The first time Reid Jamieson and Carolyn Victoria Mill visited Ireland, they said they stayed long enough to fall in love.
So when the opportunity came to record an album on the Emerald Isle, the Vancouver-based singer-songwriters were eager for a return trip. But the album didn’t quite turn out as expected.
The musical couple travelled to Schull, a town of 700 people in West Cork to make the record with Dublin-based producer Kieran Kennedy. Mill said they originally intended on making a stripped-down emotional “second-act” record that pondered themes of maturity and aging.
“Oddly, once we got going with the record, Kieran, who also I think thought we were going to be doing a stripped-down record, just started to add all these sounds and beats and things until it grew into something else altogether,” she said. “And we’re really delighted and excited and surprised by what it sounds like now compared to what we thought we were going to do.”
Kennedy’s loose, spontaneous approach in the studio was a challenging departure for the Canadians, Mill said, as they were more accustomed to “obsessing and taking ourselves way too seriously,”
“I was completely terrified,” Jamieson said. “I’m used to having more control at home recording too many takes, but Kieran was very, ‘Let’s do this passionately and move quick and don’t have time to look back.’ And I think it inspired me just to bring everything I could to that moment.”
Mill said Kennedy used many first takes on guitar and vocals and punctuated those sessions with trips to the pub. Jamieson said they easily ingratiated themselves with the locals. After introductions, everybody wanted to be involved with the project.
The couple ended up calling the album Me Daza, which Mill said is an expression in Cork slang that means “really awesome or fantastic” but literally translates to “I’m dying.” The record is due March 20, but fans can get an early listen during the duo’s CD release tour, which includes their Nanaimo debut at Unitarian Hall on Feb. 16.
They said it’s been hard to keep the new songs to themselves and hope that the in-the-moment attitude of the recording process translates from the stage to the audience.
“We want to help people escape the drudgery but also allow themselves to truly feel something,” Mill said. “Basically, if they’re crying, that would make us happy.”
WHAT’S ON … Reid Jamieson and Carolyn Victoria Mill perform at Unitarian Hall on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, available at Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus Music and online.