The enormous room in music 

Obsessions with film, books, music, one and the same

By Nicole Fitzgerald

Who: Buck 65

When: Tuesday, April 17

Where: Skier’s Plaza

Admission: Free

The last Warner Music released work of Buck 65 is the Devil's Eyes single, but what catches my ear is a ratty recording of Old Time Stuff found on myspace.com/buck65.

The words fly with the speed of life he narrates. Wonderwoman, hip replacements, raised hands, love, baseball, images of life flicker into mind before dashing out then wrapping up cohesively in the refrain: “Find your favourite mirror everything in it is sort of grey/ Life is but a dream, please give me a minute more to stay.”

A minute more to create, to read, to watch a film, to create music: that is all Rich Terfry , the man behind Buck 65, ever seeks with all three competing for his time. But like his unusual “hip hop” song of rap overlaid on symphony music composed in one day on zero dollars in his bedroom, life is all about getting this understated greatness out, however he can, whether penning the music for the documentary Big Rig or taking two years to produce his new album with Skratch Bastid, not once by twice.

Listening to his life, you feel like he sounds at the end of Old Time Stuff. You are as breathless as his vocals, and intrigued at where this is all building to.

“I write a song everyday,” he says, adding he gives himself homework assignments as well. “Last year, I became possessed by some kind of MALOVENT demon that has had me on some kind of creative surge that is inexplicable. While working on the new album, I also scored two films and recorded another project of my own… I don’t do this with money in mind. They were just really exciting projects to be a part of. I am a big fan of both directors and saw this as an opportunity for my music to reach a new audience and the chance to sink my teeth into challenging projects.”

Challenging is recording his new album with Skratch Bastid twice. The first recording with sampled material led to legal and financial blockades with Warner, forcing the two artists to ditch the completed album and start anew. The mixing is almost complete. Terfry’s already onto the next project, a collaboration with Moka Only, and a surprise pairing announced on his myspace page later this week.

“What he brings to the equation is ten years of added youth,” Terfry says of the Scratch Bastid partnership. “Because he is a young energetic guy, that is reflected in the music. He is also a whole lot more hip hop oriented. This record has more of hip hop feel than past (recordings) have, which will surprise a few people.”

Hip hop or not, the one thread tying together his library of music spanning everything from hip hop and folk to country and rock is the richness of words he uses in his music.

He is a modern day Edward Estlin Cummings whose tracks beg to be analyzed like you would any other poet ahead of his time – a lyric insert for the new album is already planned.

A high school guidance teacher may have talked the then naïve boy into pursuing a biology degree, but all of those literary electives, stacked almost as high as the 25 books currently dog-eared and bookmarked on his bedside table, is where his true passions lie – books and films.

“I am the sort of person I sometimes have to wrestle with dollars in my pocket, but never when it comes to books and films where I feel like I am feeding my brain. It’s always perfectly justifiable. I am definitely a major film buff. It’s an obsession that parallels my passion for music.”

He includes a viewing recommendation of the 1960s Czech film The Witches Hammer on his music site – right above a blog of his personal sighting of Ashlee Simpson at the airport. Not a fan of her music, but adds she was “really cute”.

A definite bachelor with time to read, write and minimize any other frivolities with cooking reduced to something being boiled in a pot – he was too embarrassed to reveal his just-for-one lunch.

“I am painting a grim picture of myself,” he says, laughing. “A guy who reads books and obsesses over films.”

Obsessions that feed into a rich sound coming to the Outdoor Concert Series on Tuesday, April 17 in Skier’s Plaza as part of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

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