It was 2011 and musician Adrian Chalifour had just spent a year living in Vancouver when he found himself depressed and moving back to Victoria
“It felt like a personal defeat,” Chalifour said.“I sort of had this dream of getting out of Victoria to play music.”
For months Chalifour had been struggling creatively as an artist. He had hoped that being in Vancouver or any other city would give him the spark he needed, but it didn’t.
“I got creatively discouraged and disillusioned and fully insular,” Chalifour said. “When you lose that sense of confidence you don’t even know how to pick yourself up.”
So, Chalifour moved back to the city he tried to escape, where things didn’t get any better.
“I started to go to counseling because I was wrestling with anxiety and depression,” Chalifour said.
Then one day Chalifour had a stunning moment of clarity.
“I had this very vivid and immediate breakthrough where I sort of realized that I didn’t have to hinge my worth or value as an artist to my ability to create and market something commercially,” Chalifour said. “I can define my own parameters.”
Chalifour realized that as long as he could create music and share it with even five people he would be happy.
“I am trying to create and share music and as long as I do that I am successful whether I am sharing it with five people or 5,000 people,” Chalifour said.
It wasn’t long after Chalifour’s sudden change in mentality, that a solo music project known as Towers and Trees was born.
“It was that shift that made the whole project possible,” he said.
Since then, Towers and Trees has become a seven-member indie-folk band, who’s current members include Ben and Andrea Lubberts, Jesse Boland Donovan Rush, Dave Zellinsky and Chalifour.
Above: Towers and Trees most popular song, Montreal, has over 25,000 views on YouTube.
On Sunday (April 12), Towers and Trees will be performing at the Buzz Coffee House as part of a lengthy Canadian tour.
“We are really looking forward to it,” Chalifour said. “We’ve played there [Nanaimo] a number of times now and we have always been warmly received.”
Their stop in the Harbour City is part of a large Canadian tour with Mike Edel and will see them make stops in a number of cities including Toronto, where they will showcase at Canadian Music Week.
“We’re going to really just go in there swinging blind because this will be our first crack at it,” Chalifour said about Canadian Music Week.
The tour, which is the longest to date for Towers and Trees, includes a significant stop in Montreal. The band will finally get to perform their best-known song, Montreal, in the city it is named after.
“It’s all about running away to Montreal in search of adventure and romance,” Chalifour said about the song. “I think it is going to be a huge personal milestone for myself having written that song so many years ago and now finally getting to play it live in Montreal. It is going to be very special.”
Above: Towers and Trees 2015 Canadian tour list.
Fresh off the release of their newest single, West Coast, Towers and Trees are gearing up for the release of their debut full-length record, The West Coast, which was produced by Nanoose Bay’s Alex “Condor” Aligizakis, who has previously worked with the likes of We Hunt Buffalo and Bend Sinister.
“He [Aligizakis] has really cut his teeth as someone who can produce really great sounding records,” Chalifour said. “With this record it is a very personal record. It is one that I have written over the last few years and it kind of documents the last few years.”
Chalifour explained that during the recording process of The West Coast they wanted to capture a bigger sound.
“We try to write really honest and earnest songs, but we really wanted to try and capture the big bold sound that we have been able to capture live,” Chalifour said.
The West Coast is the final result of an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, where Towers and Trees raised $11,350 and exceeded their goal by $6,850.
“It certainly made if not the album, certainly all this touring possible,” Chalifour said about the campaign. “We don’t expect to get filthy rich playing markets like Kemptville [Ontario] and Wakefield [Quebec].”
While The West Coast is basically complete, Towers and Trees want to wait until after Canadian Music Week to release it.
“We want to give ourselves the opportunity to shop it [the record] and see if there are any labels or industry that are interested in supporting us on the release,” Chalifour said. “But if nothing comes of it, then we are all eager to get it out.”
Chalifour explained that for every failure or disappointment Towers and Trees has ever experienced, their fan base has immediately validated them.
“Every time we have gone for those things and not got that industry validation that we are looking for it has always been matched or exceeded by this community around us,” Chalifour said. “This wave of grassroots fan support … is incredibly validating. It goes a long way in making us feel confident that something we are doing is resonating with people.”
Towers and Trees perform at the Buzz Coffee House, 1861 Dufferin Cres., with Mike Edel on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.
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