By Paul Rodgers
CALGARY – Constant evolution and expansion within a world where technology and sounds collide has created a global electronic music community that is truly staggering. There are more artists, sub-genres, festivals and promoters involved than can be reasonably comprehended. But yet, even in Calgary, where the local electronic music microcosm reflecting that far greater macrocosm is celebrating constant growth and evolution on its own, there is still room for new faces to emerge who are doing something quite different and intriguing. Troo Knot is one such emerging character.
Real name Braden Lyster, Troo Knot considers himself to be more of an entertainer than a musician. His approach to making sounds, and his original foray into it, seems to go against the grain of conventional. His live set, which he describes as “electronic jungle-jazz sprinkled with hip-hop and chaos” is produced on the spot using a loop station, a wizard synth, guitar, and his voice (in beat-boxing, singing, and rap form). He claims a large part of what drives his performance and music making is incorporating plenty of weirdness in order to “stir people out of their boxes.”
“I love getting the crowd involved going on a journey together,” Lyster explains.
“I often challenge people in the crowd to monkey-masked dance battles. If someone is having a special night, I’ll sing them an improv love song or give them a lap dance. Most people are waiting for permission to be their weird, freaky, self. My show gives [them] that permission.”
He didn’t shy away from that freaky weirdness when asked for an origin story via e-mail.
“When my mommy was birthing me to earth, there was a true knot in the umbilical cord and the cord got tied around my neck. Doctors and nurses were freaking out and had to pull me out with a vagina vacuum. Apparently I almost died. I think it’s why I’m a bit crazy. Troo Knot is a paradox that symbolizes the two types of knots that we’re tied in. One being the fears, stories, and illusions that tie us down; the other being the unconditional connection with nature that ties us in. We are constantly in a dance in and out of the different knots. The album All Tied Up symbolizes different parts of that dance.”
Lyster will be celebrating his album release at the Hub in Mount Royal University, a centre around which Troo Knot has performed many times. He is a truly a man-about-town in the sense that when he was first getting into the scene, he took whatever opportunity came his way.
“When I first moved to Calgary, I said yes to almost every creative opportunity and I’m super grateful that I did,” says Lyster.
“It pulled me into relationships and experiences that have helped me grow in unexpected ways. I’ve also burnt out badly from playing the YES game and have learned the hard way that balance is super important if I want to sane and healthy on this long journey of being a professional entertainer.”
That initial approach to always saying “yes” saw Troo Knot performing all over the city, including the Insane Clown Party’s Canadian Juggalo Weekend After Party at Distortion. He says burning out from taking to many shows has helped him to focus on what he truly wants, exemplified by the more selective shows he has coming up this month, and the release of his new album.
Keep your eyes on this enigmatic producer, entertainer, MC and comedian. After this summer, Lyster says he will be taking off “on a musical gypsy tour through B.C., U.S.A. and Europe. We’ll see what happens.”
Troo Knot performs at The Big Secret Theatre in Arts Commons from June 8 until June 11 (Calgary) as a part of Attached. He will also perform June 17 at his album release party at the Hub at Mount Royal University and June 24 at Nite Owl (Calgary).All Tied Up, Arts Commons, Attached, Hub, Mount Royal University, Nite Owl, The Big Secret Theatre