James Kasper’s latest single is one of his oldest songs.
The Nanaimo-based folk musician recently released How Blue is Your Hell, a song he said has been sitting in a drawer since 1995.
“It’s one of the first songs I ever wrote,” Kasper said. “The beginning of my music journey.”
Kasper said not a lot of songs from that era meet his quality standards, but he always knew he would release How Blue is Your Hell. As the song is 25 years old, Kasper said he he doesn’t specifically remember what he wrote it about, but added that “like a lot of songs, it’s about a mood and an energy.”
“There’s a kind of sense of longing to it and I think the idea that everybody has their story and everybody has kind of a dark edge…” Kasper said. “But I think it’s also a song about hope and no matter how bad things get there’s always that silver lining.”
Kasper said his writing back then was more abstract and looking over the lyrics to How Blue is Your Hell, he admits “this is a bit of a weird song.” He said his songs are more literal these days.
“I was using more symbolism and metaphors back then, but somehow it stands up and it still reflects things today for me and even in the world,” he said. “It just somehow is relevant now and it’s definitely a bit of a departure for me but somehow it just seems to be the time to have it out there.”
The track is from Kasper’s upcoming album, Harbour, which was 90 per cent complete when COVID-19 brought the project to a halt. Kasper is also the founder of Vancouver Island music label Mighty Speck Records and the artists on the label have adapted to social distancing by co-ordinating live-streamed concerts.
“The live-stream thing has become pretty popular in the last few weeks or month and because we have our own small community of musicians, the 20 Island artists that we have, it just seemed like a good fit for us…” Kasper said. “I guess we’re doing our part to entertain people in the quarantine and it helps us, too, to stay connected and to still have an outlet.”
WHAT’S ON … James Kasper live-stream Facebook concert on May 9 at 7 p.m. Other Mighty Speck artists with upcoming online shows include Comox Valley hip-hop artist Clunk Boots and Nanaimo folk singer Trevor Price, performing on Facebook on May 8 and 13 at 7 p.m., respectively. Victoria-based R&B/pop singer Alli Bean performs on Instagram on May 16 at 7 p.m.