famous and powerful people are doing. A better sense of self and to take the time to nurture our passion. It's so very important. And make great things. Whether it's music, painting, novels, dinner. Just make it nice. As nice as you can make it.
Thoughts on what our world needs less of.
Celebrity news. I just can't seem to understand the fascination people have on celebrity life. It occupies so much of our time. I'm as guilty of it as the next person at times, then I realize I it and snap out of it and go live my own life. We have a lot of ridiculous music out there. Disposable music. Instant gratification seems to be a theme at the moment. Sometimes art needs time to set in and take hold. It's a relationship. I feel this is lacking these days.
Parting mantras and wisdom.
Do your passion. Mean it. Be bold. Do things you don't feel entirely comfortable doing. Make it yours and don't judge the success of it based on sales, plays or likes. That's all superfluous and doesn't matter when it comes to art. Trust what you are doing. Because some day, your kids our going to put your record on and maybe say, Dad, this is shit. What's with all the tambourine? and you can say back, Because the song needed it. Dick.