By Julijana Capone
CALGARY — “I’m 20. All of my friends are 20. We’re all just so dysfunctional,” says Winnipeg indie-pop wunderkind Micah Visser. “You can’t expect to have your shit together at this age.”
The up-and-coming singer-songwriter is talking about the inspiration behind his new EP, Forward, a document of “the strange, fearful step into adulthood,” according to his bio, where the future is so exciting yet so uncertain.
“It’s a very strange time, because everything just feels so up in the air,” he says. “A lot of things change really fast.”
The album’s second track, “Keeping Up,” about dysfunctional relationships, adds to the premise, shimmering with sunny synth-pop sounds and Visser’s endearing vocal awkwardness. “The idea of two dysfunctional people trying to help each other seems like a good idea in theory, but a lot of the time it just perpetuates the cycle of dysfunction,” he says. “You don’t know why you’re keeping up with this person, but you just keep on doing it.”
Before he was out of high school, Visser had released a handful of folk-inspired bedroom recordings, culminating into his first full-length, ok night, in 2015. While Visser’s previous works have been self-produced solo efforts, Forward is his first record with the inclusion of a full band—which happens to include his brother and long-time collaborator, Joseph, on guitar.
“My brother has been huge every step of the way,” says Visser. “It’s been really exciting for me to take these parts that I’ve written that are fairly simple and take them to people that are so great at their instruments. They just take it that much further.”
The album, as Visser notes, was not just about moving forward personally, but also musically, and allowing himself to be more open to collaboration.
“I felt like I had gone as far as I could go with the sound on ok night, especially live,” says Visser. “I wanted to give people something that was a little more fun live without detracting from the emotion of the music.
“Part of me, before especially, just wanted music to be about me,” he continues. “I just wanted it to be my little thing… I think of music more as a shared thing now.”
Micah Visser performs at Swing Machine Factory on October 6 (Edmonton), Broken City on October 7 (Calgary), and Vangelis Tavern on October 13 (Saskatoon). For more information, head to micahvisser.com.AB, Alberta, Broken City, Forward, Micah Visser, ok night, Swing Machine Factory, Vangelis Tavern