Flying Hórses, multi-instrumentalist & composer

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

My relationship with the piano has been hot and cold, for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried my hand at a few different instruments over the years, but my heart has always lead me back to the piano. It feels the most organic. I enjoy having the keys right there in front of me, I’m a very visual person. When I first started sharing my music and performing, I felt very disconnected from my musical community. It was difficult to find other pianists and composers to talk with about the struggles of making music without vocals. I discovered Chilly Gonzales back in 2010, and I believe his music played an integral role in my inspiration to keep going.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Most of my influences come from movies, post-rock and ambient music. I didn’t grow up listening to classical music, but I often perform and work with classical musicians and composers because there are many similarities in the structure and methods in which I write. I am also strongly influenced by nature.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Being a multi-instrumentalist/composer has its challenges for sure. I think reaching listeners commercially has been my biggest task. I’ve been fortunate to be able to find support from 1631 Recordings/DECCA Publishing over in the EU, but I am an independent artist here in Canada. Trying to balance the creative process and the administrative side of the music business is very challenging.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

I performed my first solo-piano concert series at The Festival de Jazz de Montreal last summer. Both nights were sold out and it was the longest performance I had ever done. After only ever releasing one full-length record, it was an honour to play at such a world-renown, international festival. It has played an integral part in career and has given me the courage to continue my career as a solo artist. I’ve also recently performed at The Banff Centre for the Arts, as well as the Montreal Phi Centre. Both those performances were incredible experiences.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to perform at some amazing festivals since the release of my debut record. I’ve only ever played music from the record, as well as some of the new material that I’ve been working on over the past year.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I try to change my set list from festival to festival, adjusting, to the type of audience that is attending. I sometimes change the instrumentation as well. I try to stay as versatile as possible, so that it feels new, every time. I aim to please the audience, and like to keep the shows as ‘fresh’ as possible.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

Harpa in Reykjavík, Iceland. Iceland has become my second home over the course of the last few years. Performing at Iceland Airwaves Festival allowed me to perform in Harpa, which was a dream of mine for a long time. The acoustics are warm and top notch, and the view from the windows, are indescribable.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

My favourite song to perform is ‘Sorg Sea’ – my latest single. It’s quite long and includes a range of emotions and parts. I wrote most of it while I was living in Iceland. I’ve been obsessively listening to the new DO MAKE SAY THINK song ‘Bound and Boundless’ one of their tracks from their new record ‘Stubborn Persistent Illusions’. I recently had the opportunity to support them on their Canadian tour, which was such an honour.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sigur Rós, Do Make Say Think, Jónsi & Alex, Julia Kent, Helios, Eluvium, Nils Frahm, Chilly Gonzales, Hauschka, Julianna Barwick.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Jónsi & Alex / Credo / Wordless Sound Orchestra for the ‘White Light Festival’ in New York in 2010. This was the most memorable, spiritual live-concert experience of my life. It was a sort of ‘musical awakening’.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Keep going. Have confidence that if you believe in your art, and it makes you truly happy, you can accomplish your goals. Set little dreams for yourself, work towards them. Don’t let society or anyone around you dictate what your life should look like. True artists, aren’t left with many other choices, than to create. Remember, that you are stronger than you know.

What is your most treasured possession?

As a minimalist, I don’t have many possessions, other than my instruments. I was gifted with an Arnold Dolmetsch harpsichord earlier this year. I believe this tops my list of special instruments.

Flying Hórses is the project of Jade Bergeron. ‘Tölt’ was recorded mostly in Iceland and is filled with the sounds of piano, wurlitzer, celesta, glockenspiel, bells, chimes, music boxes and cello. Elegiac and transportive, she describes her debut as “a journey through memories.” She was invited to play Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in 2015 as well as the world-renowned Festival International de Jazz de Montreal in 2016. The Banff Centre for Performance Arts welcomed Flying Hórses in the fall of 2016, to work and collaborate with Juno award-winner Charles Spearin (Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think). In the spring of 2017, she released Sorg Sea; a movement, mixed by Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor), it premiered on CBC’s ‘The Strombo Show’.

She is currently working on her sophomore record.

Flying Hórses’ debut album, Tölt was recorded with Sigur Rós’ producer, Biggi Birgisson, at Sundlaugin Studio in Iceland. Shortly after the release of Tölt she joined the 1631 Recordings (DECCA) roster alongside Oscar-nominated composers Dustin O’Halloran and Hauchka. The Montreal composer and musician recently paired up with award-winning Director Alexandre Richard from Quebec production house Cinearcale, to release a captivating filmic video that explores the bliss and trauma of childhood. It premiered on The FADER, and won ‘Best Director’ at the ‘Paris International Music Video Competition 2017’. A live concert/documentary of the short film was featured at Montreal’s PHI Centre, in the fall of 2017.

‘Tölt’ is available now.

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